Universities at Medway Boat Race
Honours were even and students shared the silverware at the second annual Universities at Medway Boat Race on Saturday 3rd May.
The women’s crew from the University of Greenwich rowed to victory by four lengths against the University of Kent’s women in the day’s first race, watched by several hundred spectators who lined The Esplanade in Rochester. But the tide then turned in the men’s race, as Kent’s crew pulled together for a resounding victory over the men of Greenwich. Their time of 11 minutes and 14 seconds set a new record for the men’s ‘eights’ in the Medway Boat Race.
The results were a complete turnaround from last year’s inaugural race. On that occasion, Kent’s women and Greenwich’s men took the honours. As in last year’s event, crews rowed a 2.6km course between Cuxton and The Esplanade. The winning crews also lifted special trophies created for the occasion last year by Medway artist Paula Groves.
All students taking part – most of whom were rowing novices less than nine months ago – had been trained for the big day by experts from Medway Towns Rowing Club. The club’s head coach Barry Pearson said he was proud of all the students taking part but had special praise for the winning crews. ‘Kent’s men were absolutely superb. They had been training hard but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in setting a new and impressive record time,’ he said. ‘As with the Greenwich women’s crew, they proved that there is no substitute for putting in the hours of training through the winter months. Both the winning teams deserved their success.’
Greenwich women’s captain Cassie Farbrace, a first year student reading Pharmaceutical Science, said it was exhilarating to be first over the line in front of a cheering crowd. ‘It was an amazing feeling to win and made all the ups and downs of training in bad weather worthwhile,’ she said. ‘Rowing in the heat was tough, though, and luckily our adrenalin overcame any exhaustion.’
The races were organised by the Universities at Medway Student’s Association (UMSA). The third Medway Boat Race is scheduled for May 2009.