‘The First Croatian Historical Novel’

Reading University sent five crews to the European University Games. This year, the multi-sport event was held in two cities; Zagreb and Rijeka.

Nine athletes and two coaches flew out to Zagreb on the 10th of July to compete against University crews from across Europe as well as crews we had previously raced at BUCS head and BUCS regatta.

Two days of training on the beautiful lake, SRC Jarun was followed by the first day of competition. It wasn’t until early Tuesday morning that the official timings of the heats were released, despite this, all Reading’s crews were excited to get on the water and battle with the 36 degree heat.

Reading University’s first race was the lightweight men’s double sculls. Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton raced early in the second of two heats. Their performance in this race would determine whether they would progress straight to Thursday’s final or proceed to the Repechage. They took an early lead and controlled the race from the start, winning their heat in a solid time. A great start from the boys!

Next up was the very competitive men’s double sculls. Dominic Tope and Olly Dix raced very well in the first of three heats and despite coming in last, they raced well and managed a very fast time that would have brought them a completely different result in one of the slower heats. They progressed to the Repechage the following day.

The women’s quadruple sculls was a very exciting race. With three crews from the UK alongside a fast German crew from the University of Munster and two other international crews, Amy Fuller, Katy Ratcliffe, Francesca Bratt and Anna Smart raced well in their race for lanes. After not their best start, a strong middle thousand put them in front but a fight on the other side of the field between Munster and Oxford meant that they crossed the line in 2nd position by 0.8 seconds. An exciting final is in store!

Sam Twine contended the men’s single scull, arguably the most competitive event in the competition. He raced in the second of three heats in a stacked competition and sculled exceptionally well, taking an early lead and moving away steadily to win by over eight seconds. This enabled him to progress directly to the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The final race of the day was a race for lanes for the women’s lightweight double of Amy Fuller and Francesca Bratt who had previously raced in the lightweight quad. The girls managed their tricky afternoon weigh-in and after most of the race battling with a strong Edinburgh double, they pulled away and won by two seconds. A very impressive result!

The Wednesday was a mixed day for Reading. For the lightweights, it was a training day with a chance to relax and plan for the following day’s racing as well as buying the all-important post-race treats which the lightweight girls may have overdone slightly. For the men’s double, their Repechage was a chance to prove themselves and gain a spot in the final. The double sculls Repechage was early on and Olly and Dom put in one of the best performances so far to win convincingly and progress to their Semi-final in a few hours. Racing in lane 1, Olly and Dom fought hard to stay in the action. The times between 1st and 4th were incredibly close but the boys missed out by a fraction, meaning they will be racing in the B final on Thursday.

Sam Twine was also racing in his Semi in the afternoon section of races against some very tough opposition. He sculled very well, staying with the faster scullers off the start and pulling away from the rest of the field to progress easily into the A final on the following day.

Finals day dawned slightly cooler than the previous racing days with much prefferted conditions. With plenty of medals within our grasp, Reading University was very excited to race.

The first Reading crew up were Simon and Franklin in the lightweight men’s double. They battled for a while with a strong crew from Bern before pulling away and sculling a very well-paced race to come through in third. They won GB and Reading’s first medal of the day, a very impressive feat with more to follow!

Next up for Reading were Olly and Dom in the B final of the men’s double sculls. They had a huge start and lead a competitive field with another GB double following in second place the whole way. A strong middle thousand and well-paced sprint meant a very impressive B-final win for the boys.

The lightweight women’s quad was the next race. After another smooth weigh-in the girls were very excited to race. A strong start and they were up with Munster University and away from the rest of the pack. Once onto rhythm, Reading began to move away leaving Munster and Oxford to battle it out for the silver medal. A big finish meant the girls won GB and Reading’s first gold medal of the day by nearly six seconds. This started the ball rolling for GB and plenty more golds were won following this!

In the afternoon races, Sam Twine raced well off the start, holding a solid fourth place through the middle of the race. He put in a big push at the 500 but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the enormous Dutch sculler out in front. Sam put in a huge sprint and came through in fourth position, five seconds behind bronze medal position, a very impressive achievement.

The last crew from Reading was the lightweight women’s double who managed another stressful double weigh-in but were spot-on on the scales. They raced well, controlling the race right from the start and re-enacting that solid, long rhythm that worked so well in the morning races. They lead Edinburgh the whole way and both GB crews pulled away from the other opposition. Amy and Fran won their second gold of the day by four seconds, a very, very exciting result from the two young scullers.

With two gold and one bronze medal, this put Reading University Boat Club at the top of the medals table out of all GB Universities. This, in addition to GB winning the prestigious EUSA salver made it an very successful EUSA games and a fantastic way to end the season. A few restful weeks are needed now for all our athletes before the new season in September where we will try and better RUBC’s most successful year to date. Press Officer over and out.