Last weekend Brookes competed in the San Diego Crew Classic in the USA with both the men’s and women’s first VIIIs. This was undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges that Oxford Brookes would face in its history and a phenomenal opportunity to compete against some of the fastest crews in the United States on their home waters.
The men, competing in the Copley Cup Invitational, raced in a three-way dual on both days at the weekend between the Canadian National Team and California Berkley. On the Saturday, Brookes started second best to a powerful Californian crew who stretched their lead to ¾ length by halfway. Brookes clawing their way back as the finish line were unable to row down the Californians, losing out by half a length in a tight contest.
The Sunday, was a similar show with Brookes led by both the American IRA champions and the Canadian national VIII initially. However, after some powerful rowing, Brookes appeared to be the fastest moving crew toward the finish. In another fantastic contest, Brookes missed by 1.3 seconds, having rowed through the Canadian crew.
The women, competing in their first race across the pond in over a decade, raced against arguably the fastest crews in the USA. On the Saturday, in a stacked Heat, Brookes raced Texas, California, Washington, Notre Dame and the Canadian National Team. After a hugely powerful start, Brookes led the race for the first 90 seconds. Despite losing out to a hugely talented Texas crew, their power out the blocks proved a defining move. In the closing metres, Washington were the faster moving boat inching closer as the line approached. In a very tight finish, Brookes finished 3rd behind the Canadians beating UW by 0.2 seconds. This gave them a more beneficial lane for the Final on Sunday.
The Sunday, turned out to be a hugely fierce competition with Stamford blasting out the blocks to lead the field through the first half of the race. Brookes remained close to the leading crews whilst fighting hard directly next to both California and UW. In a show of tremendous rowing, Brookes were able to stretch out their lead and approaching the finish line broke clear water over Washington. Crossing the finish line, Brookes in 4th place (3rd in the Jessop Whittier Cup) had closed the time gap to Texas and Stamford and extended their margin over the rest of the field. Some exceptional results.
To watch the racing back follow the link below – OBUBC racing from 2.56:30:
Copley Cup Final
1. California – 5:46.776
2. Oxford Brookes – 5:48.456
3. Canada – 5:58.809
Jessop-Whittier Cup Invitational
1. Texas – 6:29.985
2. Stanford – 6:31.850
3. Canada – 6:34.694
4. Oxford Brookes – 6:38.244
5. Washington – 6:41.401
6. California – 6:43.506
7. USC – 6:50.728
Despite no silverware being taken home, Brookes leave the USA with a huge amount of experience especially after the head racing season ending less than two weeks ago.
Oxford Brookes University Boat Club would like to thank the support of the SDCC in helping arrange the event and many of the logistics involved in getting 20 athletes and two coaches out to San Diego. Huge thanks should also go to the University, Keith Kelly and his team at Brookes Sport, the Brookes Global Recruitment Team and many more who have helped fund and give support towards the trip.
Brookes now turn their attention fully towards GBRT final trials, BUCs and Wallingford Regatta.