A record breaking weekend at BUCs Regatta 2021

The Women’s squad claimed their first victory in Championship VIIIs for five years and the men’s squad were unbeaten and claimed BUCs Records across the sweep events in Nottingham this weekend.

On Day 1, the women raced in smaller boats. In dreary conditions, the Women claimed the Championship Coxless 4- Gold after a dramatic row-through in the closing stages of the race for the top spot with the crew from UL. After trailing much of the course, the crew of Harriet Ferguson, Taylor Caudle, Isy Hawes and Beth Dutton remained composed to take the lead in the last metres of the race. The Women’s Intermediate 4+ claimed a very respectable Bronze Medal and there was an amazing Intermediate Gold in the W2x for Charley Wedderburn and Jen Hoffman.

On Friday, the men arrived in Championship and Intermediate Eights. They have won both events every year since 2013 and in style the Brookes men maintained their unbeaten record. Two crews lined up in the Championship category in conditions which offered a favourable tailwind. After a powerful start both crews had clear water on the rest of the field by the halfway marker. Both crews finished inside the previous BUCs Record, with the 1st VIII finishing in an express time of 5:31.35. 

In one of the races of the weekend, two Brookes scullers lined up in the Championship 1x Final. Jamie Copus and Quentin Antognelli traded blows to each other and the rest of the field, packed full of talent. In another rapid time, less than a second separated the scullers as they rowed almost to a standstill with Jamie just nipping Quentin to 1st place. Kudos should go to both athletes who showed tremendous skill and sportsmanship after having crossed the line. This was the first ever Brookes win in Championship Single Sculls by a Brookes athlete won in a time of 6.58.

On the Saturday, the women returned split into Championship and two Intermediate Eights. After a rocketing start, the Championship VIII stretched out a lead over a strong crew from UL. Despite several strong challenges throughout the race, the Brookes crew maintained their unassailable lead into the finishing line to claim their first Championship VIIIs victory since 2016. In a true testament to the development of strength and depth within the Brookes Women’s squad, the Intermediate crews claimed deserved medals in 2nd and 3rdplace behind another strong crew from the University of London and other challenging crews from Newcastle. 

In another first for BROOKES|Rowing, Belle Stevens took a phenomenal Gold Medal in the Championship 1x. After a strong performance, earlier in the Time Trial, Belle sculled consistently and skilfully to claim a clear water victory over the rest of the field. A hugely deserving victory in her last BUCs performance for Brookes before graduating. 

The men’s squad returned in a flotilla of coxed and coxless fours. In the time trials, the crews claimed top positions to make the A-Final where they were greeted again by fast conditions for Holme Pierrepoint. Despite strong opposition from Newcastle and Cambridge, the Brookes coxless four finished well clear of the field. Their teammates in the Coxed event, flew out of the start and maintained a strong lead ahead of the other challengers. Brookes crossed the line in 1st and 2nd place, with the crew in first claiming another BUCS Record finishing in a time of 6:09.9. Other small boats were in action throughout the day. Quentin Antognelli doubled up with Dylan Mitchell to claim a respectable Bronze medal in the Champ 2x.

After such prolific performances from both squads, Brookes were fortunate to collect the Overall Victor Ludorum. This capped off a great weekend for the whole squad, it was great to see so many crews competing to a such a high standard throughout the weekend and brilliant to see some supporters for the first time this season! A big thanks to BUCs for putting on such a well organised event.

The students return to join the rest of the squad in Cholsey this week. With the Women in racing action again next weekend at Henley Women’s Regatta where they aim to defend their Academics Eights title and also look to mount a challenge toward Championship Eights.

📸Photos courtesy of AllMarkOne & BUCs