This weekend there was something for everybody. We had international racing at the European Rowing Championships in the Czeck republic. We had the NCAA Women’s National Championships in the US and the National Schools’ Championships in the UK.
All events took place from Friday to Saturday with the National Schools’ Regatta on the Olympic Course in Dorney Lake being the largest with 11-12 hours of racing for all three days, 5500 kids competing.
There was some amazing racing at the NCAA with a fabulous quote from Yasmin Farooq, Washington Women’s Coach.
“Outside of the Olympic finals, this is the most competitive racing on the planet at rowing at the NCAA’s,”
The Huskies won every event making them the first University to win all three Grand titles, Varsity 1st and 2nd VIII and the 1st IV.
The European Championships turned up some great racing. The medal table shows there may be a changing of the guard with Italy, Romania, and the Czech Republic at the top, with 19 countries winning medals. Italy won all their Gold medals in the Men’s categories and Romania won all theirs in the Women’s categories.
National Schools’ Regatta
For the first time ever in a British Rowing event there was a large screen for all the families to watch the racing. Also all the side by side racing was streamed live on YouTube. It was about 7 hours of coverage on both Saturday and Sunday. Following in the footsteps of Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta.
A coach from from one of the schools said the live streaming was a game changer. They went out and hired a generator and brought a TV down to the course the next day. It meant all the parents and the younger athletes were sitting together watching the top crews racing live in their tent.
Washington have been ranked 1st all season. And despite being beaten at their home invitational against the Bears of Cal Berkeley. They turned things around and displayed a dominant performance across the whole team. And a great impact by coach Yasmin Farooq who is in her 1st season there. Stanford finished 2nd (the club Farooq had been coaching the previous year) with Derek Byrnes and his team doing a great job. Stanford had not been in the top two since 2011 when they raced at Gold River in California.
Since 1997 Brown women have had the most wins with 7. Washington moved ahead of Cal this year with 4 wins, Cal are on 3. Brown also has the most 2nd place finishes with 10 in 21 year, closely followed by Cal on 9.
I wonder how many of the girls who won at National Schools’ Regatta will be rowing at these American Colleges next Season?
FISA European Championships
With the start of a new Olympic cycle there has been quite a bit of musical chairs with the coaches. It was great to see some change at the top of the medal table, a good reminder of how hard it is to win these events and that your previous performances count for nothing. In the men’s four little respect was shown to the British crew with 3 Olympic champions when they came 5th. The German Men’s VIII back on top for with a Gold Medal. A fantastic race for the Czech Women 2x winning on home water in Racice.
The Czechs and the German’s were the only countries to win Gold medals in both men and women’s’ events.
I just hope that now that the women’s four has been made an Olympic event, more countries will support it. If more crews do not enter then it challenges the notion that inclusion at the top level brings equity to the sport…. watch this space.
All in all a great weekend of racing!
It would be great next year if all three of these events could somehow work together to show the world what a great sport we have!!