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BUCS Regatta 2015 - Report


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On the twelfth, and largest, year of this most engaging and physically demanding student contest, amid the falling of records and rain, it was perhaps fitting that the university which has claimed overall victory on all but one occasion should taste success once again. 

Durham University, whose hold on the Victor Ludorum was relinquished to the University of London last year, took the top prize after a series of impressive performances in both the men's and women's events.

Their haul of twenty medals, including eight golds, placed them clear of Imperial College and Edinburgh, who finished on the podium in 16 and 12 events respectively. Oliver Wade Hall-Craggs, Head Coach at Durham University Boat Club, was delighted with the performance of his athletes.

“We are very proud of our students' achievements over the weekend, winning more medals, more golds and more points than any other University at the largest BUCS regatta yet,” said Hall-Craggs.

“It is a huge team effort with everyone in the club contributing. Our lightweight men overturned the form book to win the quad and the four while the performance of our Women's Intermediate Eight, who came through an extraordinary battle in the final, was the highlight of the weekend.”

The Championship events, which are reserved for the finest rowers in the student ranks, played host to some of the most engaging and exciting racing in the regatta.

As advertisements for the virtues of rowing go, you'd struggle to find a more convincing one than the final of the Men's Championship Eight. Contested between five crews after the University of London were disqualified for arriving late to the start, the race developed into a fantastic battle between Oxford Brookes and Newcastle- the two universities who shared Henley Royal Regatta wins between them in 2014. As it were, Brookes pulled away to take the win in a record breaking time of five minutes and thirty nine seconds.

Reflecting on a historic win, coxswain of the MCH8+ Harry Brightmore was delighted with the performance of his crew. “We had a great BUCS Regatta; everyone performed brilliantly' said the twenty year old. 'The quality of the regatta is increasing, with more and more universities pushing for top places in the final. We can't wait for next year!”. 

Brookes also picked up medals in nine other events, including a win in Championship Coxed Fours. Not to be outdone, Newcastle University finished second in the overall rankings behind Durham while their top four, with Men's squad captain James Rudkin on-board, were victorious in Championship Coxless Fours. Rudkin, who is in his third year at Newcastle, hailed the strength in depth of the club as a key factor to their success.

 “It was great to see the women beat Brookes and Durham in Women's Championship Eights. This success was echoed by the men, who came second in the eight and won the four. It really shows the strength of our squad by getting eighteen boats to medal across heavyweight, lightweight, sweep, sculling, men and women.” 

Women's sport has been the subject of increased media attention over the past few months and the racing last weekend was testament to the quality of women's rowing.

The event was graced by the presence of the Cambridge University Blue Boat, who recently competed in the first ever Women's Boat Race to be raced on the famous Putney to Mortlake course. The Light Blues stormed to victory in the Women's Championship Eight category, a win which helped see them to second place in the women's overall rankings.

 Holly Hill, who sat in the six seat for the Boat Race crew, coined the weekend as 'awesome'. '

“It never ceases to amaze me how they manage to get 1099 crews safely down the course over three days,” said the 21 year old Blue.

“The racing itself was also of a really high standard, which makes the regatta both exciting to watch and be a part of”. 

A resurgent Edinburgh University also had a record breaking weekend, racking up twelve medals including gold in the Men's Championship and Intermediate Pairs. This put the Scottish contingent fourth in the overall Victor Ludorum, and a club to watch as the season progresses. 

The event ran to schedule and, despite inclement weather forecasts, all races were completed.

James Lee, a member of the organising committee, was satisfied with the organisational side of the weekend.

“The Regatta has become a major event and the planning involved reflects that' reflected Lee, who is currently studying for an MSc in Sport Management.

"The format that we use meant that we had exciting racing across the board, which made the hard work all worth it.”

Image courtesy of Angela's rowing photographs


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