Sport

Rowers miss out at prestigious Henley Regatta

York's senior men's squad narrowly missed out on qualifying for the finals of Henley Royal Regatta last Friday, a feat only achieved three times in the history of the university. (Thumbnail credit Photograph: The four at Doncaster recently. By Irene Sieberger )

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York's senior men's squad narrowly missed out on qualifying for the finals of Henley Royal Regatta last Friday, a feat only achieved three times in the history of the university. Every year, thousands of oarsmen and women fight it out against each other at Henley, which remains the most prestigious event in world rowing - one of the many highlights this year will be a showdown between Great Britain and Canada's Olympic men's eights. The chance for students to mix it with such talent causes understandable excitement.

The York crew of Dan Steele, Will Lawrence, Ben Coverdale and Jack Savage missed out by a margin of five seconds over 2.2 kilometres, coming home in a time of seven minutes 21 seconds. "We knew we would have to do something very special to get through", said UYBC old hand Savage, reflecting on the fact that the club entered a four with two junior internationals three years ago and still missed out.

Lawrence, making his final attempt to reach the finals in York colours, (soon to be controversially changed from the historic pale blue to black and yellow), said the crew had done well to fall short by only five seconds, having rowed through a crew from the University of London at one kilometre in.

"We rated 36 or 37 [strokes per minute] the whole way down and I was hanging out with 500 to go" said Dan Steele, a freshman from New Zealand, and former silver-medallist at the kiwi national championships, who drove the boat on stroke-by-stroke with a steady rhythm. He added afterwards: "I crossed the finish line knowing I had absolutely nothing left. The last thing you want is to look at the results and think that you could have given more".

Qualification for the finals at Henley has proved an elusive goal for the Rowing Club ever since its inception. York have made the cut only three times, most recently in 1999 and 2006. The last members of the 2006 crew graduated last year, but they retain legendary status among the rowing club.

"York is not a big university, nor does it invest extensively in sport," commented Boat Club President Hugh Pryce. "But this only makes the prospect of qualifying as rank outsiders that much more appealing."


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1 Comment

Dan Steele Posted on Tuesday 30 Jun 2009

Just thought Id add that the brilliant coxswain of that boat who steered us so magnificently down the Henley Course was next year's Boat Club President Ashley Haycock. Did an awesome job dodging the diabolical steering of the London Uni crew in front of us and keeping us motivated.
Good work Will, forgot one of the crew lol

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