|The Blues and Grudge crews
The USSA-Rowing National Sprints Regatta is an annual event held at the beautiful Misverstand Dam, Western Cape. The regatta is hosted by the University of Cape Town, and racing is done over a sprinting distance of 1000m on a course laid with 6 lanes specifically for this competition. This year’s racing will be held between Friday 31st March and Saturday 1st April.
The USSA-Rowing National Sprints Regatta forms a pinnacle part in the South African rowing calendar as it is an introduction to university rowing for many athletes who are progressing from school or starting the sport that very same year (novices). The Regatta is also important for national rowing squad and sees a large number of future international athletes being identified and with a new Olympic cycle beginning this will be important for Rowing South Africa.
The Regatta attracts many athletes that have represented the country, with 2017 seeing students from the University of Pretoria (TUKS), University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Johannesburg (UJ), Rhodes University (RU) and University of Witwatersrand (WITS) returning from representing South Africa at the University, Under 23 and Senior World Championships. Furthermore, a number of current and past students also attended the 2016 Rio Olympics, with current TUKS student Lawrence Brittain winning silver in the men’s pair (M2-). Some other key names to look out for this year will be Nicole van Wyk (U23 World silver medallist), Jake Green (4th place at the Rio Olympics) as well as Kyle Schoonbee and Bradley Betts (4th place finalists at the U23 World Championships).
The premiere events at the Regatta are the men and women’s 1st coxed eights (8+), which are traditionally the last race on day of racing. The 8+ is the biggest and fastest boat that all athletes love to race and that all the clubs want to win. For the women’s 8+ the favourites have to be the reigning champions, UJ, as well as TUKS and RU University. TUKS and RU crews’ finished within 1.5 seconds of each other at the Buffalo Regatta, however, UJ has always come out strong at this time of the year. On the men’s side; the competition within men’s 8+ is a far more unknown, with TUKS, RU and the UCT having very small margins between them. The other events to keep an eye out for are the Sculls (1x), Pairs (2-), Double (2x) and Coxless Fours (4-).
At the end of the Regatta the selection of the prestigious Blues and Grudge crews, a selection that is widely considered as the pinnacle of this particular regatta and holds much reverence and prestige among the university rowing clubs and the rowing community, will take place. The Blues and Grudge crews are the top athletes, selected by internally experienced selectors, and race against each other as the last races of the Regatta. The two crews are made of two men’s eights and doubles, two women’s coxless fours and doubles.
Following the USSA-R National Sprints Regatta, USSA-Rowing looks forward to expanding its competition base with indoor rowing competitions and performance ladders, which students can take part in anywhere on an indoor rowing machine. Through this USSA-R helps to bring the sport to a far more diversified audience, introduce as many people to rowing as possible and assist with transformation within sport!
Posted by USSA Rowing on 2017-03-10.