BROOKES|Rowing put on a display not only on the International stage this weekend but also in the largest domestic race since the COVID-19 pandemic paused events and competition back in 2020. After 461 days since their last race in an VIII, Brookes fielded a strong contingent of athletes at The Metropolitan Regatta on the Dorney Lake Olympic course for a busy two days of racing.
On Saturday, the Brookes Women dominated the Time Trial to qualify two VIIIs in the A Final. With an incredible standard of racing by all, less than a second separated half of the field during the Championship W8+ final. After a strong 3rd 500m, the Brookes Women began to edge ahead to take a memorable win despite the best challenges by crews from Leander, Thames and University of London. Brookes B crew took a very respectable 6th place. Brookes C also had a crew go on to win the B Final in what is a promising crew of young talented athletes.
In smaller boats, Belle Stevens, Jen Hoffman and Charley Wedderburn took part in the W1x in a highly competitive field of racers. The W4x also made up the contingent of racing crews in the morning session.
The Brookes Men had a large entry of five VIIIs in the afternoon. In the Time Trial, Brookes took the top positions and took four crews into the A-Final. The Brookes A crew controlled the race throughout, being the fastest crew in every 500. They took the victory by over a length from Leander. Brookes took 3rd, 4th and 5th in another display of the strength and depth from the standout rowing programme in the UK.
The Sunday provided another opportunity to develop racing skills after a period of rowing “amnesty”. Brookes, entered in Academic VIIIs, had two crews progress into the A-Final. The Academic and Island Challenge Cup crews raced a number of crews also beginning to build towards HWR & HRR. A quick start from Leander and Thames saw them take a small lead, which remained throughout the race – the final verdict being just over a second – both crews produced strong performances to build upon for the rest of the season.
Several crews doubled up in the afternoon, producing two Championship 4-, an Academic 4+ and a 2x. After a strong display, the Women’s 4- claimed victory and a promising 4th place. The W2x of Belle Stevens and Beth Dutton came in a close 3rd place. The Academic 4+ came 5th, a great result. The Women’s 4x came 8thoverall after being in the running for a Top 3 position for much of the race.
Brookes qualified four Men’s VIIIs for the Championship 8+ Final again on the Sunday. With a strengthened Leander crew, and a highly competitive Thames crew, it led to an exhilarating race. With Brookes still in 3rd and 4th through 800m, some cool-headed coxing by Scott Cockle and Rory Cruickshank was required. The Brookes A crew rowed through Leander to win by nearly two seconds with the Brookes B half a length down on Leander to finish 3rd.
The Men’s Championship Coxed Fours event contained a number of crews aiming for the Prince Albert and Britannia Cup at Henley Royal Regatta. Brookes had the 3rd fastest time of the day in any Four during the Time Trial. They dominated their final and took the top spot. There was also a Championship Coxless Four involved in a tough battle which saw them finish 2nd behind Leander.
A very exciting introduction to racing again for the whole team. Thanks should go to the Metropolitan Regatta organisers for staging such an event and we now turn our attention to Marlow International Regatta at Dorney Lake and BUCs which are rapidly approaching in the weeks to come.
📸All courtesy of AllMarkOne