The Brookes Women make history and the men go unbeaten in Championship Sweep categories in the first regatta of the season for the club.
On Day 1, the men raced in Championship and Intermediate Eights. On a Spring Saturday, Brookes had two crews make the A Final. With a holding headwind, the Brookes 1st VIII were initially led at the 500m by the University of London. However, Brookes completely killed the race off through the middle 1000m. With a strong display of rowing, Brookes stretched their lead continuously to the line to win by 10 seconds.
In an archetypal Brookes display of strength and depth – the Brookes 2nd VIII finished with a clear water margin over the rest of the field to claim a Bronze medal.
Several universities were missing from the Championship category opting to race Intermediate. Brookes were represented by the youngest cohort of athletes in recent years. The Brookes 3rd Eight came away with a deserved 2nd place just two seconds behind a strong crew from Bristol University.
On Day 2 of the regatta, the Brookes Women arrived to race in Champ and Intermediate Eights. After a hugely successful winter period of racing, there was a charged atmosphere before racing began. In the Time Trial, Brookes took the only spot straight to the final beating Cambridge by 4 seconds. The final was set to be a cracking race; Cambridge had six of the Blue Boat that raced earlier in April and the University of London who pushed Brookes close in 2021.
Brookes had a blistering start and inched out a lead over a classy field of athletes – at the first 500m, Brookes led by just over 3 seconds. Despite, several pushes from Cambridge and UL – in a great show of women’s rowing – Brookes held their lead to the line and claimed Championship Eight glory for the second year in a row.
In Intermediate Eights, Brookes made short work of reaching the A-Final. With another strong field of crews, the Brookes ‘A’ crew blasted out the start and held a commanding lead over the field. In a University Championship first, Brookes claimed Gold in Champ & Inter VIIIs with a margin of 14 seconds over 2nd place. The ‘B’ crew had a great first half of the final and put themselves in a great position to challenge in the race. They finished comfortably the Fastest 3rd Eight in the regatta.
Also on Sunday, the men returned in a range of coxed and coxless fours. The Championship crews won their time trials to reach their respective finals. In the final of Championship Coxed category there was a strong challenge by UL, who took the initial lead, with the crews almost level through the 500m marker. However, Brookes were able to take a length in the third 500m of the race and finished three seconds ahead – retaining the win from 2021.
Their coxless counterparts had a more straightforward task and dominated their final from the first stroke. Despite a race for medals taking place behind, they stretched to a commanding lead in the second half of the race, finishing 7 seconds clear of the field and claiming yet another Gold medal.
There was more racing action on Sunday at Wallingford Regatta held at Dorney Lake. In the Challenge 2x, Sayaka Chujo and Jen Hoffman claimed 2nd place. In the Challenge 4-, Brookes finished 3rd place.
The entire squad returned home for training on Monday to focus on the upcoming Ghent Regatta. A large team will head out to Belgium for two days of competitive racing in the first trip abroad for the boat club since HOCR in 2019.