As spring draws ever closer, the morning sun rises earlier each day, and so do the rowers of Cardiff and Swansea Universities. On Wednesday 22nd April the oarsmen and women of the two university rowing clubs will battle it out in the fourth annual Welsh Boat Race in front of hundreds of spectators, including the First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan. The day's four races will begin with the men's and women's Fresher races, followed by the Senior Women First VIII's, and the day culminates with the showpiece event between the Senior Men First VIII's.
Months of training for the crews will have been completed for this one Welsh sporting spectacle to be raced on the Taff.
Swansea University will certainly be the underdogs for all four races as their facilities and lack of full-time coaching fall short of their rivals. But underdogs are a title they are used to and one which they relish. Swansea University Rowing Club is this year bigger and more competitive than ever before with every seat is being highly sought after, especially in the highly competitive Men's Senior Squad.
Cardiff University will take great pleasure in being the favourites but there are no signs of complacency with the crews having to endure 6 a.m. starts to ensure that they are ready for the big day. The men and women of Cardiff are all fighting hard for the vacant seats in the boats with nobody having a guaranteed spot.
The Welsh Boat Race is developing every year as an event with the hope of one day emulating the famous English Varsity contest between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Whilst Cardiff has dominated the event in its short history this year will see Swansea crews that will be matching Cardiff stroke for stroke. The scene is set for a fantastic event that should not be missed.
May the best crews win!
Press and Publicity Coordinator WBR Committee 2009
Welsh Boat Race 2009: Wednesday 22nd April; River Taff (Best viewing spot at Channel View Sports Centre)