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University Shield winners at Brit Champs 2018

On the weekend of the 20th of October, four of the Senior Women and our Director of Rowing, Iain Rice, travelled down to Nottingham to compete in the British Senior Championships 2018. Considering this was the Club's first ever appearance at the event, it was an incredibly successful weekend for the Saints crew.

The boat was made up Kirstin Giddy (stroke), Skye Arnott (3), Morgan Hartley (2) and Lydia Theos (bow). The athletes brought a breadth of experience to the boat, and it was especially exciting to welcome a fresher to the team. Lydia, who joined the Club in September, shared her first experience rowing in Saints kit, "I was delighted to have the opportunity to compete at the British Rowing Senior Championships. It has been so great to join such a friendly yet dedicated and competitive club at St Andrews."

The morning began with the rigging of Catalyst, a member of our fleet which has continued to feature in a number of high-profile events, followed by a determined and positive team talk with Iain before the time trials. With the National Water Sports Centre being notorious for its windy conditions, the ladies were more than prepared to face the head wind along the course, and tackled these conditions well in the time trials, placing sixth in their category.

Despite the quick turnaround between races, this initial performance gave the ladies the drive to move to the next stage of racing with the even more confidence. Continuing this determination, the crew were placed in the top three in the A/B semi-finals, finishing behind Molesey and Leander. It was at this point that the ladies had not only confirmed a place in the A final, but also secured the title of the British Champions for the W4- University Shield Category. The A final was tough, including crews from some of the highest-performing clubs and universities in the country, and the Saints crew finished in sixth place.

The weekend ended with the awards presentation, where the ladies were presented the University Shield by a living legend in British rowing, Olympic Gold Medalist, Greg Searle.

The crew was made up of athletes from diverse rowing backgrounds, and so it was impressive to see the progress they made at this event, with such a high standard of rowing so early on in the year. This is not without the help of Iain, Director of Rowing at the University, and his wealth of advice and coaching leading up to the event, along with driving down Catalyst and the athletes to the event. This is an fantastic achievement for the Senior Women, as well as the Club as a whole, and it is exciting to see what other records can be broken in the coming year.

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