Well, where to begin. What an incredible weekend of racing for Swansea at the 2018 Welsh Boat Race, winning two out of the four contested races to retain the title we won for the first time last year.
The day kicked off with the coin tosses to dictate which side of the river each squad got to race on. At this point in the day, the luck wasn't on our side with Swansea winning just one of the tosses. Never the less the novice women boated with every faith in themselves to complete what they set out to do. The Cardiff crew had a fast start, taking a length out of our crew early on, and despite all of our girls' best efforts, they couldn't move back on Cardiff. A fair and well-fought race which the girls can be proud of as they know they did all they could on the day. We look forward to seeing them join the senior squad next year.
After a short break, it was time for the next race of the day to boat. After a strong few weeks of training leading up to varsity, the Novice men were keen to perform to their full potential and pull off the victory they all desperately wanted. The boys started quickly and managed to gain a length before the first corner. Around the corner, the Cardiff crew, unfortunately, took the bend too tight and beached themselves on the shallow banks. This allowed our boys to storm ahead and eventually win the race by verdict 'easily'.
The end of the novices races brought the start of the lunch break, which included the 300m Alumni splash and dash. This annual alumni sprint has been running for a few years now and is a great opportunity for past members to stay involved with the club, and settle any old grudges that may have been left unresolved.
After the lunch break, it was the senior women's turn. The girls were heading into this race as the underdogs as Cardiff are yet to lose a match in this series. Once the crews were straight and the umpire had started the race the girls could set out trying to make Welsh Boat Race history. Our crew had a blistering start, taking two lengths out of Cardiff before the first bend. Unfortunately, however, it just wasn't enough as the Cardiff crew began to chip away at the lead once the corners turned in their favour, and managed to row through the girls to claim a final win of 3 lengths. Credit where credit's due - it was a great race.
This left the scores for the day at this point 2-1 to Cardiff, meaning that the final race, the Senior Men, would be the decider. The boys were heading into this race as favourites, down to the strong performances against their opposition throughout the year - and they didn't let us down. They had a strong and sharp start, moving off Cardiff before the first bend, and they continued to do so after. They raced right till the end, eventually winning by verdict easily. An impressive feat which now makes the Senior Men five years unbeaten and leaves the final scores for the day 2-2, meaning that we retain the title we won last year! An incredible achievement given that we won for the first time ever last year, and is truly a testament to the time and effort our athletes and Squad Manager, Steven House, have put into the club over the last year.
We'd like to say thank you to everyone that came to help and watch and credit for all these amazing pictures are owed to Angus Thomas of WEROW, be sure to check out his work here. The next race is BUCS where we look to cement our wins and redeem our losses.
Videos of all the races will be up on our YouTube channel soon.