European Universities Championships 2015

The 2015 GB Universities Team picked up more gold medals at the EUSA Rowing Championships than ever before

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Historic wins in the women’s and men’s eights saw the team pick up 12 medals overall, claiming six gold, five silver and one bronze.

Following their gold in Championship eights at BUCS Regatta earlier this season, Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club were the British crew in the women’s eight at EUSA Regatta. They were challenged slightly by Switzerland in the final, but not enough to deny them a gold medal, finishing in a time of 6:38.69.

The men’s eight event was the last race of the Regatta. Oxford Brookes were the GB entry and came up against an experienced Belarusian crew. With the Belarusian crew ahead by 0.6 seconds at the midway point, the Brookes crew stepped on and moved away to take gold by 2.55 seconds in a time of 5:42.77. The win was the first time in the history of the event that a British crew has won gold in the men’s eight.

Speaking after the race, cox of the Oxford Brookes men’s eight Harry Brightmore said, “EUSA was a huge experience for us. Using each race as a building block, the final saw our best race, and we were elated to turn the results from the heats into a gold medal. The team was fantastic, and despite being from rivalling universities, it was great to club together and show Europe we mean business.”

There was further success for Oxford Brookes with Jamie Copus and Ben Reeves following up their medals at the World U23 Championships earlier this season with a strong win in the lightweight double. Three British crews made the final of the women’s four with the Oxford Brookes girls rounding off their successful season by taking silver against a very experienced German crew.

Durham had five crews in action with three of them winning medals. Katy Denham raced in the lightweight single scull which was the first final of the regatta. Katy raced incredibly to win by just 0.25 seconds and bag the first gold for Great Britain. Further medals for Durham came in the lightweight men’s four and the lightweight women’s quad.

Durham coach Cameron Kennedy said, “To come away with a gold and silver in the lightweight events was a reflection on the hard work the athletes have put into their preparations.”

In the men’s four, Newcastle dominated the final, finishing over three seconds ahead of a strong crew from Switzerland. Tom Ford and James Rudkin who were part of the crew had won the same event at the EUSA Rowing Championships in 2014.

A heat win of over 13 seconds demonstrated that the Exeter lightweight women’s double of Jess Elkington and Hannah Traylen meant business. The duo led their race from the start to finish nine seconds ahead of an experienced Polish double.

Speaking after the event, Team Manager James Lee said, “We have had an excellent championships. The number of medals shows the strength of university rowing in the UK, and it is particularly pleasing to take golds in both of the eights. For many of these athletes, it will be their first step in international racing, and I look forward to following their progress.”

Full results of the Championships can be seen here.

Report by James Lee

Photos courtesy of Fiona Rennie

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