On Saturday 21st July, 4 athletes from the University of St Andrews Boat Club represented Scotland for the Home International Regatta 2018, held in Inniscarra Lake, Cork.
This is the culmination of months, if not years of hard work from not these 4 athletes, but also from their coaches, squad mates who pushed them and trained with them as well as alumni and Club supporters who made the step up to the national stage possible.
All 4 athletes were members of the highly successful Senior Women’s squad over the past year, which has recorded an unprecedented level of success and the depth of the squad has undoubtedly led to the selection of the St Andrews rowers for the Scotland team.
With Alex Chisholm being selected last year for the Junior HIR team, this was the first time St Andrews has had athletes selected for the Senior team in recent history. Remarkably, from zero to four, the University of St Andrews was the most represented University on the squad - a testament to all those who have worked so tirelessly to drive the Club forward from inside the Club, from Saints Sport, from the University and from supporters.
Women’s Captain 2018-19 Morgan Hartley, after only 1 year of Senior rowing, having coming through our successful Novice programme last year was selected for the Women’s Pair alongside a partner from University Rowing Aberdeen. Despite only having rowed together for 1 month, the pair did very well, finishing 4th between more experienced crews who have all been rowing together for the entire season. The experience and knowledge gained by Morgan will prove to be invaluable as she takes on the leadership of the highly successful Saints Women’s squad for the coming year.
Following a highly successful season, including outstanding performances at Scottish University Championships, BUCS Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta, Hannah Myatt and Kirstin Giddy (Women’s Captain 2017-18) were selected to compete in both the Women’s Coxed Four and Women’s Eight for the regatta in Cork. Our President of 2017-18 and 2018-19, Matt Taylor, was selected to be the Senior Women’s cox for both the 4+ and the 8+ also - a very well deserved selection for Matt, who continues to dedicate so much of his time to the Club and the sport.
On Saturday morning, Hannah, Kirstin, Matt and their crew mates from Vesta Rowing Club in London took to the Lough to compete - in Meridian, our newest boat, kindly donated by a family close to the Club, which has already won Bronze at BUCS Regatta 2018. Following an exceptional start, in difficult crosswind conditions, the four took a decisive 2 length lead by the 250m mark, a lead that would remain until 1600m, when a strong and committed Welsh push would put pressure on the crew. Unfortunately, the early commitment shown by the crew left too little in the tanks for the final 250m, with the Scottish crew finishing 2nd by 3/4 length to the Welsh four.
Later, Hannah, Kirstin and Matt took to the waters again to race in the flagship event, the Women’s Eight, alongside teammates from Edinburgh University Boat Club, University Rowing Aberdeen, Glasgow University Boat Club and Vesta Rowing Club. Again, in a tough crosswind, the crew had a strong start, quickly developing into a 3 boat race between England, Ireland and Scotland by 300m. Unfortunately, early pushes by the English and Irish, led to the two crews gaining one length by 750m on the Scottish eight, which in turn, led by one length of clear water on the Welsh eight. The crew remained committed, sticking to an accurate and detailed race plan and refused to let to the 2 crews ahead gain any more water. Despite several pushes to try to retake control, nothing was going to stop the English and Irish from taking a 1st and 2nd place finish, 2 and 1 lengths ahead of the tartan crew respectively by the 2000m line.
A special acknowledgement must be made to Iain Rice, who has worked tirelessly over the past year, coaching the Women’s squad at St Andrews to new heights on the British University stage as well as his selection as the Scotland Senior Women’s Lead Coach, in recognition of his expertise and coaching prowess. Iain was also a trailer driver for the Scottish team.
An additional mention must go to parents, alumni and supporters who travelled to Cork to watch the St Andrews rowers carry out their national duty. The University of St Andrews Boat Club has always had such a fantastic and loyal support network and this is something that the Club wanted to officially recognise. As of July 2018, parents and supporters can join Eden Boat Club, for free, to get the latest news and updates on the Club’s successes, developments and progress - please visit our website for more details and a link to the exceptionally simple sign up process! It is a central goal of Eden Boat Club, and UStABC, to have the most wide-ranging, engaged and supportive network in British Rowing and we would love as many people to be a part of that as possible - be part of something special.