A Season in Review: 2014-15

Looking back at the last year.

Building on the hard work of some tough preseason training, where the seniors regained their fitness, GUBC hit the ground running. With some very successful recruitment at the Fresher’s Fayre and the taster session we had a large influx of novice rowers as well as discovering some already competent oarsmen and women to join our senior squads. Training began in September in earnest with the overall aim to row at the Henley Regattas next June.

old roomThe first race of the season came all too quickly in October with Clyde 3 Head but GUBC stepped up the mark to win Men’s and Women’s Open Eights and take both first and second in Women’s Open Single Sculls. Fresh from victory, we then went on to the National Championships where in the Women’s Double, Emma Mcdonald and Rebecca Lightfoot performed admirably coming second in the Under 23 Lightweight category. The following day the Senior Men’s and Women’s Eights battled through some very difficult conditions in the time trial which following the cancellation of side by side racing due to high winds left us in 32nd and 11th places respectively.

The annual club dinner was a roaring success. Held at Grand Central Hotel for the second year running this year we had the pleasure of Commonwealth Boxing Gold medalist Charlie Flynn as our speaker. Dinner was accompanied with a very lively Ceilidh and the infamous Club Punch ceremony.


Our Novii, fresh faced and eager to race were sent north to both Inverness and Aberdeen Heads to get some race experience. Sadly we didn’t win anything, however we did manage to brave the cold wet windy conditions and have a thoroughly good time. Our seniors, having refocused and trained even harder following our disappointing Nat’ Champ’s results, went back south of the border for Tyne RC’s Rutherford Head. Both the Senior Men and Women came second in their Intermediate 3 Eights races. The Senior Men then went onto a respectable 4th in Intermediate 3 Coxed Fours but the Senior Women took the day with a win and a third place in Intermediate 3 Coxed Fours beating the likes of Edinburgh and Newcastle

Round rolled Christmas Exams and the Scottish Indoor Championships where our Novii exceeded themselves and won their first victories taking home a Gold and a Silver in the Women’s Freshers 1000m and a bronze in the Men’s Freshers 1000m. Our Novice Girls also placed second and third in the Women’s Fresher Team Relay. A fantastic turn out from all squads and a fantastic effort by everyone with several members breaking their personal bests!


Having enjoyed a Christmas break and a chance to be at home, everyone came back in the new year reinvigorated and got stuck back into winter training. Long cold sessions on the Clyde should have become the norm, however due to frequently inclement weather training was often moved indoors and races cancelled leaving us longing for the water. In the run-up to the Head of River Races down in London, we did manage to have one weekend with good weather on the Clyde for Strathclyde University Head where our Women’s squad won Women’s Restricted 2 Coxed Fours and our Men’s squad came second in Open Restricted 2 Coxed Fours. Our Novice Women placed third, fourth and fifth in Novice Women’s Coxed Four.

Three Women’s Eights went down to WEHoRR all racing in the Novice Academic category. Our first boat came second narrowly losing to Imperial College with our second and third eights coming 16th and 25th. In the overall race, our girls came 93rd, 196th and 234th respectively; some excellent results. This year only our Novice Men went down to HoRR, however they did manage a very respectable 6th place in the Novice Academic category and 197th overall.

Training Camp this year took place in Lovere, Italy on Lake Iseo where we hosted by our twinned club Canottieri Sebino. Despite the setback of being delayed on our way out there, the camp was a success and the good weather and great hospitality thoroughly enjoyed by all.


In April’s GB Final Trials, Emma Mcdonald finished 11th overall in the Lightweight Women and 3rd in the Under 23 category. GUBC alumnus and former Club Captain, Imogen Walsh finished first in Lightweight Women.

Clearly training camp paid off as GUBC had a bumper haul at Strathclyde Park Regatta (SPR) and Scottish Student Sport (SSS) Rowing Championships – 11 Golds as well as several 2nd and 3rd placings. Both Novice squads won both Open Novice and SSS Beginner Eights and the Novice Men won SSS Men’s Beginner Coxed Four. Our Senior Women rounded up the haul winning Women’s Restricted 2 Coxed Four, SSS Intermediate Ladies Coxed Four, Women’s Novice Coxed Four, Women’s Restricted 1 Coxless Pair and SSS Championship Ladies Coxless Pair. Special mentions go to Emma Mcdonald who won on top of other medals, Women’s Single Scull, Women’s Lightweight Scull and SSS Championship Ladies Single Scull, and to Aaron Nicholson for a spectacular incident; mangling a rigger due to catching a crab, whilst leading mid-race, before limping across the line to a Silver medal. 


If the medals haul from SPR wasn’t already enough, our Senior Women only went and smashed it at BUCS Regatta! 3 girls, 3 days, 3 Gold medals; Emma Mcdonald and Claire Aitken in the Women’s Championship Pair on the Saturday, Emma Mcdonald in Women’s Championship Lightweight Single on the Sunday, and Emma Mcdonald and Flora Wharton in Women’s Championship Lightweight Pair on the Monday. Topping off the best BUCS result in recent years, GUBC had another 5 crews making it to B Finals including the Senior Men’s Stuart Mitchell who finished 1st in his B Final in Intermediate Lightweight Singles, and the Novice Women’s and Men’s Beginner Eights who came 1st and 2nd in their B Finals respectively. Our Senior Women’s Four finished an agonising 13th in their Time Trial, only 0.1 from making the A/B Semis. However, the girls tore the competition apart in their C final, stealing the win from a strong Cambridge Crew.

Seeing as it’s on our doorstep it would have been a shame to miss Clydesdale Regatta. A much more relaxed race than the high tension of SPR and BUCS, we left with two crews making their semi-finals, five crews making it as far a final but sadly not winning and two crews – our Men’s Restricted 2 Double Sculls and Women’s Restricted 1 Eight – winning their respective finals.

As exam season crept up on us, so too did our annual clash with our friendly rivals Edinburgh University BC in the Scottish Boat Race. An overcast day with a slight wind blowing up the Clyde, our chances of winning overall looked good as our Novice Women and Novice Men both beat Edinburgh by lengths in the Reserve Races. This was then followed by our Men’s Alumni VIII, stroked by Director of Rowing, Andy Barton, crossing the line just a fraction of a canvas ahead of Edinburgh. Sadly from there, as the wind picked up, our Women’s Alumni, Men’s and Women’s VIII’s were all beaten by Edinburgh, leading to a spectacular quayside finish with the Novice Team Ergometer Challenge. It was very close but we unfortunately lost by just a few metres leaving us defeated overall for the third year running. However with such great success from our Novices we look forward to rebuilding our squads and to challenging Edinburgh in the 2016 Races.


Following the end of exams, we found ourselves back at Strathclyde Park for the Scottish Rowing Championships. Helping bring home a club total of 7 Gold and 1 Bronze medals, our Novice Women proved themselves worthy Scottish Champions in the Novice Eight and Coxed Four events whilst both our Senior Men and Women squads won both the Women’s and the Open Intermediate Coxed Fours. Our Senior Women also took home several Single Sculls medals with Emma Mcdonald taking both the Women’s and Women’s Lightweight medals, Claire Aitken taking the Gold in Women’s Intermediate and Maggie Ulyatt taking a well deserved Bronze in Women’s Novice

Our Henley campaign came to an unfortunately quick end after our entry in Intermediate Academic Coxed Fours was sadly knocked out in the first round by eventual finalists Newcastle University. Emma McDonald  was sadly knocked out in the semi-final of the Haslem Trophy for Elite Lightweight Double Sculls. However, in a composite crew with Edinburgh University and Reading University, she won the Rankine Trophy for Elite Lightweight Quadruple Sculls in a tough race against a strong Durham crew, who had cruised to victory at BUCS the previous month.


Earning herself some GB caps this season was our own Emma Mcdonald; a second place finish in Women’s Under 23 Lightweight Double Sculls at the Hügelregatta in Essen was followed by 3rd place in the Women’s Elite Double Sculls at the Metropolitan Regatta two weeks later. At Holland Beker she came 3rd in Women’s Under 23 Lightweight Quadruple Sculls and 4th in the Double Sculls. After rigorous seat racing in Caversham,  Emma was chosen as a travelling spare for World Under 23 Championships in Plovidiv, Bulgaria. She raced in the in the Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls Spares race coming a very credible 3rd. Emma has had an excellent season with an uncountable number of wins and we wish her luck for the 2015/16 season.

Also earning themselves caps this year were Flora Wharton and Claire Aitken representing Scotland at this years Home International Regatta at nearby Strathclyde Park, where they both took Gold in the Women’s Coxed Four and where Claire also took Gold in the Women’s Eight.

Next we look forward to Claire and Emma racing in the Women’s Pair at the European University Rowing Championships. By virtue of their win at BUCS in the Women’s Championship Pair they were automatically selected to represent GB. We wish them the best of luck in Hannover!


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