Last week 20 rowers from Ardingly competed in the World Rowing Masters Regatta in Belgium.
This is an annual World Championships Regatta with competitors aged 27-94 – this year 3,500 rowers from 47 nations took part and Ardingly rowers were in more races than any other British Club.
Racing over the 4 days took place, in age categories in 5 year bands, in 7 boat types – sculling in Single, Double, or Quad Sculls, and rowing in Pair, Coxless Four, Coxed Four and Eights over 1,000 meters of the international course in Hazewinkel. Competition was tough and finishes tight – many ex-international and Olympic rowers have returned to the sport at Masters level and compete alongside folks who took up rowing in their 30s and 40s.
All of the Ardingly team entered in multiple events and age categories and some in composites with other clubs. After racing in the Women’s Eights, Jo Evans, who took up rowing in her 40s said, “I loved being on the lake from the beginning – but never imagined I would be racing against the best in the world within a few years’.
Ardingly Men have enjoyed previous World Masters success, but in our 20th anniversary year they were pleased to be joined by our Women’s squad. Both squads raced separately for 3 days and together in mixed gender boats on day 4. All crews raced well finishing in the top half of races in the majority of the 37 events entered. The Club came home with 5 GOLD medals in 4 events. Three of those were earned by Colin Barratt, in an eight-oared boat with Durham, a pair with Poplar B&D, and, most pleasingly for the Club, in a mixed double scull with Joanna Searle. Our final medal was from Alex Dombrowe taking victory in his single scull in a very exciting photo finish – his second photo-finish this month!
Joanna is the 2015-2016 season Women’s Captain, Alex is the Men’s Rep and Colin is the new Women’s Coach so they really did kick off the season by leading from the front. Almost as pleasing as the results was the comment from the Captain of Calpe Rowing Club in Gibraltar, remarking that Ardingly rowers ‘value hard competitive racing whilst maintaining a positive team ethic evident across the squad’.
We are now looking for support from local businesses so we can keep competing successfully at these national and international eventsDavid Reed
The success capped a year in which Ardingly were the second most successful GB Masters Club at the National Masters Championships in Nottingham where most members of the squad achieved at least one medal.
Reflecting on the success of the trip, Club Captain David Reed said, “We are now looking for support from local businesses so we can keep competing successfully at these national and international events. We are already planning for next year’s World Championships in Copenhagen and, closer to home, the big winter races in London and around the country.”
More details about the Club can be found at www.ardinglyrowingclub.co.uk
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