With the exam diet well into its second week and two of the biggest competitions already out of the way, my first season with Glasgow University Boat Club is almost drawing to a close.  It has been a very hectic time, and we have almost been non-stop since HORR, with trips to Caversham and Strathclyde Park, training camp in Inverness, final trials for the GB Rowing Team, Scottish University Championships and BUCS regatta all crammed into just over a month.  Thanks to the hard work of the rowers, coaches and committee it has been a time of huge success for the Boat Club, with some notable performances achieved in this vital time of the students’ academic calendar, making these results all the more impressive.

We started in Inverness for training camp; windy and cold and challenging, but hugely rewarding.  It was particularly pleasing for me to watch wave after wave of Glasgow University rowers competing against each other over racing pieces.  To be able to have all 4 of our squads (men’s and women’s, seniors and novices) race against each other and compare times and performances each evening was very satisfying for me and a clear improvement in performances developed over the course of the camp from all squads.

Next we travelled to final trials with our sole representative, Emma McDonald.  She performed superbly, moving up 4 places from the first trial in November and was invited to stay down for crew formations and seat racing.  This was a brilliant result for the 19 year old and one which bodes very well for the rest of the summer and indeed for next season.

The day after returning from final trials it was already time for the trailers to be loaded for the Scottish University Championships and Strathclyde Park Regatta, and this saw all of the squads get the chance to test themselves against the best Scotland has to offer.  The regatta was a tremendous success and the club brought home 13 gold medals, 3 silver medals and 1 bronze medal, with all 4 squads picking up at least 1 gold medal.  A huge effort from all rowers of the club saw Glasgow winning the Victor Ludorum at the event for the second year running.  This was made all the more impressive as our fierce rivals Edinburgh beat our winning points total from last year’s event, showing how much the rowers have had to raise their standard this year.

Finally we came to arguably the most important regatta of the university rowing calendar, the British University Championships.  It was a brilliant regatta, always running to time, for the most part enjoying fair weather conditions and giving our rowers some very high standard racing.  All rowers stepped up to the plate and put down some performances representative of the hard work and efforts over the season.  We came away with 2 medals, both from our women’s lightweight double scull of Emma McDonald and Rebecca Lightfoot in the Championship Lightweight class (bronze) and then very impressively in the Championship class (silver).  A further 6 A-finals were attained, pointing to the strength and depth that is being developed at the club.  Notable performances included our novice squads, achieving A-finals in both coxed fours for men and women and for the women’s eight.  An agonising boat malfunction in the semi-final of the novice men’s eight derailed any hope of an A-final, following an impressive 5th place finish in the time trial.  However it was testament to the character of these men that they picked themselves up from this disappointment to with their B-Final in style, a great example from 8 guys who only picked up an oar for the first time in September.

And so we now move towards our annual boat race against Edinburgh University Boat Club on the 24th of May.  Our crews are now formed and motivated for the challenge of taking on EUBC.  Having battled it out over the waters of Strathclyde Park and Holme Pierrepoint in Nottingham over the past few weeks, we know the difficulty of the task ahead but are buoyed by our own performances so far this year and I look forward to a high quality event against our eternal rivals over the new race course from the Broomielaw Quay to the Riverside Museum.  I encourage as many current members and alumni of Glasgow University Boat Club, students of Glasgow University and members of the Scottish Rowing community and the general public to come down to witness the 2014 edition of this fiercely contested annual race.

 

Andy Barton