The main achievement of the weekend came in the shape of the retention of the Victor Ludorum (the prize awarded to the most successful University overall) for the 9th year running. Durham finished top of the standings at the end of racing with 1145 points, 379 points clear of Newcastle who came second. This was one of the largest margins in recent years and represented a consistently high level of performance across the board, not just in the top boats.
The individual highlights included the women’s intermediate eight holding off Nottingham to win gold, the men’s intermediate quad recovering from a poor start to row back through the field and men’s beginner single producing a remarkable final 250m sprint to clinch gold by less than a second.
‘We were so happy with our result. It is proof of the great training that has gone in over the winter,’ reflected Charlotte Trundley, the cox of the women’s intermediate eight, which won it’s final by almost a length.
However, Durham’s local rivals Newcastle, beat a number of the top men’s boats. The championship men’s eight, intermediate men’s eight, championship men’s coxless four and the championship men’s pair all won silver in their events, behind Newcastle, albeit often by very small margins, with the coxless four losing by a heart-breaking 0.3 seconds.
‘These results are really frustrating, especially as we train 20 metres away from them on the Tyne,’ said Callum McBrierty of the championship men’s eight.
In the sculling events, the duo of Will Mace and Angus Groom secured a bronze medal in the heavyweight double and also a bronze in the championship quad, alongside Barney Stentiford and Stewart Innes. Similar fortune was also had in the men’s championship lightweight quad, who produced a stunning row to the bronze medal despite having qualified for their final slowest.
‘It was a sweet race. We only just made it to the final, but changed our race plan around, swapped the order of the boat and smashed it!’ enthused Lewis Weaver of the lightweight quad.
The fresher’s boats also had an extremely close race in their finals. The men’s eight came second by an excruciating 0.07 seconds to Southampton Solent after producing a brave comeback in the last 500m. The women’s beginner four had similar fortune, coming second behind Bath by a mere 0.50 seconds. The women’s fresher eight also took silver behind Queens Belfast.
Fresher’s coach Matt Evan’s was positive yet frustrated about the outcome of the race; ‘It was a step on from last year, where we won bronze in the men’s event and fourth in the women’s event, but it is still frustrating to be so close to the gold.’
Club President, Franz Imfeld, summed up the performance by saying “Most medals, most VL points and most BUCS points has made for a successful weekend. Big praise must be given to the fresher squad with the biggest medal haul for years. The club has set the stage for the summer season.”
Next on DUBC’s agenda is Metropolitan Regatta, held at Dorney Lake, the 2012 Olympic rowing venue, at the beginning of June.