The 2021 University Championships was the first multi-lane regatta after a long gap for Irish rowing – taking place almost two years to the day after the 2019 Irish Championships – and it produced some excellent results for UCD, particularly in the Eights.
Despite the difficult circumstances that affected much of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons both clubs had strong entries across the board with several events featuring multiple UCD crews.
Results of particular note included the 8+ events with UCD winning all of the Mens and Ladies categories on offer – Club, Intermediate and Senior. These wins secured the Wylie Cup (Mens) and Bank of Ireland (Ladies) Cups but were also historically significant, being the first time a university has won all Bank of Ireland events as well as the first overall ‘clean sweep’ of the 8+ events.
Unfortunately the difficulties in recruiting new rowers was evident as no university fielded a Novice 8+ but UCD did manage to pick up the win in the one Novice event that did take place, the 4x+. It has been a particularly strange time for these Novice athletes during Covid with many of them training for over 18 months before their first taste of competition.
Other events that perhaps had entries curtailed by similar difficulties included the Mens Senior 4- and Mens Club 8+, with each featuring just two crews, both from UCD.
Other wins included the Mens Senior 2- and Womens Intermediate 4+, with placings in Mens Club 4+ (2nd & 3rd), Womens Intermediate 1x (2nd), Womens Club 4+ (2nd).
With all wins and placings taken into account UCD was deemed the overall winner, taking home the UCD Boat Club Centenary Cup.
It was a privilege to take part in an event of this scale after the extended break and the club would like to thank all involved with organising. A particular nod must go to our own Shauna Fitzsimons who has been a driving force of the Rowing Ireland University Subcommittee, as well as the several UCD graduates who made the trip to volunteer at the event.