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Current 'Ripple' (student union paper) articles will appear here

 

24 hr Sponsored Row
8-9 May

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, OK? It still seemed like quite a good idea as the first crew went out at 7.27 on Saturday evening, and it was still quite amusing as people poured out of pubs and shouted encouragement. Off the water, the team of twenty or so rowers who, between us, endeavoured to keep a boat paddling up and down the River Soar for a night and a day, were in high spirits. As the night clubs emptied around 2-3am, a pang of a "what the hell are we doing" feeling spread throughout the team. At 3.30 morale was boosted when De Montfort students handed out biscuits and bottles of beer to a flagging four, and by 5am, it wasn't 'a good laugh' anymore, because everyone was bloody knackered and we still had over 14 hours left. I managed to get a bit of sleep for nearly an hour, until the fire alarm was set of by someone trying to cook bacon. As I poured coffee down my gullet on Sunday morning, members of Leicester City Rowing Club started turning up for their Sunday training, and stood around and pointed and laughed at us encouragingly. Twenty hours into the row lifeless bodies littered the clubhouse, and for a terrifying moment it looked as though no one could row again, all our effort in vain. An exhausted club looked to their newly elected Captain for encouragment, as he took to the water in a training scull. 4.30 rolled around, and a crew of four were roused, boated, and paddled on into the final stretch. Finally it was 7.27 once again, and we lifted our boat out of the water to applause from Leicester City. The total money raised has not yet been counted, but it is though to be in the order of 500, with a portion of that going to the Lord Mayor's Scanner Appeal.

BUSA Regatta
1 May 1999 Holme Pierrepont - 2km, six lanes

"A tinpot regatta", BUSA has been described as, by certain members of the rowing community. A bureaucratic load of arse it certainly seemed to be at the captains meeting the night before the race - as BUSA went against the format of every other rowing event in the country. And so it was that in the championship eights competition our first VIII found ourselves racing against Oxford Brookes world championship oarsmen, and Imperial College's Henley victors. A very good crew we may well be, but sadly we didnt make it to the next round in this particular event day.Unfortunately, neither did our championship womens four. As the times are all recorded, Leicester proved to be about the eighth fasted crew of the day. By the middle of the afternoon the womens novice four were through to the finals, the mens championship four were in a repechage, and the mens novice four had comfortably made it into the semis. The championship four boys, though, had all just rowed in the eights competition. They were visibly tired, and just missed out on landing a place in the finals. The novice women looked fast as they charged down the course, but narrowly missed out on a medal position, and the Novice lads, Matt Cracknell, Stuart Terry, Steve Tait and Tim Grossey (cox - Phelan Hill) surprised everybody by idling into the finals. A tense wait then as what was potentially our most successful crew of the day prepared themselves to give all they had left. De Montfort even joined us in support as they paddled up to the start line. Eventually, the comentator announced that they were off. Exeter were first into veiw around 750m from the finish, followed closely by Staffordshire and, lo and behold, Leicester. With 500m left, a medal was in the bag for sure, but Staffs took the silver by two feet. Leicester, for the first time ever, came home from BUSA with medals.

 

HEAD OF THE RIVER RACE
MORTLAKE - PUTNEY
27/3/99

"Hah" Scoffed the Bath University 1st VIII a week before the race, "Leicester don't stand a chance of coming anywhere close to us on
Saturday". Not a statement that would be easily forgotten. As we boated from Mortlake and Anglian boathouse, we could not have asked for better conditions - a sunny day, and the tideway was like a millpond. We were confident we could reach our target of finishing in the top 150, despite having the disadvantage of starting 344th The Head of the River Race is one of the biggest events of the rowing calendar, with 420 'eights' crews in a 4 1/2 mile processional race (The Boat Race course backwards). Crews range from absolute novices, to Olympic gold medallists. If the months of training didn't pay off now, they never would
Having waited over two hours to be called to the start, we moved off hard through Chiswick bridge and hit a rating of 38 strokes/min. As we powered away from Mortlake, our rhythm was strong and we settled onto a solid 34. Barnes bridge arrived in just over 3 mins, quicker than we had planned, and we were ready to overtake our first crew. The aggressive coxing of Phelan Hill didnt let us lighten off for a single stroke, as he resolutely kept the boat in the stream. After about eight minutes we charged past Chiswick Eyot, and the Leicester Uni reserves raced along the bank on bikes running over innocent members of the public and shouting encouragement. We overtook City of Hamburg, and began to bear down on Sheffield. A fight for the stream ensued as Sheffield tried to overtake one crew, and we tried to overtake Sheffield. Marshalls screamed for slower crews to move over, but in the end the greatest crew pulled away and left the other two standing - Leicester Uni had now overtaken four rival crews, and we were rapidly approaching Hammersmith Bridge. It is difficult for me to accurately describe the final stretch, as I can't remember much after Hammersmith, I was only really aware of the need to give every bit of energy I had left. Apparently, we had overtaken five crews by the end. When we finally stopped moving my muscles felt like they were being ripped of my bones, but I knew that everyone in that crew had given 100% effort to every stroke without exception.

I nearly shed a tear when we came off the water - the reserves and supporters had cold beers waiting with our names on. We had undoubtedly had a good race, and almost certainly finished in the top 150, possibly in the 120. Eventually, after an hour or two sunbathing, a cheer went up as the results arrived. We had come 98th, better than we ever hoped for, beating Leicester City, De Montfort, and most other rival clubs. Oh, and how did Bath do? 177th.

Bedford Fours and Eights Head 14/2/99 Ben Collins

Two minibuses full of increasingly formidable Leicester University rowers pulled into Bedford Rowing club on Valentines Day morning, and with military efficiency had rigged the boats in no time. As the University of Hertfordshire looked on through a haze of cigarette smoke, slightly bemused, our first crews began to warm up eagerly.

Leicester have been working hard of late to increase our profile on the elitist and highly competitive rowing circuit. Excellent results at York and Wallingford recently, and the fact that we had ten crews entered at Bedford, have all contributed to the weight the club carries at races.

Our first non-senior squad crew to race this year saw Anna Grey and Alex Hempsey make their ULBC debut in the womens novice coxed fours, and a return to racing for Sally Holloway and Ali Furness. They completed the 2000m course in 8m57 to finish a respectable fourth. The other womens novice coxed four finished in 8m42 and were placed third.

Mens coxed fours rowed at senior 1, senior 3 and novice levels. The senior 3 (lightweight) four sat at 34-35 strokes/min throughout the course compared to the far heavier senior 1 crew who opted for power rather than high rating. Both crews finished in 7m13. Congratulations go to Steve Tait, Alun Brown, Stuart Terry and Matt Bloomfield who beat eleven crews, including University College London, and De Montfort, to win novice 4+.

The three mens eights raced at S1, S2 and S4, and although the lads rowed strongly through all three races, conditions conspired to keep us from the top spot.

It was a hard but satisfying days racing all round, and we even had a handful of medals to show for it. Two handfuls would have been nice, but we now turn our attention to the challenge of 3 1/2 miles of Head of The Trent on the 28th.

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