BUCS regatta 2016

BUCS regatta 2016:

As BUCS approached the standard weather forecast loomed and the official statements released from the organising committee - races may be cancelled. Keeping our fingers crossed the forecast would change throughout the week we set about boat loading and finalising transport plans. Thankfully, as we scraped the ice off the van on Saturday morning, it was cold but the wind was at bay. The athletes arrived bright and early and set to their time trials. Saturday saw some great racing. Beginner women Isobel Haig and Anastasia Pywell placed 2 nd and 4th in the time trial going on to compete in a fantastic final. Isobel took an early lead and maintained her position, whilst Ana had a fight right to the line with a Bristol University sculler leading to a Birmingham 1 2 onto the medal pontoon. A great start to the BUCS weekend.


William White raced MC1x but unfortunately got knocked out of the tough field before the semi’s. Finn Sprackling (Mint1x) secured a place in the E final finishing in 4th place in his final race. Patrick Wright kept us all on edge sitting second to last in his B final of Mint1x until making a storming comeback in the last 500m to place 3rd, 9th overall in the competition. Sunday saw another frosty morning and a strong head wind making tough conditions in a busy day of racing. Unperturbed the women’s beginner quad took to the water taking a convincing 3rd place in their TT. Intermediate W1x Lucy Feather raced well to find herself into the D final, and WIntLwt1x Harriet Lowe into the C final. WInt8+ just missed out on the semi’s placing 13th in the TT, going on to come 2 nd in their C final. MBeg8+ had a last minute crew change and also sustained a boat stopping crab leaving seeing them into the E final. As the day progressed Lotte Morris got knocked out after a tough semi-final in a strong head wind and the Men’s Int4+ made up of last year’s beginners (James Turner, Jack Sanders, Daniel Fisher (men’s captain), Alex Hoyle (club president) coxed by Axie Finch) had a strong race in their D final, just pipped into second place on the line. Men’s Int2x, George Hatto and Tom Heal just missed out on the semi’s by seconds, and went on to a convincing win in the C final, even managing to avoid a broken down safety launch mid race.


 The beginner women’s quad (Emily Senior, Isobel Haig, Susanna McGowan and Emily Hutchinson) raced their A final in tough conditions. With white horses crashing over their bows, and all the crews seeing some lost blade handles and boat stopping crabs, the opening stages of the race were anyone’s game. But the Birmingham girl’s strength shone through as they rowed through to take a convincing second place behind Edinburgh. The North Sea conditions of Edgbaston reservoir set them up well for Nottingham!

Monday brought a quieter racing schedule but stronger winds. The organising committee cancelled all semi-finals for beginner and intermediate events which saw the women’s beginner 8+ coxed by Katie Vernon placed 7th in their time trial securing them a spot in the B final. Sam Hedges (MBeg1x) made it into the A final, placing 6th in his time trial. The MC4x placed 5th in their TT. The WInt4+ (Vicky Andrews, Bethany Holmes, Lydia Marsh, Bonnie Free, coxed by Vicky Witter) placed into the F final.The wind worsened just as the MC4x were set for their semi, and boating was suspended. Two hours later racing resumed; all minor finals were cancelled but champ semis were still running. Edinburgh scratched before the semi’s so the MC4x (Ollie Clarke, Patrick Wright, Finn Sprackling, and William White) found themselves in a good position of all three from their semi to qualify. But with the wind changeable and the possibility of finals being cancelled they were left with no choice but to race their semi. Onto the finals of the day and Sam Hedges came in 6 th in his A final. Having only started sculling in March Sam battled well through torrential wind and rain to finish place 6th in a tough field with the eventual win going to a GB Start athlete from Bath. The Women’s Beginner 8+ had a strong field in the B final, pushed hard by their opposition making for great racing. They finished in front, taking first place, 7th overall in their competition.


Newcastle took a strong leads chased down by Durham, Loughborough and Bath. There was still overlap at the half way point as all crews drove each other on for some great racing. Into the closing 750, Birmingham and Reading battled in the far two lanes, with Reading eventually taking us in the last few hundred meters after a well fought race. It has been a few years since Birmingham were in a champ A final and to be out there in the mix of things was a good achievement from the MC4x. 

BUCS regatta never comes at a good time, just a week after the Easter holidays and the weekend before exams start. But it’s a common problem across nearly all competing Universities so we can’t sit back and make excuses. A regatta of mixed results and lots of important lessons learned. Overall the results are a positive reflection of the club’s progress this year, aiming to be built on for years to come. A big thank you for everyone who helped with the organising and to the coaching teams. And well done to all the competitors, wishing you all good luck in your exams and here’s to a fun, sunny and successful regatta season 2016. 


BUCS coaching team Club coaches, Alex Darby & Tania Griffin. Hannah Read (B-Row) (sessional support coaching the beginners at the reservoir). James Heal (senior men sessional coach). Josh Allsop & Jo Malcom (beginner women captain and sessional coach). 

Article & Photos: Tania Griffin