The Kowie River in Port Alfred played host to the annual RMB Boat Race on the 13th to 15th September. There was much hype around the event which is arguably the most important race for a university rower on the sporting calendar.
The race format requires a time trial on day one which splits the teams into the various finals in which they compete during the following two days in a traditional race format. USKAR had four teams in the water all of which were competing in their own division; Women’s A crew, Women’s B crew, Men’s A crew and finally the Men’s B crew.
The Women’s B crew, largely consisting of novices, posted a time of 13:41.90 on the 4km sprint during the time trial on day one. This placed them in the third and fourth final where the crew faced up against the University of Witwatersrand. The USKAR crew produced a powerful performance filled with synergy to claim the elusive third place.
The Woman’s A crew, a set of experienced rowers, posted their trial time of 14:47.57 on the 4km course in increasingly windy condition which caused great difficulty for all crew. Once again this time earned the crew a spot in the third and fourth final lining up against University of Johannesburg whose time was 5.24 seconds faster. The ladies came together to produce a dominant rowing display claiming another podium finish in third place.
The Men’s B crew, also filled with a strong number of novices, achieved a time of 19:13.21 on the 6km course placing the crew in third, fourth and fifth final against the University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch respectively. Although showcasing an inspiring effort USKAR failed to snatch the third place finish and had to settle for fourth.
The Men’s A crew, also having dealt with extreme conditions managed a time of 19:22.03 on the 6km stretch. This placed them in the first and second final against a University of Pretoria crew which consisted predominantly of national rowers. The quality of the Gauteng based crew shone through as they rowed to victory. However, the efforts of the USKAR crew will not be ignored as every rower offered all that they had.
words by Dylan Coetzee and Ryan Jarvis