By Lily Smith
Members of the University of Chester’s rowing team have taken part in the prestigious British Universities and Colleges Sport 2022 Rowing Regatta.
The team enjoyed their annual camping trip at the event, held at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham.
After months of intensive training on Chester’s River Dee, the hard work from UOC’s rowers paid off as they proudly represented the university amidst competition from numerous other university and college rowing teams.
The bank holiday weekend saw the club attend the three-day regatta, which is a highlight of Chester University’s rowing club season.
The BUCS Regatta is a 2km annual regatta held at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham over the May Day weekend.
It is Europe’s largest student regatta and is the national governing body of university sport in the United Kingdom, with universities across the country competing against one another since 1994.
Racing was spread across all three days of the bank holiday weekend, and what a weekend it was, as 71 universities, including a total of 2618 students, competed to be crowned with the Victor Ludorum.
After arriving in Holme Pierrepont, the UOC rowers pitched up their tents and had an early night in preparation for the long weekend ahead.
Sunday saw a busy day of racing for the University of Chester crews, and despite the weather conditions during the early morning start, the wind and cloud faded away just in time for the majority of the team to race on the calm waters of the Regatta Lake.
A strong effort was given by all three UOC crews, and despite this being the first regatta for many of them, everyone stood up to the challenge and exceeded expectations.
The Women’s Beginner Four B Crew (Jasmine Ball, Emilie Brewster, Megan Maiden, Felicity Turtle, and cox Sam Walsh), all of whom were novices competing in their first ever BUCS Regatta, finished in a respectable time of 08:59.2, but were closely beaten to the qualified categories by the University of Portsmouth.
The University of Chester’s women’s rowing captain, Lily Hughes, said: “The women’s B team didn’t have the best conditions at the beginning of their race, but pulled through and put all their hard training into practice for an overall great race.”
The intermediate men’s four crew completed their time trial in 06:25.5 with a strong sprint, but unfortunately just missed out on qualifying.
The women’s beginner four A crew (Amelia Ives, Emily Andrews, Lily Hughes, and Ella Mullin, coxed by Alexander Dean) performed impressively in their time trials among tough competition, putting them in a good position for the rest of the day and progressing to the C final.
With a solid performance in the C final, the WB4+ A crew came third in their race, coming an overall fifteenth in their category, which is the highest final the club has been in for several years.
The University of Chester’s men’s rowing captain, Daniel Innerdale said: “I’m very proud of all three of our BUCS crews. For many of them, it was their first BUCS experience, and they exceeded my expectations.
“Overall, it was a great experience for everyone, and we look forward to competing again next year.”
All three crews maintained strong composures throughout their races, and showcased performances that highlighted the resilience and determination of the university’s rowing club.
BUCS Regatta 2022 was a fantastic weekend for the club and saw the squad’s first-time racers give a respectable debut at one of the major events in the club’s rowing calendar.
The team made their club captain, Joshua Clark proud as he said: “For most of the rowers, it was their first-time racing at a large regatta which can be very daunting.
“They all stepped up to the challenge and did themselves proud. The women’s A crew placed in the highest place a University of Chester crew has placed in years, so a massive congratulations to them.”
For all race results from the weekend visit the BUCS website https://www.bucs.org.uk/sports-page/rowing.html and to watch the races from the livestream, visit the BUCS YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/user/BUCSsport/featured