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Rowing and Boat races 2012

Date Released: Thu, 18 October 2012 13:59 +0200

After months of training, early mornings on the water and so many hours in the gym, the time has come and gone for university rowing teams from around the country, including Rhodes, UJ, Wits, NMMU, UKZN, US and Tukkies, to show what they are made of.

The Mutual & Federal annual Universities Boat Race competition took place from the 13 th to the 15 th of September 2012 at the Kowie River in Port Alfred. This is by far the most looked forward to event on the participating universities calendars, it is a gruelling competition that, not only tests physical prowess but also mental capability.

The rowing teams of each university are split as follows: Men’s A and B teams and Woman’s A and B teams. These teams train hard during the year in order to prepare for Boat race. In an interview with one, Sky Roberts- a first year Rhodes university rower, I was able to attain just how much preparation goes into this event.

“The training schedule is very intense! On the training camps you will gym in the morning, core sessions in the afternoon and then row at night”. Says Sky, and that is only part of it. During university time the rowers are at the gym in the very early hours of the morning, come rain or shine, training. They gym three times a week and they are on the ergo, an indoor rowing machine, every afternoon. Their weekends consist of waking up for an early morning row on the dam just outside Grahamstown.

The selection for the teams is taken very seriously by both the coaches and the rowers. “Coaches will track your progress from about July until Boat Race (middle of September) and a constant eye will be kept on your performance”. If you slip up even slightly, it could cost you your place in the A team. The teams are selected after trials which take place in August, a month before Boat race. Selection is based on your times for the ergo machine and also on your ability out on the open water.

15th of September 2012. Boat race is here. All the physical preparation is done and the teams are ready to go. It’s the final race in each category and the atmosphere is mind blowing. There are Rhodes students in their overalls all over the place ready to show support for their rowers. The rowers themselves are waiting in breathless anticipation, focusing their minds on the task ahead, a task that they have been preparing for all year.

In a matter of moments it is all over. Rhodes’ men’s B team placed fourth, the men’s A placed fifth, woman’s A placed second and woman’s B placed first.  An outstanding result overall for the woman’s team, not so much for the men’s but in a sport like rowing there is always room for improvement.

Overall it was a successful weekend for everyone involved. Everything ran smoothly and on time without any unforeseen instances.  See you all again next year for Mutual & Federal Universities Boat Race 2013.  

By: Iain Kendrick