The senior men’s squad looked to build upon a successful training camp and a promising head season with a strong display at BUCS to mark the start of our regatta season. Everyone was very excited for a variety of reasons; for some it was their first time at BUCS, others were hoping for new club records whilst Steve was just overjoyed the three women he loved would all be in Nottingham with him at the same time.
Saturday saw the team put out two VIIIs in the intermediate competition, however tensions amongst the boats were already high; the first VIII had fielded a crew more overrun by snakes than Samuel L. Jackson’s plane whilst the second boat had to call upon Ryan “Champ 4” McKay to fill out the numbers, who, when asked if he’d done any preparation for the event replied “yeah, didn’t you know I rowed last year?” Warwick’s most improved athlete two years in a row? Probably not. The first VIII put in an amazing time trial, finishing 3rd place overall; unfortunately a very tough draw for the semis and rough conditions saw them finish 4th and go into the B final. Despite Adam looking like he was about to fall out of the boat they put in a solid performance; sitting in 4th place with 500 to go they sprinted to the finish faster than Tom forgets his loyalties on nights out to finish 2nd place overall. The second VIII had had a poor time trial and had been disappointed with it until they realised they had placed in the F final and allowed Cian a chance to claim two F final wins in two years at BUCS (only truly elite athletes can manage that level of consistency). They set off strong out of the blocks and pushed into a significant early lead, unfortunately the whole boat seemed to simultaneously forget that 2000m is quite a long way when you have to carry Steve down the course so promptly blew up and had to hold on for dear life to see the win out.
On Sunday the squad entered their only boat to compete in the championship category; a four coxed by Beth consisting of Cyril, last year’s senior men’s captain who has trained with the Swiss squad, Christian, our current captain with rowing experience for school, college and uni, Ollie, who has competed for GB and rows for Tideway Scullers, and Jack. The crew raced brilliantly, finishing 4th in their semi final despite an incredibly tough lane draw, and, as the B final didn’t go ahead, placed 7th overall. A further three fours competed in the intermediate competition; comprising of the bow four of the first VIII, the self-proclaimed “Chat 4” (ironically named we presume) went up against the “Fat Four” and the “Not So Fat Four” (not so ironically named) filled with rowers from the second VIII. Both the Fat and Skinny fours reached the F final – Cian once again proving his consistency in this regard – but it was unfortunately cancelled due to adverse conditions meaning he didn’t have the chance to add a third gold medal to his collection. The Chat 4 regrettably finished in the G final (which was also cancelled) as a result of a time trial slower, and ultimately more disappointing, than one of Steve’s attempts at finding love. Upon reading the results they cited the excuse that the head wind got significantly worse during the ten second gap between them setting off and the rest of the crews around them. Meteorologists around the world remain unconvinced, instead suggesting the restriction and weight of having Chesky constantly wrapped around Will, even whilst racing, may have been the debilitating factor. Others simply believe there was just too much chat and too little razz.
Monday saw the final day of racing and only four rowers and two coaches/groupies from the senior men going down. The so-called “Banter Quad” had actually never trained together and was told their only target was to “stay in the lane”. Thankfully, Cian and Tom were on hand to deliver motivational speeches and provide technical feedback. Ollie had originally claimed he was “too good to be coached” whilst pointing to his GB top, which we’re 99% sure is physically stitched onto him at this stage, swiftly before catching a big juicy crab in front of everyone during the time trial. Despite this, the boat made the intermediate A final – the only Warwick boat from any squad to make an A final throughout the weekend (interestingly the only difference between them and the Champ 4 was Ian came in instead of Jack #makesyouthink)– and finished a very impressive 4th place. As the boat came into land the whole crew were exhausted as a successful three days of racing was finally over; in the bow seat, birthday boy Ian was particularly shattered and looked like he’d just been on the receiving end of one of his own, infamous, right hooks.
Overall it was a successful weekend for all the squad involved, and an experience we will now look to build on going into the rest of the regatta season.