This year a record number of athletes from GUBC (13 rowers and 2 coxes) were selected for the Scotland team – a massive step on from recent years and a testament to the hard work of all of the athletes and coaches at the club especially considering only 3 of the athletes present had previously been members of the senior team!
Friday brought sunshine and some pre-regatta training for crews to get used to the very unique experience of rowing at Cardiff bay. While the beautiful surroundings gleamed in the sunlight, the water was bumpy to say the least!
In the first race of the regatta, HIR veteran and Senior Women’s team captain Emma McDonald didn’t let the rough conditions stand in her way of winning gold for Scotland in the Lightweight Single. In the Lightweight Women’s pair GUBC’s Flora Wharton teamed up with Laura McDonald from Edinburgh University to claim another gold for the team in an exciting race.
Heavyweight Women’s Pair Rosanna Loy and Claire Aitken also rowed a fantastic race to take another gold and another 4 points for the Scotland Senior Women’s team. In the Men’s Pair, Callum Sinclair and Strathclyde University’s Jan Swedlow rowed well but unfortunately were defeated by very strong competition from the other nations.
The Women’s Coxed 4 was a GUBC dominated crew containing Gráinne Maguire Conneely, Ellen Smith, Robyn Gillies and cox Rachael Scott. After a battle down the course with the England crew, the girls placed 3rd behind Wales and England. Aaron Nicholson and cox Megan Wallace both took seats in the Men’s Coxed 4. The crew took 4th place on the day.
Another race brought another gold medal for Emma McDonald and sister Laura in the Lightweight Double. Matthew Mole and Jack Burns took 2nd in the Men’s Double behind England after beating the Irish crew to the line in some very tight racing.
Katie Mackie was in the 3 seat of the Women’s Coxless 4 who took a 2nd place that could have been a win had the course been a few hundred meters longer. Johan Almgren and Brennen Taylor were stern pair of the Men’s Coxless 4 who took 3rd place in their race.
Above: GUBC’s gold medal winners.
After the lunch break the Women’s teams were very close on points for the overall trophy with the overall winners depending on the results of the upcoming eights and quads races. The men knew they had a lot to do to make up the point gap behind England.
The men’s quad – including Matthew Mole – impressed, coming first in a tense race despite being underdogs and leaving the overall victory in the hands of the 8. Coxed by Megan Wallace and with Aaron Nicholson in the 4 seat the men had an incredibly close and hard fought race and finished agonisingly close behind England – losing out on the overall trophy but doing themselves proud in an amazing race.
Below: The 4 Senior Men’s crews had a tight battle in the final race of the regatta
Both Emma McDonald and Flora Wharton competed in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls, placing 3rd behind Wales and England and leaving Scotland and England on equal points heading into the final race: the 8. The crew, containing 5 GUBC rowers and coxed by Rachael Scott, knew that for Scotland to win the Senior Women’s Trophy they must place ahead of England. Struggling with conditions in the toughest lane, they were well clear of England by the middle of the race and battling with Ireland for 1st place. Unfortunately, despite making up good ground on the Irish crew, the girls ran out of water and placed 2nd, missing out on a medal but winning the Senior Women’s Trophy for Scotland!
Below: The victorious Senior Women’s Team
Some more pictures from the weekend…