07 May BUCS Regatta 2013
Five weeks on since the Boat Race, and the conditions at Nottingham could not have been more different than those at Dorney: beautifully sunny with just a moderate head breeze over the 2km Holme Pierrepont lake meant that the weekend of the BUCS regatta looked set for some exciting racing and a chance to show the hard work the squad had put in since March.
The Championship Women’s Eights event was held on Sunday, and the Blue Boat crew put in solid performances in both the qualifying 1500m time trial and the semi-final, placing second in both. Going into the A final with a good lane position and plenty of energy reserves, the crew knew that it was going to be a three horse race for the gold medal with Oxford and Newcastle being strong contenders. Newcastle were quick out of the blocks and took an early lead, but were steadily reeled in as the Cambridge crew maintained a long solid rhythm over the course. Digging in over the second kilometre with some well timed pushes and the same relentless rhythm, Cambridge entered the last 250m level with Oxford, pushing Newcastle back into third. The final push for the line gave the spectators something really exciting to watch as the two crews crossed the line together, unsure who had taken gold. After an agonising wait, the times flashed up on the scoreboard, showing Cambridge in the silver medal position, less than half a second (a mere foot) behind Oxford. Although the end result wasn’t what the crew had hoped for, the race was the most exciting any of the crew had ever experienced and the result is testament to the improvements made since the Boat Race in March. Head coach, Rob Baker, said that he was very proud of the achievement and pleased with the improvement over the past few weeks.
Rested and recovered, the squad were back at the lake on Monday to race in the Championship Coxed Fours and Championship Coxless Fours events. Having concentrated on the eight over the past few weeks, the coxless four’s first outing together was the warm up for the qualifying time trial. Nevertheless, the two crews were excited to see how they would fair in the smaller boat categories. The coxed four put in a good performance in the time trial being third fastest, and carried this through to the final, winning bronze behind Newcastle and Reading. The coxless four also showed a solid performance and an improvement in boatspeed over the three races. In the final they stayed with the pack for the majority of the race finishing fifth overall.
All things considered, the racing over the weekend provided the squad with a really exciting and closely competitive experience, with some great results right at the top of the championship categories, and a stash of medals to take home!