By Brad Jansen & Fleur Rollason
The South African Championships Regatta held in East London marked the end of the sprint season for the Rhodes Rowing Club.
The club got into the season early with a training camp starting on 4 January and the Johannesburg VLC Regatta on 26 January, starting off the year. Rowers raced a 700m sprint course, producing some exciting results.
The women’s A8 won their event and picked up a win in the coxless four. Unfortunately, the men’s crew was not able to fill a full eight due to injuries but still managed a fifth in the eights, ahead of Roodeplaat. Blake Friedman won the men’s C skulls race and the coxless B4 Rhodes claimed top spot.
Next was the Vaal Regatta which took place from 2 to 4 February. A 1.5km course in good rowing conditions ensured racing was close and competitive with the women’s crew dominating again in the coxless A4.
SASSU sprints were held at Vanderkloof Dam in the Free State during the Easter vacation. The women were the stars of the regatta, claiming 45 medals and four positions in the Blues Crew. Kate Munnik, Jaclyn Stephenson, Alex Van Besouw and Micheen Thornycroft made up the Blues coxless four. From the men’s section, the novice coxed D4 stole the glory by winning their first race as rowers.
According to Jono Handley, the chairperson of the club, the fact that they were able to fill a novice eight in both the women’s and men’s division was the highlight of the regatta.
Lastly, the South African Championships were held in East London last weekend. The men did not perform as well as they hoped; the A8 missed qualifying for the final race by a split second. They were just beaten by Stellenbosch. The men’s D8, D4+, D2+ and DX scull all came in first. The women’s crews were mostly placed second and third with the A coxless four winning once again. They will be rowing at Henley later this year. The A8+ came in second. The Rowing South African Academy won the Regatta overall.