by Fleur Rollason
The Rhodes Rowing Club is hoping to claim a clean sweep after an exciting and dramatic Boatrace which took place from September 13–15. Both A crews won their events along with the women’s B crew. The men’s B crew is waiting for the result of the appeal in the final against Stellenbosch.
The heads race which takes place on the Thursday of Boatrace determines which crews will be placed in the first and second final, the third and fourth final and so on. Men race over six kilometres and women over four kilometres.It was a brilliant day for Rhodes as each crew in the club was the fastest crew in their divisions.This was despite the men’s B crew clashing with another crew in their heat. The men’s B race was exciting as the Rhodes crew overtook two other crews during the course of their race. While overtaking the University of Johannesburg crew, the two crews clashed. This slowed the two crews down and caused the Rhodes crew to finish a few split seconds ahead of Stellenbosch University, to make the first and second final. UJ was placed in the third and fourth final. They eventually beat the University of Pretoria (Tuks) by over a minute in the final. While the finals were a lot closer than last year, the Rhodes crews still won convincingly. In the A crew division, the Rhodes men came in five seconds before Tuks in a time of 18. 54.99, the women beat the University of the Witwatersrand team by 20 seconds. The Rhodes B women beat Wits by 25 seconds finishing in a time of 14.48.10.The men’s B final was the most exciting event of the day. The race was extremely close at the finish, with Rhodes finishing less than a split second ahead of Stellenbosch. There was slight confusion after the race, as Stellenbosch appealed. Jonathon Snelgar, the Rhodes men’s B crew captain, explained that due to the low tide and the race to get to the bend first (the crew who makes it to the bend first has the advantage of the inside lane), Stellenbosch had to move over to avoid clashing with Rhodes. The officials asked the two crews to rerow the race but because of various factors Rhodes decided not to. The Stellenbosch crew rerowed the race by themsleves. The appeal was then sent to Rowing South Africa and the club is still waiting for the result. The most improved awards went to Tuks men’s crew and the University of Cape Town women’s A crew. A new component was added to this year’s Boatrace. Novice crews participated by rowing one kilometre as well as taking part in the indoor ergo event. The indoor event consisted of four crew members each racing 500m on an ergo. The winners of both the rowing and ergo events was the University of Fort Hare A crew.