Last weekend, NUBC traveled down in force to the British Rowing Championships in Nottingham for the first event of the new season. There were faces old and new ready to race side by side and battle it out against some of the top clubs from across the country. The 63-athlete strong Brit Champs squad finely exhibited the club’s strength and depth this year by placing third in the overall Victor Ludorum, beating universities such as University of London and Oxford Brookes University.
On the first day of racing, Newcastle fielded 5 doubles and 5 coxless fours over various events, men and women. First down the course was newly crowned U23 World Champion, Ollie Varley, and doubles partner Livio La Padula, an Italian lightweight rower who came over from Italy to race with us after competing at the Rio Olympics this summer. The duo just missed out on A/B semi-final qualification, but they didn’t let it phase them and went on to win the C final by a solid margin later in the day. The women followed with two heavyweight and two lightweight doubles. Both heavyweight doubles progressed as the days racing went on, eventually placing 3rd and 4thin the C final after a close battle with one another, whilst the two u23 lightweight doubles made minor finals.
Next it was the turn of the coxless fours, in which the men entered 3 boats and the women 2. The 2nd u23 four and lightweight u23 four both made it through to the C final, whilst the 1st u23 four, with alumni James Rudkin racing, had a storming semi-final which scored them a place in the A final. They had a gutsy row in the A final against the likes of Leander, UL and reserve Boat Race crews, and finished a respectable 6th place. The women’s fours grew from strength to strength through the day, eventually securing them adjacent lanes in the A final. After lining up on the start line against Cambridge, UL and Edinburgh, both fours went out hard but ended up battling it out against one another in the final stages of the race for 5th and 6th place.
On the second and final day of the regatta it was the turn of the big boats; 3 women’s eights, 3 men’s eights and 2 men’s quads. In a field of 31 boats, the women’s eights showed their prowess early on by placing 2 boats in the top 10, with the other just missing out on the A/B semi-finals by less than 2 seconds. Both the 1st eight and the development lightweight eight then made it through to the B final, whilst the 2nd heavyweight eight won their semi-final securing them a good spot in the C final. The 1st eight had a gutsy row, just falling short of the win in the B final, with the lightweight eight placing fifth and the 2ndeight third in the C final. These results put all three women’s eights in the top 15 eights overall, proving the squad’s depth for the year to come.
The mens 1st quad qualified for the C/D semi-final after their time trial and went on to produce a brilliant performance in the C final, coming second. The 2nd quad missed out on the last qualifying spot for the C/D semis, so ended up winning the E final.
The results from the men’s eights time trial put all three boats in different semi-finals; the 1st eight came 4th to go through to the A/B semis, the 2nd eight made the C/D semi and the 3rd eight just missed out, putting them in the E/F semi. The 1st eight had a close battle with Oxford Brookes in their semi falling short of the A final by a second, as did the 2ndeight in regards to the C final, however, all three crews went on to dominate their respective finals, winning their last races of the weekend.
Overall, the results from the weekend have laid down a good marker for the club to build on going forward into the winter season. Placing third in the Victor Ludorum is testimony to the strength and depth that both squads possess this year. Let’s see what the winter brings!
Written by: Kelsey Stoddart
Photos by: Tony Clarke and James Waller