Countdown to BUCS Regatta

Europe’s largest student regatta is at Nottingham from 5-7 May. Katie Smith talks to Georgia May from Liverpool University BC about her club’s preparations

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Olympic champion George Nash with the Liverpool University BC women's squad (c) Simon Garmston

Across the country, universities are preparing themselves for one of their biggest tests of the season, with more than 1,000 student crews from 70 universities set to race at BUCS Regatta, held at the National Water Sports Centre near Nottingham.

The road to BUCS has been far from easy for Liverpool University BC as Georgia May, cox and President – and third year psychology student – reveals.

“We had a coach for three years, but she left last year and there was no one available to take over.”

May describes a turbulent period for the club, who row out of Runcorn RC. The squad captains were forced into making important crew selections and they struggled to retain members.

“Six out of nine of the women’s top eight came through our learn-to-row sessions,” said May. “We found that making more of an emphasis on group ergs and land circuits meant that we gained a great group cohesiveness. Everyone was such good friends so it meant that more people wanted to do the training and put the work in.”

The boys’ crew were ‘beside themselves’ when George Nash jumped into their eight

Though the club is still hunting for a head coach, with a former men’s captain currently volunteering in the role, after reaching out for support on their Facebook alumni page last year, it was a famous face who offered to help.

“Olympic champion George Nash came to our rescue,” said May. “His girlfriend, Sarah, was a cox at Liverpool and she got our captains in touch with George and he planned out all of our land training for about a year. You can imagine how intense it was!”

Nash even joined them on training camp and May chuckles, remembering the boys’ crew who were “beside themselves” when he jumped into their eight.

“He was really informative and it was amazing how much time he gave us when he wasn’t being paid.

“Now everything we do up is building towards coming off the water and knowing we couldn’t give any more,” she says. “Especially for me – it’s my last BUCS so I want to feel like I gave it everything!”