It’s been a busy summer for the Durham rowers, with a total of 17 current athletes competing overseas.
Home International Regatta
The first event of the summer was the Home International Regatta, held in Cork, Ireland. This is an annual fixture between England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Each country sends a Junior and Senior team to race. Durham athletes representing England in the Senior team were Jamie Gossage and Sam Tuck in the Senior Men’s Lightweight Double, Ben Witting and James Tufnell in the Senior Men’s Pair and Charlotte Trundley in both the Senior Men’s Coxed Four and Senior Men’s Eight. Sam Tuck also made an appearance in the Senior Men’s Quad, alongside Olympian Pete Wells. Competing for Wales was Stephen Griffiths in the Senior Men’s Coxless Four.
All races were straight finals, with medals only given out to the winners of each race.
The first of the Durham lot to race were the Men’s Pair of Ben and James. Having only flown over to Ireland the previous evening, expectations were low and a solid 3rd place matched the expectations. Next down the course was the Men’s Coxed Four with CT as cox. Unfortunately they couldn’t do enough to beat Scotland, and they came a respectable 2nd.
Next was the Lightweight Double of Sam and Jamie. Up against Scotland, the reining BUCS Champions in the Lightweight Double, hopes of winning were slim. But with a characteristic rapid 1st 500m led by Sam, Durham managed not only to get ahead, but stay ahead for the whole race, even having enough time to have a good look around for the finish line at the end.
Finally Steve in Senior Coxless Four for Wales came a good 4th in his final.
For the first time ever, rowing was included as part of the EUSA Games. Unlike the EUSA Regatta which is for rowing only, the EUSA Games consists of many different sports.
Durham sent an Openweight Women’s Double and a Lightweight Women’s Double as part of the GB Universities Team. First to race was the Lightweight Double (Mimi Carlton, Katy Denham) on Wednesday in a race for lanes. The Durham crew took the lead after the half way mark, and didn’t let it go for the rest of the race. They were then left with a day off on Thursday as it was the turn of the Openweight Double (Charlotte Drury, Becky Dell) to take to the water. In their race for lanes, they came a solid 3rd.
So to finals day on the Friday. The Lightweight’s final was first, and in a very close race, the girls came a brilliant second. Next was the turn of the Open Double, however they couldn’t quite repeat the result of the previous day as they finished in 6th.
Royal Canadian Henley
At the second time of asking, Don’s idea of taking a group of Durham athletes to race at the Royal Canadian Henley was materialised. A squad of 9 male athletes flew over to Canadian for a week of racing and sightseeing. Andy Brown was first to race in the Senior Men’s Single. An impressive second place took him safely through to the next round. The new President, James Styles, was the next up in the U23 Lightweight Single. Having successfully (by the skin of his teeth) negotiated weigh-in, he set off to race. Unfortunately there weren’t quite enough beans in the tank, so James finished 4th and therefore out of the competition.
The following day saw Andy take to the water again, this time in the U23 Single. But a top two finish in the heat was too much to ask as Andy finished 4th. Alex Fisher was next to make his debut at the regatta, also in the U23 Single. In a very strong field, Alex didn’t quite have the firepower to make an impression, and finished 6th. Later that day, Andy was back out in the Single for the semi of the Senior Single. Unfortunately the top two finished needed was out of his reach.
The next day signalled the start of the pairs racing. The first of the two Durham pairs to race the U23 M2- was Ben Witting and James Tufnell. Unfortunately James had been ill most of the week, and the pair ended up 4th. The second pair was Ed Gleadowe and Jeremy Forsythe. In a tightly fought race, the pair managed to hold onto 2nd by 0.2 seconds, which would see them into the next round.
Friday saw Ed and Jeremy race the semi of the U23 M2-, but they could only manage 4th. Straight after them, the Durham U23 M4- raced, but they could do no better than 5th in their heat.
The final race for Durham was on the Saturday, in the Men’s Championship 8’s event. Up against the likes of the Canadian Lwt 8+ and the USA FISU 8+, expectations were low, and in the end they were never in contention.