Here is a quick insight into what the UOG Rowing team got up to during the 2017/18 season.
The team’s first competition of the season was at the Welsh Indoor Championships in November.
Fresher Ben Sweeney finished second in the Student Fresher 1km race, setting a time of 3:14.3 to claim the silver medal. He was up against 28 other competitors, one of whom was fellow team mate Daniel Wiggins, who finished 24th.
Out of the female crews, fresher and scholar Jade Colton did a fantastic job to finish fifth in the Women’s Student 2km, despite being told by doctors not to compete due to a bad chest infection.
Next up were the British Indoor Championships in London, where three of the side’s female rowers finished in the top 20. Colton finishing tenth, Megan Jones-Gerrard in seventeenth and Connie Lawson in nineteenth.
The only male competitor, men’s club captain Marcus Baker, finished fourth out of 11 in the U-23’s 500-metre race, to round off the indoor competitions for the year.
Having been given the amazing opportunity to train alongside Hartpury Rowing in the women’s 8, the two teams joined forces to enter the crew in WEHORR (Women’s Eights Head of the River Race).
The race has been going since 1927 and it was apparently inspired by the first men’s HORR in 1921. Entries for the event in 1930 had risen, so the race became a professional event. Thus was founded the Eights Head of the River Race, held over the 4-mile 374-yard or 6.8km course between Mortlake and Putney.
In the last 15 years a significant factor in has been the increase in university crews. The starting point for the race is now the University Pole in Chiswick. The race is ran from Chiswick to Putney Pier.
Entries are now capped at a maximum of 320 crews, so more than 2,880 competitors are on the river before the start of the race, which is a time trial.
The Hartpury-UOG Rowing crew made history by entering together for the race for the first time. During the race the crew overtook eight other crews and ended finishing 92nd out of the 320 crews.
It was an amazing experience for club captain Zoe Williamson, women’s captain Alicia Gulliver and fresher Jade Colton who said: “It was amazing to combine with Hartpury. It’s always special racing an eight, especially when it flies!”
Head of the Dart
The UOG Rowing crew also made history when they took part in the Head of the Dart in April. With the race starting in Dartmouth and finishing in Totnes, crews cover 14km of water.
Gulliver, Colton, Williamson and vice club captain Oonagh McNair formed the women’s quad, which was the only crew the team entered, finished 33rd out of 150 plus crews.
With the Varsity race not being held in 2016/17 academic year (after Worcester forgot to book out the river) the UOG Rowing Club looked forward to welcoming their closes rivals to Gloucester Canal.
Racing got under way with the men’s double. Unfortunately, the UOG crew, formed by final year students Wiggins and Daniel Watt, were unable to claim the victory for TeamGlos.
Up next were the women’s quad, which was made up of the same rowers who had taken part in the Head of the Dart. The tight race ended with the first win of the afternoon for UOG.
The men’s quad of Wiggins, Watt, Harry Thurkettle and Daniel Gillett were unable to replicate the women’s performance, Worcester winning by a good boat length.
A win by Williamson and Gulliver in the women’s double, brought the points level with one race remaining.
It was all down to the mixed double of Colton and UOG Sports Officer Alex Burnett. But it wasn’t meant to be. The UOG boat couldn’t match the experienced crew for UOWR, handing Worcester the win.
There are a lot of positives to take from the event though. The fact that the women’s crews won all their races is reassuring heading forward. Hopefully next year UOG will be able to secure their first ever win in the Varsity Rowing event.