In their third tour of China this year, Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) sent a Men’s Eight and Women’s Quad to Xinjin, in the Sichuan Province in China.
Overall the crews had a successful tour with the Men’s Eight claiming Gold, the Women’s Quad claiming Silver along with three out of the top six males and females in the 500m erg contest.
The group departed Sydney on July 31 with a full day of travel, and once in China, the crews had three days of training. These days comprised of a row in the morning followed by a rowing forum, where each University presented a summary of what rowing at their university is like, and the lifelong benefits you get from doing the sport whilst studying. With one of these afternoons free the group ventured into Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan Province to experience what a larger city is like in China.
Saturday was race day. The format as uniquely seen in regattas in China comprised of two 1km races, with the cumulative time from both being the winner. The initial round of racing saw both SUBC crews pitted against the Chengdu Institute of Sport (The Sichuan Provincial Team), along with a number of other crews.
The Men came out on top winning by a length over the locals, well clear of the field. The Women’s crew had an impressive race right to the line with the locals taking the win by 2 seconds.
After this initial round of racing the six fastest crews were placed into the A-final, however the times were still important for the overall result. Both races went to plan, with the men making some changes to tactics, jumping out of the blocks a little quicker, making it easier to lead the field, they went on to win by over two lengths.
The women’s crew had a solid improvement, managing to turn the result around beating the Chengdu team, by the smallest of margins. With times being the determining factor, the Men’s Eight claimed Gold some ten seconds clear of the nearest crew, with the Women’s Quad claiming silver half a second behind the Chengdu Institute of Sport. An impressive side note was the consistency in the men’s eight producing a time of 2:51 in both races.
With the formalities of racing over the regatta moved onto the gala dinner, with a small showing of local talents prior to the night starting. As part of the gala dinner a number of crews were asked to perform a cultural activity from their home country. The SUBC crew lead by the vocals of Sarah Parsons, belted out a memorable rendition of ‘What About Me’ by Shannon Noll.
The following day saw crews back on the water, this time in a friendly match in dragon boats. Following on from this short race the crews were thrown on the rowing machine, due to the extreme heat, the race was shortened to a 500m sprint. With medals being presented to the top six times, SUBC had the greatest representation on the podium, with Olina Parrish, Michaela Franz and Jaimie Ford on the girl’s side winning medals, and Will O’Shannessey, Jordan Duff and Morgan Brooking on the men’s side claiming medals. With this being our last full day in China the organisers packed it with activities, following the erg we were driven to a local airfield where as part of the festival of rowing the organisers put on a music festival.
Following the music festival, the Sydney Uni crew were treated to a local delicacy of Hot Pot. This is traditionally a meal consumed over a number of hours, accompanied by rice wine. As we were starting at 10pm, we knew we were in for a long night. Mr Qinling Li the major sponsor for the event treated us to these delicacies, known for being one of the spiciest meals China has to offer. This dinner whilst being a great deal of fun was a good opportunity for the University to strengthen ties with the sponsors, in doing so securing future invites to such amazing regattas.
Overall the regatta was a great success, the crew got to experience a number of aspects of Chinese culture, whilst also coming away as the top performing university on the water and the ergs. The crews were:
Coached by Debbie Fox
Coxed by Dani Pettit
Coached by William Raven
International Universities who competed included Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Standord, Imperial College, MIT and Princeton.