With University Championships on the horizon, London Metropolitan Regatta served as a great measure of performance for the squad against the strong standard across the sea with UCD returning with the Championship 4- title.
Saturday’s racing had the squad in coxed and coxless fours from Championship Tier 1 to Tier 3. All UCD crews made it into their respective finals and placed in the top 3 of their event.
The highlight of the day was the Championship 4- where UCD’s David O’Malley, Shane Mulvaney, Andrew Goff and Shane O’Connell raced excellently to overcome a resilient Imperial College crew and claim the Thames Cup.
The Novice crew found themselves racing at a higher level then usual in Tier 3 8+ but were still able to secure 2nd place in their straight final ahead of their Irish and British competition.
Two UCD pairs raced, in Championship and Tier 2, finishing 4th and 3rd respectively.
Sunday’s Challenge 8+ brought a fantastic opportunity to test our four 8+ crews against other Irish Universities and British crews with Saturday’s fours combining into eights and the pairs into a four.
The mornings time trial saw UCD’s Senior, Intermediate, Club and Novice boats into the A/B semifinal, C/D semifinal, F final and G final respectively, with the Intermediate and Club crews missing out on a higher semifinal by just a second.
In the meantime Saturday’s pairs took on Championship 4- where they started well but were edged out by the end, finishing just over 4 seconds off qualifying for the final.
As hoped the 8+ A/B semifinal contained top quality British competition with UCD lining up alongside the A crews from Oxford Brookes, Leander and Imperial as well as their fellow Irishmen from Cork Boat Club. Brookes and Leander led the way with Imperial not far behind. UCD raced well and chased Imperial, finishing 4th and well clear of 5th. With the fastest 4th place of either semifinal qualifying for the A final this might have been enough to proceed but Shrewsbury School managed 2.5 seconds faster in their contest.
In the C/D semifinal Kingston took an early lead that they managed to hold to the end with UCD 2nd ahead of a fast finishing UCC boat, seeing them both through to the C final.
In the H final UCD’s Novice 8+ had a fine battle with Kingston who took an early lead that UCD chipped away at down the course. The College boat finished 2nd by just 0.5 seconds with half a length back to the University of Limerick, excellent race experience for a crew in their first year of rowing.
The G final provided more good racing, this time for the UCD Club 8+, who passed Curlew in the middle of the course to take 2nd place but Imperial held on to the top spot by just under a length.
As the day progressed high temperatures and a strong cross wind meant for tricky racing conditions with lane seeding revised to provide some shelter for the faster crews. Despite this, both UCD’s Senior and Intermediate crews put in very respectable performances. The Seniors won their B Final in fine fashion while the Intermediate crew placed 3rd in a tight finish, with UCC just a length behind.
This capped off a great weekend’s racing that provided useful insight into the strength and depth of UCD against their British and Irish counterparts. The results and momentum will hopefully serve us well heading into University Championships this weekend on the 9th of June at Lough Rynn.