The 2nd Xi’an Kunming Lake International Famous Universities Rowing Regatta
The University term over, Henley campaign finished, the 2017/18 season had one last event to round it off. Late on the 23rd of July 10 athletes flew out from Heathrow heading for China, 8 rowers, a cox, and a student team leader. Having met a couple of other travelling athletes the crew touched down in Beijing on Tuesday. From here they flew on to the destination, the city of Xi’an, to meet the event organisers and head to the accommodation for the week.
Wednesday and Thursday were spent on various activities to promote the event in Xi’an, including press conferences, an open forum and tours around a local school and university. All along side the other competing International Universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Nereus, Melbourne and Yale. Friday was the first chance to get on the water since arriving in China. Crews headed out early to Kunming lake, setting up in their tents on the lakeside before sorting the task of rigging boats and blades for the coming days. The afternoon was an opportunity to train on the course, getting used to the equipment and more importantly the conditions; heat and humidity not experienced on the usual UoNBC racing calendar.
Sunrise on Saturday greeted the first day of racing, and a buzz as the athletes across the universities were in more familiar territory. Rowing past in the opening ceremony, the M8+ would race down in the morning time trial, securing a time to put them in the A final the next day. After lunch the scratch 4- boated for their heat, into the festivities, warming up before a trial that gave them a place in the B final to race later that day. With a slow start in the final, the crew made the move early, pushing leaders Yale to the line, taking the win in a sprint finish and entertaining the noisy crowd. After another quick media interview, the groups headed back with a new energy ready to return for the final of the 8’s.
The temperatures climbed early on Sunday, and in front of a larger crowd than the preceding day, Nottingham lined up alongside Goethe University from Frankfurt, Harvard representatives, and the Chinese national squad racing as Shanghai University. A blur of a race from start to finish the crew emerged 3rd behind winners Shanghai, and a quality crew from Frankfurt. After an enjoyable medal ceremony the crews from the A final returned to the water for an Intercontinental Exhibition Match, mixing the Nottingham and Frankfurt crews for an unsurprisingly competitive race.
Thanks goes to the invitation and organisers of the event, it was an opportunity that will valued by all those that were involved.