Tough Competition at BUCS Regatta

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A record breaking 1099 crews from 68 Universities entered the 2015 BUCS Regatta, with the trophy for the overall winner changing hands once again. 

The event began with all crews competing a time trial in the morning and moved on to side-by-side racing in the afternoon. The forecast on Sunday required a change to the format, where eight scheduled races had to be abandoned, although all A and B finals ran successfully. 

A dominating performance from Cambridge in the women’s championship eights saw them lead the competition from Newcastle by over 7 seconds. The club were also successful in the women’s beginner 8s taking gold by 12 seconds, with Newcastle once again taking the silver medal. Rob Baker, chief coach at CUWBC said “winning the championship eights by 7 seconds and the championship coxed four by 14 seconds were the highlight results out of many medal boats. For our athletes to be racing against all the other UK Universities is great experience and winning is a habit we are keen to get used to.”

In the men’s championship eights, Oxford Brookes led the race from the start, completing the course in a blistering time of 5:39.88, with their crews also taking gold and silver in the men’s intermediate eights. The ‘A final’ of the beginner eights provided one of the most exciting races of the event with the top 4 crews finishing with overlap between them. Birmingham took the gold with Queen’s Belfast in second and Newcastle in third. 

Reading showed their form in the sculling events winning both of the championship quad events. The men’s crew featured World bronze and European silver medallist Adam Freeman-Pask who said:

“I did my first BUCS (known as BUSA back then) in 2005, I never thought I’d be back 10 years later! But I’m glad to have competed, BUCS has now developed into a huge regatta with a great atmosphere, exciting racing and slick organisation”

“In terms of races to watch per minute BUCS is better than a lot of the big international competitions, plus there is the added bonus of regular capsizes and boat stopping crabs. Be it a beginner eight E final or a championship eight A final, the layout of the regatta made ever race just as exciting to watch, let alone race in!”

In the lightweight sculling events, Durham took the honours in both the men’s and women’s quads. The win for the women on the Monday was the end of an extremely successful weekend for Katy Denham and Mimi Carlton who between them picked up 2 golds, 5 silvers and 1 bronze medal. 

There was also exciting racing in the single sculls events. In the championship categories, Cardiff’s Tom Barras took the honours in the men’s event and Imperial’s Mel Wilson won the women’s event. Emma McDonald from Glasgow saw off competition from Scottish rival Maddie Arlett from Edinburgh in the lightweight women’s singles whilst Manchester’s Peter Zelinka maintained the title which Zak Lee-Green won for the club in 2014. 

The Regatta now offers three trophies for overall team points. These are broken down into awards for highest points in the men’s and women’s events, and the overall victor ludorum. The men’s trophy was awarded to Newcastle University, with Edinburgh just 30 points behind and their haul of 4 golds, 4 silvers and 4 bronzes demonstrated to all that they are on the rise.

The women’s trophy was presented to Durham who finished a staggering 197 points ahead of Cambridge, and the suspense was mounting as to who won the overall VL when the Durham girls were asked to remain on the presentation stage. Imperial were in third place, Newcastle in second and Durham regained the overall trophy with 1047 points, also topping the medals table with 7 golds, 7 silvers and 6 bronze. After the presentation, club President Jamie Styles said:

“We had an incredible weekend, with our athletes topping the medal table and winning both the women’s and overall VL. There were excellent results across both sculling and sweep, including stand-out performances by the lightweights.

It was great to see such good performances from ‘Team North’ with Newcastle taking the men’s VL and Edinburgh fielding a lot of strong crews.”

Full results from the event are now available here

Photos above from Rowing Photography here.

Report by James Lee.

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