Record-breaking entry for 2013 BUCS Regatta

Close to 1000 university and college crews are set to do battle in Nottingham this weekend, at the 2013 BUCS Regatta.

More than 70 universities have entered crews into this year’s event, which will feature more women’s crews than ever before.

In a change to the Regatta format for 2013, crews will first take part in time trials before moving on to side-by-side racing. The fastest 12 crews from the time trials will go on to race in semi-finals to qualify for the A and B finals, with the 13th-fastest crew and beyond going on to compete in C, D, E etc. finals. Organisers hope that the new format will lead to more side-by-side racing for more rowers.

A number of tantalising races are shaping up for this year’s Regatta. Both Oxford and Cambridge Universities have entered their Women’s Blue Boats from the Henley Boat Races into the Women’s Championship Eights. Oxford claimed the all-important victory in the 2013 Women’s Boat Race at Henley, and Cambridge will be desperate to get one over on their fiercest rivals at BUCS. And, after dominant victories in the Women’s Championship Eights and Intermediate Eights at the BUCS Head back in February, the Light Blue boat will be confident of turning the tables on Oxford’s crew.

The Women’s Championship Eights will be far from a two-boat race, however, with several big-name rowers turning out for their university crews.

Mel Wilson– who rowed for Team GB in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games – will strengthen an already impressive Imperial College crew and the GB Rowing Team’s Polly Swann, who is fresh from winning a gold medal at the Sydney World Rowing Cup, will bolster the University of London BC’s Championship Eight. 

Last year’s champions Reading and silver medallists Newcastle will also prove difficult to beat this year. World U23 silver medallist Caragh McMurtry provides a considerable boost to the Reading boat, and Newcastle will welcome back a host of last year’s crew alongside Nicole Lamb, who represented Team GB at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival earlier this year.

In the Men’s Championship Eights, a very strong Newcastle boat will be looking to build on last year’s gold medal with another win in Nottingham. They’ll face a strong challenge from a number of crews, however, including a Durham boat packed with GB triallists and fast crew from Imperial.

Oxford Brookes did not race in the event last year, but will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013 with another boat laden with GB triallists.

As well as the Championship Eights, the Men’s and Women’s Championship Quads are likely to be the races to watch on a weekend full of fierce competition and intrigue.

East London’s BUCS Head-winning crew may well be the crew to beat in the men’s event, but a Cardiff boat featuring Josh Bugajski and Tom Barras – who came 14th and 17th respectively at the recent GB Trials – will back themselves to take the gold medal back to Wales.

Also in the mix will be a very experienced Durham crew featuring Angus Groom, a rower with experience at World U23 level and who finished ninth at the recent GB Rowing Team Senior & U23 Trials.

In the Women’s Championship Quads, Mel Wilson will again be in action for a strong Imperial crew, who are looking to double up after winning the BUCS Head.

Caragh McMurtry will face off against Wilson once again in the Reading boat, and Loughborough will also fancy their chances with a crew featuring former GB Rowing Team junior Katie Bartlett.

As well as the coveted BUCS Regatta medals, many of the 964 crews in Nottingham will also be vying for selection to the 2013 EUSA Regatta – taking place in Poland in September. The top four crews from each event will be eligible for selection to represent the UK’s universities at the international event.

However, with a record-breaking entry and a huge increase in the number of beginner and intermediate women’s crews entered, the 2013 BUCS Regatta promises to provide some thrilling races for rowers of all abilities.

British Rowing’s Young Person’s Panel will be on hand to help out at the event – easily identifiable by their bright red t-shirts. If you spot a panel member, be sure to say hello!

Results will be available on the BUCS website, and be sure to check www.britishrowing.org next week to find out how the crews got on.

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