BUCS regatta, held over the May bank holiday is not only the first major regatta of the season but also the largest student regatta in Europe. It is held over three days at the National Water sports Centre, Holme Pierpont in Nottingham where over 2,600 students from 73 Universities compete over the 3 days. RUBC was out in force, filling beginner to championship categories and with strong entries in singles, doubles and quads.
DAY 1 – A great start:
Racing started bright and early on Saturday morning with Franklin Hamilton and Jack Gibson racing in the Men’s Intermediate Lightweight singles. Next up was Helen Such, racing the Beginner Women’s single followed by Dominic Tope, Olly Dix, James Mackins and Alex Wrath in the Intermediate single sculls and Sam Twine racing in the Championship category. Francesca Bratt and Amy Fuller raced in the Lightweight women’s double and we had two beginner men’s quads of Reeve Colaccio, Chris O’Bryan, Johannes de Pedro and Michael Sudlow and George Goucher, Nikolas Gavrias, Callum Mitchell and Elliot Reeks. The three women’s quads consisted of Poppy Durkan, Meg Park, Katy Ratcliffe and Anna Smart, Sarah Newton, Hannah Walters, Emily Ambrose and Olivia Naylor in the intermediate category and Lou Grove, Isabelle Drinkwater, Rosie Snell and Amber Mayall in the competitive Championship Category.
Results came back quickly from the time trials, with Franklin Hamilton and Jack Gibson both qualifying for the A/B semi’s in 3rd and 10th place respectively. Franklin raced well in the semi, securing his spot in the A final and Jack progressed to the B final, after coming 5th.
Helen also qualified her single for the A/B semi’s and just missed out on the A final, coming fourth in a very strong field.
In the men’s intermediate singles, both Dominic Tope and Olly Dix put in strong performances to win their semi-finals and James Mackins sculled well, putting all three into the A final. Alex Wrath raced well, qualified his scull in 31st position in the time trial, leading him to the F final which he later won.
Sam Twine came first in his time trial by a whisker and put it to good use, winning his semi by a big margin and progressing into the A final.
Francesca and Amy put in a strong performance in a competitive event, qualifying in 3rd place in the time trial and 2nd in the semi-final, putting them in good medal contention in the A final.
More success came in the men’s beginner quads, a new event added to the BUCS regatta timetable this year. RUBC continued their domination of this event since BUCS head, with the two quads qualifying for the A/B semi’s in 1st and 7th.
Our Women’s quads all raced well in the morning time trials, with the Intermediate boats qualifying for the A/B semi’s in 1st and 11th. The ‘A’ boat raced a hard semi-final, winning a spot in the A final and the ‘B’ boat qualified in 5th position, giving them a good shot at the B final. The Championship quad also sculled well in their races for lanes, coming 4th and 5th in the time-trial then semi-final respectively.
In the afternoon, the wind picked up, giving strong performances from earlier a benefit of a good lane. Our first medal of the day came from Franklin Hamilton in the Intermediate Lightweight Single Sculls, where he fought a good race and picked up a very impressive bronze. Jack Gibson also raced well in the B final, coming second.
Helen Such showed domination in the B final of the women’s beginner single sculls, winning by nearly 30 seconds.
Our first gold medal was won by Dominic Tope in the Men’s Intermediate Single sculls, silver went to Olly Dix and 5th place to James Mackins.
Sam Twine then won a very impressive gold medal in the heavily contested men’s championship single sculls.
The championship medals kept on coming, with Amy Fuller and Francesca Bratt achieving bronze in the Lightweight women double sculls.
This was followed by both Reading’s beginner men’s quads winning their respective finals, adding another gold medal to the hoard, won by Reeve Colaccio, Chris O’Bryan, Johannes de Pedro and Michael Sudlow in a very convincing time.
Sarah Newton, Hannah Walters, Emily Ambrose and Olivia Naylor fought well in the B final of the Intermediate women’s quad sculls, coming 3rd and then one of the closest races of the day saw the Intermediate quad of Poppy Durkan, Meg Park, Katy Ratcliffe and Anna Smart snatch another gold at the last minute.
The Women’s championship quad sculled incredibly well in a very tough field, achieving 5th.
DAY 2 – Silver Sunday:
The Sunday dawned bright and early again for our Lightweight women. With Anna Smart, Francesca Bratt, Katy Ratcliffe and Hannah Walters racing early in the intermediate Lightweight single scull and Amy Fuller racing in the Championship category. Helen Such, Molly Kay, Molly Regan and Robyn Hughes contested the Women’s beginner quads, another brand new event to the BUCS timetable. Louretta Grove and Poppy Durkan raced the intermediate single sculls, with Isabelle Drinkwater doing the honours in the competitive Champ category. Dominic Tope and Vince DeLuca and Jack Radford and Alex Wrath raced the intermediate doubles and Sam Twine and Olly Dix raced in the Championship category. We also had three lightweight men’s doubles entered of Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton, Ross Porter and Corey McDowell and Jack Gibson and Tom Barak.
Results were close in the Intermediate Lightweight singles with Katy Ratcliffe, Anna Smart and Francesca Bratt all qualifying for the A/B Semis and Hannah Walters qualifying straight into the C final where she came an impressive 4th. With weather conditions deteriorating, despite some strong racing it was only Anna Smart who progressed into the A final, in a very impressive semi.
Amy Fuller raced in a very strong field, coming 8th in the time trial and missing out on the final despite some impressive racing against the countries best lightweight scullers.
The women’s beginner quads qualified from their time trial in 2nd position and with the weather conditions worsening by the second, the decision was made to cancel all intermediate and beginner semi-finals. This gave them a very good shot at the A final later in the day.
Poppy Durkan and Louretta Grove also raced well in the time trial for the intermediate singles, progressing directly to the D and C finals respectively. Poppy later went on to come a strong 2nd place in her final.
Isabelle Drinkwater qualified for the A final in the championship category, coming 6th in the time trial and 3rd in the semi-finals.
In the intermediate doubles, 1stand 15th places were achieved in the time trial, giving Dominic Tope and Vince Deluca a clear path into the A final and Alex Wrath and Jack Radford a good shot at the C final, in which they came 2nd.
Sam Twine and Olly Dix won both their time trial and their semi-final, giving them exciting chances in the A final of the Championship Doubles later and the lightweight doubles came an impressive 3rd, 5th and 11th in their time trial. Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton raced a solid semi-final, progressing to the A final. The other two crews missed out, both qualifying for the B final.
Our first medal of the day came from small but mighty, Anna Smart who achieved an amazing silver in the intermediate lightweight single sculls. She was later joined by Dominic Tope and Vince Deluca in the Intermediate double and Sam Twine and Olly Dix in the championship double, all winning silver medals in tough and exciting races.
The beginner women raced very well in a hard field, coming a strong fourth and Isabelle Drinkwater came a solid 6th in an A final stacked with some of the country’s top scullers.
Our last medals of the day went to Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton in the lightweight men’s double sculls where they won an amazing bronze.
Day 3 – Fantastic finale!:
On Monday, the weather forecast did not look promising. A decision to remove semi-finals for intermediate and beginner events was made prior to racing beginning. This meant performance in the time trial was critical.
Up today was Chris O’Bryan in the beginner men’s single, Francesca Bratt, Amy Fuller, Katy Ratcliffe and Anna Smart in the women’s lightweight quad, Corey Mcdowell, Ross Porter, Tom Barak and Jack Gibson in the men’s lightweight quad, Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton, Olly Dix and Dominic Tope in the men’s Championship quad and an intermediate quad of James Mackins, James Everett, Jacob Chapman and Jack Radford. Three women’s doubles of Rosie Snell and Poppy Durkan, Louretta Grove and Amber Mayall and Sarah Newton and Olivia Naylor were also racing, as well as Isabelle Drinkwater and Meg Park in the championship category.
The time trials ran normally, with both Chris O’bryan and the lightweight women racing well in the wind to both qualify for their finals in 2nd position. The lightweight men qualified in 5th, progressing to the A/B semi’s where they raced well, leading to the A final later in the day.
The men’s intermediate quad came a solid 8th in their time trial, unfortunately leading directly to the B final given the change in the regatta programme. They raced a very strong Bath crew and came second by a tiny margin after a very exciting race.
In the Championship category, the boys qualified in 2nd, then in 3rd in their semi-final for the A final.
The women’s doubles raced well, coming 2nd, 4th and 13th in the intermediate category and 5th in the competitive champ category. Isabelle and Meg then qualified in 3rd place for the A final.
With racing in the middle of the day suspended due to strong winds, Minor finals were cancelled and we all waited with baited breath for the wind to die down. It eventually did, giving us beautiful conditions for the afternoon.
Our first medal of the day was a silver medal to Chris O’bryan in the Beginners scull. He was joined by the lightweight women also winning silver.
The lightweight men raced well in their final coming a strong 5th along with the championship men’s quad also coming 5th in a heavily contested race.
In the intermediate doubles, Poppy and Rosie sculled very well to pick up our last medal of the weekend; a very well deserved bronze. Louretta and Amber came fourth.
Then Isabelle and Meg rowed a great race, coming 6th out of 7 in the hard championship doubles category.
Over the weekend, RUBC picked up 14 medals: 4 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze, putting us 5th on the medals table, ahead of notable rowing greats such as Durham, Imperial as well as both Oxford and Cambridge! With this concluding the 2015-16 BUCS rowing season, we can now confirm that Reading has finished 2nd overall in the University league our best result ever!!!
We proved we had depth and strength throughout the quad in all categories and in small boats as well as quads. This is one of the best BUCS results we’ve seen in years and we look forward to the big summer regattas now we have the side-by-side racing bug!