From Basel to Cambridge: UCLBC

An eventful two weeks for the UCL Boat Club

basel Boat Club Cambrdige Head race london Novices sport ucl uclbc

As the purple and blue of UCL’s Senior Men and Women’s crews soared along the River Rhine, I was reminded of just how far away we were from London and our familiar Tideway. That weekend 22 members of UCLBC travelled to Basel, Switzerland, to compete in Basel Head, UCL’s first Head race of the season and the first International event for many of us.

Back in London, the purple and blue of our novice rowers amassed on Cambridge for their first ever Head race, which was to see some excellent results from 5 novice crews and set the tone for the rest of the season. Purple and blue domination was quite the theme of the weekend – from ear-splitting cheers in Cambridge to some excellent post-race dancing in Basel, and of course those superb results which saw UCL’s purple and blue tinged with gold.

The departure on the 15th of November of two UCL crews to Basel, Switzerland was one of great anticipation; Pre-race day saw spirits high at the novelty of rowing somewhere different and exciting. The combination of bitter cold air, bright sun and a 600 foot wide river meant it was hard to forget how far away we were from the River Thames.

Full of carbs, dressed in complete and matching kit and with race plans sorted, by 1pm the following day UCL’s two senior crews joined a further 59 crews from all over Europe (included some national crews!) to complete the 6.2km race. It was certainly a race not to be forgotten – banks and bridge laden with supporters and an interesting 180 degree turn at the half-way point separated this race from those we are used to.

Despite that, both crews came home with results to be proud of; the women’s crew finished a respectable 7th out of 9 crews in the Female Elite category, whilst the men came an impressive 11th out of 25 Male Elite crews. That night, we certainly showed the rest of Europe how to celebrate as UCL dominated the dance floor, making it a night not quite to remember!

Whilst we were celebrating on the dance floor in Basel, our Novices were doing us proud back in London, taking on the UCL Union en masse to celebrate their own superb successes. An impressive total of 40 UCL rowers, all of whom had only begun rowing this September, raced at Cambridge Head last weekend – that is 2 men’s crews and 3 women’s crews in 3 separate divisions – indeed, before the race had even begun UCL were undoubtedly dominating!

All 40 rowers present had trained hard for the opportunity to race at Cambridge Head, and that training and positive attitude to the day most certainly paid off… the three women’s crews discovered they had achieved 1st, 2nd and 5th places in their categories on the coach home, to excited screams and exultations from all!

Unfortunately for the novice men things hadn’t quite gone so well. Men’s Crew 1 showed promise in training, with hopes of placing highly or even winning their category. An unlucky crash at a difficult corner, however, meant their hopes for success were shattered, leading to them finishing in 9th place. That is not to take anything away from the second crew who raced superbly and finished in 5th place. In true UCLBC fashion, such a misfortune did not stop the men from celebrating accordingly alongside the women, and most certainly does not dash hopes for their future successes.