Metropolitan Regatta 2014
On Sunday the 1st of June we raced two eights at the Metropolitan Regatta, held at Dorney Lake. The new Challenge Eight format, offered for the first time in 2014 meant that all our athletes could expect to have 3 tight races throughout the day, racing crews matched on speed rather than category.
For the Elite eight, this was the first opportunity to race together since their Boat Race win. 1st and 5th place time trial finishes for the elite and senior eight respectively put our crews in strong positions for the semi-finals, where we raced side-by-side in lanes 4 and 5, finishing the race ahead of Thames Rowing Club A and the University of London in first and second position. It was incredibly exciting for the team to have both of our eights racing in the A final, but eager for more, all the athletes were prepared for a close race, knowing that we had some tough opposition to face in the form of the two GB composite crews.
The elite eight had a strong start in the final leading the GB Senior development crew by 5 seats and beating them to the 500m marker by just over a second. Our opposition could not be shaken off however, and responding to the demands of their cox, the GB development crew began to inch back on our elite eight. The very tightly fought middle 1k that followed, as the two crews raced side by side, with the lead alternating between them, provided some of the best racing we’ve experienced. Eventually it came down to final 250 meters and a sprint for the line as our elite eight found a final gear that the composite was unable to match; taking them across the line two seats ahead to win the Open Eights event, and the Elite category.
Racing for our senior eight meanwhile was just as close and equally exciting as they raced side by side with the U23 composite crew, coming through the 1000 and 1500m markers just one second ahead. The senior eight managed to hold off all of the advances of the U23 eight, maintaining a strong rhythm to cross the line just 0.8 seconds ahead.
These were absolutely fantastic results for both crews, and an exciting start to our Henley preparation. It was great to be challenged by such fast crews, providing a brilliant opportunity for all our athletes to experience close racing and find out how fast each of our crews could go. It was also a testament to the racing intensity of our athletes that both crews were able to come out on the right side of these close margins. Having our eights finish first and third at this regatta, winning both the elite and senior categories marks a step up in the depth of our program, and is a great achievement.