By Adriana Georgiades
Rhodes University Rowing started the year off with a bang, impressing at the prestigious Buffalo Regatta, held in East London on the Buffalo River this past weekend. It was the 129th time the tournament, in which both schools and universities compete, was held, and Rhodes competed against the likes of Tuks, UCT, UKZN, Stellenbosch, UJ and UKZN.
Rowers Nick Greeff and Bradley Betts were in the A pair that won gold.
“This is the first time we’ve won this event since 2005, so it’s a very huge achievement, its something we’ve been working on for a very long time,” said Greeff. The women’s B four, which consisted of women’s captain Ashton Lucey, Mieke Grobler, Maike Diekmann and Caitlin Little, also won, beating UJ by solid margin. According to Greeff, Charles O’Donoghue and Murray Roodt also put on a good show in the B-pair, and the men’s captain Thomas Lungu pushed hard in his race with rowing partner Nicholas Cox. The C-team also performed well.
“It something that hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Greeff. “It’s very promising for the future of Rhodes rowing.”
The weekend was an intensive one. While the final race is on the Saturday afternoon, rowing team warm up by competing in 500m sprints on the Friday night, as well as 2km sprints on Saturday morning which serves as trials for the respective final.
Greeff also competed in the Grand Challenge, which is the man’s A coxless four event. Rhodes finished third behind Tuks, who finished first and second. The Tuks team consisted of athletes who won the event in the London Olympics as well as athletes who are trying to finalise their spots for the upcoming Olympics in Rio.
Greeff believes this past weekend is a testament to the rise of Rhodes rowing. “In the past we have not done exceptionally well, this event is always a bit of a rocky start for us. So, to see us do and achieve so much in such a short space of time is actually very promising for the year to come.”
Despite having fewer athletes at this year’s one month training camp than last year, Greeff is optimistic about the year to come. “I don’t think I’ve seen such competitiveness within the club that I’ve seen this year,” he said. “People are pushing themselves to the limit, both physically and mentally, and it’s showing both on the water and off the water and I think there are big things to come for this club”
Greeff believes that this year Rhodes can finally compete for the top position in university rowing. “Tuks is scared of us right now. We made a big statement this past weekend, and goals for this year is simply to prove that Rhodes rowing is a superpower.“
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