A truly stellar performance by the whole of DUBC was displayed this year at Women's Henley and Henley Royal Regatta. Read on for the highlights of the highs and lows Durham University Boat Club faced during their time down south, and the stamp they have claimed on the university rowing scene this year.
Just a week prior to Henley Royal, DUBC's women’s squad competed exclusively at Henley Women's Regatta. The event was a great opportunity for all universities to showcase the incredible ability of their women's squads, and for DUBC, this was no exception. The women had been showcasing their strength across the domestic scene within their academic year, such as at Metropolitan Regatta and BUCS early 2022, and now they had the opportunity to come up against the best.
DUBC had six boats entered in the Regatta, ranging in eights, fours and pairs. All boats had to qualify, and the Academic 8+, Championship 2-, Championship Lightweight 2- and Championship 4- all made it through this round with relative ease. Unfortunately the two Development 4+ did not manage to qualify, but the fact that they made it this far is a great achievement in itself and gains them valuable experience for the future.
On the first day of racing, DUBC's Academic Eight beat Skoll, Netherlands by a solid margin to progress to the semi-finals. The eight put in a confident and commanding row, taking a lead early in the race and maintaining all the way to the line. They would face Durham's old friends Newcastle the next day. Same day, the lightweight pair smashed London by a comfortable margin in the quarter-finals, showing themselves to be a true force to be reckoned with within the regatta. Unfortunately the Championship four did not manage to progress through to the semi-finals as they came up against Brown university, who ended up dominating much of the regatta with their performances. Still, a commendable performance against some stiff competition.
On semi-finals day, the Championship pair gave it a solid attempt, but were unfortunately beaten by their opposition in a tight race. The Academic eight beat Newcastle in a very tight race securing their spot in the final, which held huge significance for the club and the women. Unfortunately, the Lightweight pair did not manage to progress to the final despite showing some real class during their race.
On finals day, the Academic eight came up against some incredibly stiff competition, Brookes 'A'. They went out the blocks hard and raced the whole way down the track but were eventually beaten by the Brookes crew. Still, a huge achievement to make the finals and one the women should be extortionately proud of. Overall this was perhaps one of the most successful Henley Women's Regatta to date for DUBC, showcasing the depth and talent of our women's squad. We look forward to seeing the work they capitalise on next year.
DUBC took on the season’s most prestigious regatta, Henley Royal, with confidence and a point to prove. The club had been building through the year, displaying greater speed at every subsequent event. On the men’s side, DUBC had four Temple eights entered into the regatta; a feat that had not been achieved in the club’s history. The simple fact that DUBC were able to front four men’s eights to even row at qualifiers is an exceptional achievement in itself. With Durham ‘A’ already prequalified due to their stellar performances at previous events such as the Metropolitan Regatta, DUBC had three eights racing at the qualifiers the previous Friday. Whilst Durham ‘C’ and Durham ‘D’ put out great performances down the track, they unfortunately missed out on a qualification spot. However, Durham ‘B’ managed to grab one of the coveted spots in the Regatta in an incredible display of gutsy rowing.
Onto the women’s, DUBC had two Island eights entered. Having two eights entered into an event as competitive as the Island was an incredible achievement for the club, indicative of the sheer talent in the women’s squad, and something DUBC no doubt plan to build on next year. With Durham ‘A’ already prequalified as a result of their strong showing throughout the year, it was up to Durham ‘B’ to fight for one of the few spots in the event through the qualifiers. Unfortunately, they only just lost out, but put out a huge row in some testing conditions.
In a year of record breaking entries, the regatta commenced on Tuesday, where both Temple ‘A’ and Temple ‘B’ would have their first race. The Island ‘A’ would not race until the Thursday, having acquired a bye; a result of being one of the stronger crews of the event. Temple ‘B’ crew were exceptionally unlucky with the draw, being matched with the eventual winners, Brookes ‘A’, on the first day. They went out of the blocks showing no fear, holding Brookes past the island and racing all the way to the line, however were ultimately outclassed. Durham have not had a ‘B’ boat in the temple for over a decade, which again proves the breadth of the men’s squad. The Temple ‘A’ boat was the first race of the day racing Bristol, which did not prove to be a challenge for them. They won by a verdict of easily.
Wednesday saw Temple ‘A’ draw last year's winners, Nereus. A tough race from the start, but Durham set the pace early taking half a length within the first quarter of the race. They lengthened their lead to eventually win by two thirds of a length. An incredible achievement. Thursday saw Island eight compete for the first time, them too being unfortunate with the draw, matching with UL ‘A’, who had been dominating the scene all year. They put out a brave performance but were eventually beaten by two lengths despite “keeping UL honest the whole way down”. A class performance from the women’s squad.
Friday was crunch time for the Temple ‘A’ crew. If they were to be successful today, they would progress to the semi-finals, something that had not been achieved by Durham in 24 years. They once again front-loaded the race, taking two thirds of a length to Fawley and eventually winning by one length. Now all eyes turned to Saturday, where they would face the Huskies of Washington. Durham went off hard, taking a couple of seats early on. They were rowed through by Washington to half a length down during the middle section of the race but were not moved on further, and were just beaten by little more than half a length in the end.
A truly breath taking performance by the whole of the club was displayed this year at Women's Henley and Henley Royal Regatta, and everyone was aware of it. This is something the club only looks to build on next year as it resumes its position as one of the top contenders in the student rowing scene.