The sun was definitely shining brighter over UEABC at Boston Rowing Club in late February as a strong showing across the team gave some retribution after a tricky start to 2013. Having been plagued by bad weather, boat repairs and a lack of racing this year, the men’s squad were eager to test their mettle against some of the top universities in the country.
Saturday was the beginner’s day as an eight comprised of competitors who only started rowing last September looked to show improvement from their first outing in Cambridge. Conditions were perfect as the wind dropped and sun came out for the start of the 3km time trial. With captain Leon Bailey cycling from the river bank the crew overtook the boat ahead of them within the first 700m before pressing on all the way to the finish.
Cox Emily Elvin could be heard the whole way down the course, not allowing any of crew’s strength to go to waste as they powered home in the last kilometre to finish 14th overall, an improvement from 16th the previous year. What was really encouraging was their improvement from the previous race as they appeared a more synchronised unit and were rowing with much more maturity and relaxation as they ruffled the feathers of some of the bigger universities.
Sunday was the real test as the Intermediate 4’s and 8’s took to the water. With a slight headwind counteracting the run of the river’s stream the 4 relied on their superior strength to battle through the conditions and push off the surrounding crews over the 5km course. Overtaking Manchester University off the start then powering down the home straight, Emily Elvin could once again be heard asking for the extra inch on the crew ahead as the boys dug in deep over the final kilometre. The result was an astounding second place and a silver medal which certainly raised the eyebrows from some of the traditional front runners’ coaches.
The stage was set then for the intermediate 8 to seal a fine weekend for the club and they didn’t disappoint. Once again springing the lacklustre Manchester off the start they then pushed off the chasing Cardiff crew which made for some tight three abreast racing come the 1km to go mark. The sight of the chasing boat only spurred them on to push even harder. The outcome being a well deserved sixth place which means both the 4 and the 8 prequalified for the semi finals at the BUCS regatta this May in Nottingham where they will hope to do even better.
All in all this was a significant improvement against last year’s results and only goes to show how much the squad has improved as a whole. With the next major race the Head of The River on the Thames in London only one month away UEABC men’s squad seem to have some impressive results upon the horizon.