University Boat Club’s Winter Training Pays Off

Durham University Boat Club’s rowers had the opportunity to really test themselves against national competition at Fuller’s Fours Head of the River held in London. After journeying southwards the crews, made up of the university’s top athletes, faced gruelling windy conditions. However good results and success against crews from across the country put a smile back on the teams’ faces. The most impressive result of the day came from the senior one coxed four of Benjamin Dawes, Sebastian Kouba, Anthony Hurley, Kieran Emery and Andy Graham, who won their category. They finished the four and a quarter mile course, which is raced in the men’s and women’s heads in the spring, as well as being the Oxford-Cambridge boat race course, in 20.06, just 2 seconds ahead of their rivals Oxford Brooks. This result has let the men’s squad demonstrate their continued dominance at university and national level has not weakened.There were strong results from the rest of the men’s crews. The elite lightweight quad of Jamie Kirkwood (Durham School), Ian Couch, Nick Fearnhead and James Dodd raced to 4th place in a time if 19.58, against experienced crews such as Leander who won that category. The senior 2 quad of Luke O’Donoghue, Richie Steele, Philip Moralee and Drew Ford also put in a good finish, achieving 13th place out of the 50 crews competing in that event.

The women also achieved remarkable success in racing. The elite coxless four of Sophie Vellacott, Florence Sivell, Joanna Fitzsimons and Emily Taylor raced their way to 2nd place, finishing just behind Leander, in a time of 21.37. This crew performance displayed that the women’s squad remains at the top of their game. The other women’s crew to race was the senior 2 quad of Sarah Wright, Rosie Guant, Ruth Carpenter and Andrea Hoskins. Out of a field of 39 crews the girls finished in 8th position in a time of 21.32.

In freezing conditions Durham University Boat Club took to the river once again last weekend to compete at Rutherford Head on the Tyne. The course, which covers 5 kilometres, is the first competition for the club in the bigger boats which will be raced in over the next two terms. There were a number of successes for DUBC. In division one the men’s elite quad, Will Fletcher, Nick Fearnhead, Ian Couch and James Dodd, raced to victory in a time of 15.08, two seconds ahead of the main competition, Newcastle University. The men’s senior two quad, John Ford, Alex Foster, Dan Cater and Will Fletcher, also won their category, in a time of 15.48, with the B crew finishing in second place in a time of 16.02. The men’s elite coxed four, Seb Kouba, Anthony Hurley, Philip Congdon, Steven Winship and Andy Graham, repeated their success, winning their category 11 seconds ahead of Newcastle who finished second place. The women continued this success in the morning’s division. The women’s elite eight stormed down the course to be the fastest women’s eight of the day, winning their pennant in 15.59. The women’s second eight also went to win the women’s senior three eight ahead of other university crews in 16.50.

In the second division, with the conditions still icy, the men’s eights took to the water, the first chance for Durham to test itself against the other universities. The men’s elite eight completed the course in a time of 14.44, but not fast enough, as Newcastle University completed the course in a time of 14.32, 12 seconds ahead. The men’s second eight were also just piped at the finish line, as they came second in the senior three eight category in a time of 15.12, just 1 second behind Tees. The men’s senior two eight of Peter Hudson, Benjamin Dawes, Dan Cater, Rory MacLeod, David Anderson, Alex Wady, John Ford, Ian Stewart and Sophie Adams, finally beat off the competition, winning their event in a time of 15.22, just 1 second ahead of Manchester University. In the same division the women’s squad continued their success of the morning. The women’s senior two quad completed the course in 17.22, with the B crew finishing in second place just behind them. In the women’s senior three coxed the Durham A crew won the competition in 19.16, with the B crew in second place in 19.29.

Another day of successful competition for Durham University Boat Club on Wednesday 3 December, at the annual North East Indoor Ergo Championships held at Maiden Castle. The event, run by the boat club, is entered by clubs from the area, including many from the university squad and college boat clubs.

In the open men’s category the clear winner was Gareth Archer, of Durham Amateur Rowing Club, who completed the 2 kilometre race in the fastest time of the day, 5.54. However two athletes who train with Durham University, Richie Steele and Kieren Emery followed closely behind to take the silver and bronze. In the men’s university event Durham University’s Luc O’Donaghue followed their success, winning gold in 6.11, with James Zaremba, also a Durham University athlete, just behind in silver in a time of 6.12.2, both of them just squeezing ahead of Newcastle’s Dan Cupit. In the men’s college competition St Aidan’s Gary Blyth took a huge chunk out of his competitors to finish in a time of 6.22, with two Grey athletes taking the other medal positions, Harry Corker and Matt Croton finishing neck and neck in times of 6.43.1 and 6.43.8 respectively. In the men’s Fresher’s competition Newcastle’s Richard Smith took the gold, just 3 seconds ahead of Durham’s Dan Porter in silver and Josh Gibbons who took bronze.

In the open men’s lightweight category Durham once again stepped into the medal positions, with Nick Fearnhead winning gold in 6.26, followed by Will Fletcher in silver with a time of 6.28. The men’s lightweight university competition was yet another show of Durham talent, with James Dodd taking gold in 6.29, followed by Ian Couch in silver in 6.30. The men’s lightweight Fresher event was another gold-silver Durham win, with Mark Dykes winning in 7.04 and Ben Minns in 7.06.

There were impressive results from the women too. In the university competition Durham University took all three medals, with Emily Taylor in gold in a time of 7.00, Ruth Carpenter in silver in a time of 7.08 and Sophie Vellacott in bronze in 7.15. More medals were won by Durham in the women’s fresher competition, Sarah Harding completing her first ever 2 km ergo in 7.29 taking gold, followed by Issie Drummond in silver in a time of 7.39, ahead of Newcastle’s Katy Covell. In the college competition Emma Mollett of Collingwood won gold in a time of 7.36, followed by team mate Amie Harding in silver and Georgina Hales of Aidan’s in bronze.

The lightweight women were equally successful, with Rebecca Tancock taking gold position completing the course in 7.34, followed shortly by Rebecca Sutton in silver in 7.39, both well ahead of Lucy Glendenning of Newcastle. In the lightweight women’s college competition Jennifer Cann of Aidan’s took gold, followed by Shirin Gerami of Chads in silver and Charlotte Oreton of Grey in bronze. The women’s lightweight freshers competition Durham’s Olivia Short and Florence Cox won gold and silver, ahead of Newcastle’s Gemma Ramsay.

These results are promising for the Head of the River races to follow in the spring, as well as next term in which the club looks set to dominate once again.

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