Members of SUBC representing Australian Universities recently competed in the Trans Tasman series against NZ Universities, winning the best of three competitions decisively. Both SUBC crews, being a Men?s 8 and a Lwt 4-, returned from New Zealand undefeated and the SUWRC Women's Eight taking 2 of their three races. The series kicked off in the small town of Ashburton, about an hour south of Christchurch. The event was to be held on the relatively new Lake Hood, a man made lake purpose built for water recreation and home to the Ashburton Rowing Club which is in the processes of rebuilding after a major fire. The general consensus from the Australians was that they should spend any new funds on a pontoon as the water was freezing. Interestingly, the locals are frighteningly good at Karaoke. We are not?
The racing commenced with the LWt 4?s, an exciting race for the spectators as they were unable to actually see the race due to heavy fog and therefore unable to see the near 5 length lead that the SUBC 4 took to win the race. Following that was the SUWRC 8 that enjoyed a win also. The last race was the men?s 8. The SUBC 8 got out to an early lead at a rate of around 35 which they held for the duration of the race. With little to no work done as a combination prior to leaving Australia, the Uni crew struggled for length and rhythm, but had too much horsepower on the day for the NZ crew to match.
From Ashburton it was off to Queenstown, and more freezing conditions. And again, no pontoon!
The racing here was to be held on the most picturesque course we encountered in New Zealand. It took some time to discover this as there was again thick fog. In training the men?s 8 found a more suitable rhythm and Toby Lister did a good job of keeping them off the bank in the fog whilst Tunna in the
LWT 4 took rowing fashion to dark and terrible places.
The Men?s 8?s took off first this time, competing on the world?s longest 2000 meter course. Despite NZ unis having a length lead from the starter SUBC took the race out well, consolidating on the training to row much better than the first race. From around 42 at the start to a mid race rate of mid 30?s, NZ uni?s attempt to push at the end did little to phase the SUBC crew, holding around a ? length lead at the end.
Again the women had a win and the SUBC lwt 4- stamped their authority on the series with a huge margin over the NZ lwt 4-.
After a good time in Queenstown it was off to the university city of Dunedin for the final race, over 5000 meters. It was the women?s turn to go first and unfortunately the SUWRC crew went down to the NZ women?s 8. The SUBC lwt 4 again took the honours from their now crestfallen NZ counterparts. Then it was the Men?s 8. With NZ putting even more emphasis on the longer race than the previous two, it was clearly going to be a good race. NZ snaked in to get the inside lane, away from the channel running against the direction of racing, but that was to be expected. From the word go it was clear that the NZ crew would not crumble like the previous races. Repeated efforts edged the SU crew in front and Toby Lister did a good job of pushing the NZ Cox around the river and toward the wall. At about 3500 meters gone the SU crew got in ahead and in front of the NZ crew and from there it was wrapped up with the NZ crew copping a fairly solid wash from the SU crew. With Pat Wilson rowing only the front ? of his slide due to a breakage SUBC brought up the rate and power to pull away to around 3 lengths of clear water over NZ.
In the last nights presentations the SUBC 8 was awarded their medals, as were the SUWRC 8. The SUBC Lightweight 4- was awarded the inaugural Sam Le Compte cup for Lightweight University competition between New Zealand and Australia.