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Saturday 19th November saw Chester University play host to the annual UK National Indoor Rowing Championships. A large proportion of the Lancaster University novice squad competed for the honours alongside some of the most talented seniors to provide both motivation and a high quality example.
The event began with novice heats of 500 metre sprints to determine both competitor split times and current level of ability. From this, races of 1000 metres were categorised into finals ranging from group A (of highest ability) through to C.
The Lancaster novices were soon to fully appreciate the ability and dedication of the competing universities as incredible scores such as one minute sixteen seconds were being set over the 500 metres. The bar was most certainly being raised extremely high, and with this being the first race of any kind for the Lancaster novices, it came as no surprise that the majority ended up being placed in group C of the 1000 metres finals. This however was not due to lack of trying, but rather merely the need to acclimatise into the highly competitive environment of rowing tournaments.
The novices did claim some scalps however with Zach Robson beating off rival University competitors to gain a place in the group A 1000 metres finals along with some of the nation’s finest. The success didn’t stop at this qualification alone with Robson going on to achieve a fantastic split-time, pushing through the pain barrier and finishing a more than respectable eighth out of twenty fellow athletes.
The female novices were not to be outdone however with Lancaster’s Jessica Oliver gaining a bronze medal and podium finish in her group A 1000 metres final, much to the delight of the rest of the supportive crew.
Over in the senior races, Lancaster’s Jess Brough cruised to a first place finish in the lightweight female 2000 metres, taking an immediate lead from the start and not letting off the intensity for the duration of the race.
Similarly, the senior men’s 2000 final was equally as promising for the Lancaster University rowing team as both Jamie Edgecombe and Adam Moncrieff-Macmillan lined up alongside captain Alex King despite only being novices themselves. The trio all got off to incredible starts and remained alongside the head of the pack throughout the entirety of the race. Novice captain Alex King finished in seventh place achieving an all time personal best. However, special appraisal was to go to both Jamie and Adam who each only finished mere places behind the club captain in eighth and thirteenth place respectively.
The tournament came to a climax with a series of male and female relay races which saw the Lancaster Rowing club’s women again take to the podium to collect third places medals for their thoroughly deserved effort. They narrowly beat Keele University in a nail biting neck and neck race to receive the bronze.
The University can certainly take both pride and a huge amount of optimism away from the day’s racing and be quietly confident of success in the months to come.