SUBC Alumni claim Bronze in Shangyu, Prestigious Universities Rowing Regatta.
With what would have to be one of the most highly credentialed crews SUBC has fielded for a Chinese Regatta, with seven of the nine racing having represented Australia, including three Rio Olympians, the crew fought hard, with early speed, eventually claiming bronze.
With the crew being made up of athletes who are either retired or taking time out of the sport, this regatta was a perfect opportunity to maintain contact with both the club and the sport as a whole. The opportunity to race internationally without the pressure and seriousness of a world championships was the perfect setting for such a high calibre crew.
The tour started off slowly with a number of internal flight delays and cancellations once in China, this resulted in some athletes taking over 30 hours of transit to get to Shangyu. These setbacks resulted in no training rows, and the crew missing out on the cultural tour of a local high school. With the final crew members arriving at 8pm the night before the race, the crew were on the back foot in terms of setting up the boat and getting comfortable in the local equipment.
Race day came about quickly, the crew jumped out to an early lead in their heat, winning comfortably over Shanghai Jiao-Tong University. The semi saw SUBC line up against two local crews along with Australian rivals Melbourne University, with a bit of controversy as a local crew started with a slight advantage, both Sydney and Melbourne went out hard to chase them, Sydney ultimately drew well clear of Melbourne and put their bow ball in front of the locals. As the final stages of the race drew near, Jimei University of China put in a big move to take the lead and Sydney conserved energy with the two qualifiers for the final clearly set.
The final was a close race all the way, with the three front runner drawing clear of Imperial College who ended up fourth. Otago held the early lead, closely followed by Sydney then Jimei. As the race progressed Jimei moved into the lead with Sydney closing on Otago. The short 1000m finish line came too early, with Jimei (China) taking Gold, Otago (NZ) Silver, Sydney with Bronze and Imperial (UK) rounding out the A-Final.
Following on from racing was a Gala dinner with all crews in attendance celebrating what was an eventful day, the dinner was highly entertaining with many local performances captivating the audience. Highlights were a masked dancer, opera singing and a magic show.
The following day the international crews were treated to an archaeological visit at a site which until recently was unknown, a flood in 2014 cleared the top layer of soil unveiling a celadon collection thought to be 100’s of years old. After the country side tour, the crews were treated to lunch at a local university, with a presentation of water sports and university students performing dragon dances and rap music. This concluded the formal proceedings for the tour, with crews departing the next morning.
Thanks to the organising committee, the hospitality of the locals, the strong competition and the government of Shangyu for the opportunity to race internationally, particularly with a crew of alumni athletes. Congrats to Jimei University and Otago on taking Gold and Silver.