Domination by Newcastle and Oxford Brookes at 2018 BUCS Regatta
Racing was as fierce as ever for the thousands of student rowers who faced off at Great Britain’s National Water Sports Centre in Holme Pierrepont, at the 2018 British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta.
Newcastle University (2016 overall champions) and Oxford Brookes University (2017 overall champions) stole the show, with Newcastle regaining the coveted Victor Ludorum (VL) title for overall team performance as well as the men’s VL and then drawing with Oxford Brookes for the women’s VL.
“Winning the Victor Ludorum is a huge honour for us, says Newcastle coach Alex Leigh. “It demonstrates the importance of the performance of every single athlete in the club, regardless of ability, whether it be a championship gold medal, or a 4th place finish in an E-final.”
Leigh and Newcastle Head Coach, Angelo Savarino both credit a “culture which is tough but infectious” where “the search for self-improvement” is front and centre.
“Every athlete felt they were even more an integral part of the Boat Club,” adds Savarino, “contributing with their own performance to the overall victory.”
While Newcastle showed an impressive level of overall success, gaining VL points through placing a large number of crews in a-finals, they also claimed gold in several key Championship races and were dominant in lightweight men’s racing. The men’s lightweight quad, saw Newcastle finish with a length over the University of Bristol, while the University of Nottingham, racing on home water, rounded out the podium. The men’s lightweight eight was another victory for Newcastle, who finished almost ten seconds ahead of Oxford University and the University of Bristol. The men’s lightweight four was a far closer race, with Newcastle crossing in first just 0.28 seconds ahead of Nottingham.
The story on the women’s side was much the same with Newcastle crews mounting many podiums but claiming gold in only the women’s championship quad.
For Oxford Brookes it was a similar story of strong performances in a great number of events. The Brookes women took their lone Championship gold in the women’s lightweight quad and fought it out with the University of London and Newcastle University in the women’s eight where London captured gold, Brookes silver and Newcastle bronze.
"The women's squad at Brookes has gone from strength to strength over the past few years,” says Imogen Mackie, a member of Oxford Brookes’ gold medal lightweight women’s quad and silver medal women’s eight and lightweight women’s double. “Winning the Victor Ludorum shows the strength and depth we have in all disciplines, across our sweep, sculling, open-weight and lightweight crews.”
The men’s championship eight was another shining event for Oxford Brookes, whose top crew were racing at the Windemere Cup in the United States against the University of Washington. In the US Oxford Brookes finished just 0.45 seconds behind Washington, while at the BUCS regatta, the Oxford Brookes reserve eight successfully defended their team’s 2017 win. Brookes crossed the line with open water on silver medalists University of London, while Imperial College took bronze. Newcastle finished fourth in that race.
BUCS is the British qualifying event for the European University Rowing Championships, so many crews that finished in the top four in specific events will be setting their sights on international racing. For 2018, that rowing event will be part of the European University Games taking place in Coimbra, Portugal in July.