Record Masters Champs at Nottingham
The National Water Sports Centre provided a weekend of glorious weather for the British Rowing Masters Championships which saw a record number of rowers taking to the water on Sunday (18th May).
Ahead of the regatta, entries secretary Paddy Ibbottson said: “We’ve grown in size every year now since 2005. In 2004 we had 283 entries, this year we had 766 valid entries. We have 1428 competitors coming from 134 clubs.”
During the 11 hours of racing, the competitors enjoyed sunny and warm conditions but a strong cross head wind resulted in the race committee taking the decision to run all finals in an ‘echelon’ format rather than the standard ‘chevron’, with crews seeded from lane one.
As always, there was fierce competition for the Victor Ludorum, named after Harry Harvey who founded the event. It came down to the wire with Upper Thames Rowing Club snatching the trophy after winning the final race of the day.
Upper Thames member Tom Carter, who had won gold in both the A single sculls and a composite crew in B quads said: “Winning the VL is a great result and I’m glad I could do my part. It is the first time I’ve been to the British Rowing Masters. It was really well run and all races seemed to be on time.”
Nottingham Rowing Club were runners-up in the Victor Ludorum, their position assisted by regatta chairman Geoff Nicholls who won gold in the H/I quads.
Geoff summed up the day saying: “Some of the happiest gold medallists were those winning for the first time, despite being of a certain age and discovering rowing a little later in life than the more experienced rowers. We had men and women winning novice events up to Masters E representing an average crew age of at least 55 years.”
It was the day before his 74th birthday and Klaus Riekemann, who won gold at the 1960 Olympics, celebrated early by winning three gold medals for Minerva Bath alongside fellow Olympian, Arnold Cooke.
Monmouth Rowing Club also fielded a strong contingent with their medal haul including a gold in both masters C coxed and coxless fours, the women’s E/F coxed fours and a silver in the masters C eight, putting them in third position on the Victor Ludorum.
Due to the growing popularity of the regatta, the organising committee is considering moving to a two-day event for 2015, provided that a suitable weekend can be found. Watch this space!