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Inverness RC Fours & Small Boats Head

For our second head race of the season, DUBC travelled up north to one of our favourite racing locations – the Caledonian Canal for Inverness Rowing Club’s 4’s and small boats head! Arriving on the Friday night our rowers enjoyed a comfortable kip (special thanks to Hannah, Holly and Alistair’s parents) before the busy weekend of racing. Saturday saw 10 different crews take to the water across the 2 divisions so after getting the trailer of boats parked and the buses unloaded it was all hands-on deck! In the first division our Novice 4x+ earned a respectable 3rd place with a time of 15:11, narrowly beating our friendly rivals Strathclyde Uni BC. In the Novice 1x category the club was represented by both Harry and Steffan who, against a stacked category of 16 competitors, placed 8th and 11th respectively. For the women’s races in the morning, Rosie and Amelia pushed hard in the Women’s Novice 2x, completing the short course of 3500m to come 6th overall. Our other girls boat took to the start line of the long course in the Women’s R2 4x+ and surprised everyone in bagging 1st place! Despite only having had one session in the quad as opposed to their usual 4+, the crew of Eleanor B, Fiona, Katie and Hannah proved that their teamwork is unbeatable! After a short break of tea, biscuits and plenty of warm food thanks to the tea tent, all hands were back on for the second division of the day. The men’s squad had three boats take to the water; in the Novice 4+ category our fresher men competed across two boats and for most it was their first experience racing! The first of the two, stroked by Alistair Bonsall, a senior who helped make up the crew numbers last minute, placed 4th with a time of 15.25 and the second, stroked by Peter Geary, placed 8th with a time of 18:15. Making up the last of the men’s crews of the day was Aaron and Marcus in the Novice 2x! Despite predominantly sweeping for the club in competitions, they placed 5th with an impressive time of 17:12 for their first head race in a double. Rounding up the day came the Women’s Novice 1x which saw Fiona Lapp take to the water, confident after her first ever win in the single at Aberdeen a few weeks prior but very aware of the stacked category. Rosie Handley, a new rower to our club coming from Herriot Watt Uni BC, had right to be confident too after placing second at Scot Champs in the lightweight single in June. After the last of the boats were taken off the water and everything packed away for the following day, the results came and a very happy Fiona celebrated in placing first out of 13 with a time of 16:57! Rosie was also chuffed with her time, placing 5th with 17:42. After a big fill for dinner thanks to Hannah, Holly and Alistair’s parents, the team returned to the canal on Sunday fuelled for another big day. The men’s squad had the R2 2- and Open 4x boat in time for the first division starting. Both crews were looking to improve upon their previous races at Aberdeen and focused their efforts during the racing on moving well together in the boats, despite having limited opportunities to train together. For the women’s squad, the same four of the previous day swapped from the sculling blades to the sweep blades for the R2 4+ hoping to gain the same result to their earlier win. Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite make a break on the leading crew, ultimately finishing 3rd with a stellar time still of 19:02. The second women’s crew for the division was Jenna and Rosie H in the R2 2x who powered down the long course after just one session in training together, to cross the finish 7th. The final division of the weekend saw the last 4 boats compete on the frosty November afternoon. Down the short course came the two women’s novice 4+’s, the senior boat comprising of Dani, Eleanor P, Chloe and Fiona, placed second place with an impressive time of 17:52 – a fantastic achievement for this crew’s first race together! The second of our boats in the category was our fresher women’s first experience racing. Despite some technical difficulties off the start the girls remained calm, focused on finishing the race strong and came off the water all smiles from the experience. For one of the girls in the boat, Sophie Cierans, she had an extra reason to smile as we celebrated her birthday with a cake and song around the trailer! To then round up the day, our last two boats powered down the long course. The women’s open 4x of Rosie B, Amelia, Rosie H and Jenna finished 3rd overall, a well-earned placing against a very competitive category. Finishing it up for the men’s squad was the R2 4+, who pushed through a challenging second half of the course, made even more pressured with the cox box giving out, to finish 7th out of 12. Once the last of the boats had been derigged and safely stowed away on the trailer it was straight back onto the road to head home – all in all, a very enjoyable weekend on one of the best racing locations in Scotland, thanks to Inverness RC for the well organised weekend!


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