The SUBC men’s eight off the back of a three-nil win in a series of races against the New Zealand Universities Eight in Brisbane, headed to China to compete in the International Universities Rowing Regatta (IURR). The crew consisted of Jacob Bicknell, Hamish Playfair, Campbell Watts, Tom Whitehead, Jack Cook, Andrew Judge, Jack Hanley and Gus Robinson, with cox William Raven, reserve David Bartholot and coaches Tom Sacre and Tom Minifie. On paper, the SUBC eight was a good mix of youth and experience, while a number of the other invited crews showed more pedigree than the young Sydney group.
The competition format was slightly modified from the original plan due to government restrictions on the use of the Huangpu River. This resulted in one day of 2km eights racing, followed by a 1 minute ergo-meter competition the next day. SUBC comfortably won the men’s eight heat, allowing them to proceed straight through to the final. Through the repechages Oxford, Cambridge, Wuhan and Hitotsubashi qualified to fill out the six-boat A final.
The A final saw Shanghai Jiao Tong University jump out to a blistering start that no crew was able to hunt down, Wuhan University also benefitted from a fast start, leaving the rest of the field chasing the two local crews. SUBC was one of the slowest off the blocks; however the middle thousand metres of the race showed Sydney Universities strong character, with the crew charging through the bulk of the field, rowing down both Oxford and Cambridge, and pushing for second place in a battle with Wuhan University. Unfortunately, the line came too early for the charge from Sydney University.
The final rankings were:
1. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
2. Wuhan University, China
3. Sydney University, Australia
4. Oxford University, UK
5. Hitotsubashi University, Japan
6. Cambridge University, UK
7. Chi Nan University, Taiwan
8. Yale University, USA
9. Tsinghua University, China
10. Peking University, China
11. Hong Kong University, Hong Kong
12. Seoul University, South Korea
The following day saw each crewmember complete a 1-minute erg in the main quad of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, with the crew covering the greatest distance over the 8x1minute competition declared the winner. SUBC was one of the most vocal crews in this competition, and won the support of all crowd members. Unfortunately the crew were not able to replicate their on water performance, being better equipped for endurance competition than sprints. This saw SUBC finish sixth in the erg challenge.
Following the race, the invited international crews were given a few days to explore the sights and culture of Shanghai, with the organising committee having planned a number of exciting events for the crews. These events included a sunset boat cruise on the Huangpu River, a visit to a traditional Chinese village, a trip to local markets as well as a number of trips to restaurants to experience the local cuisine. A great deal of thanks is owed to the Chinese Rowing Association and the organising committee of the IURR as the trip was fully funded by these organisations for international crews, as well as being a great experience for all involved. Thanks should also go to SUBC Club President Steve Newnham for attending the trip as team photographer and mascot.
Official IURR Video:
SUBC 1-Minute Erg Challenge:
SUBC Cultural Performance of Land Down Under by Jacob Bicknell: