James Robson, Will New, Alex Haynes, William Stewart and Alex Turner (cox) beat Imperial College London for the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, breaking the event record by six seconds with a time of 6 minutes 48 seconds.
Newcastle University Boat Club (NUBC) rowers have now won this event three times since it began in 2004, making the University the most successful at this challenge.
Angelo Savarino, Head of Rowing at Newcastle University said: “I am extremely proud of the boys who have put a tremendous amount of effort into their training throughout the season.
“The crew deserved to win because they worked so hard and were very fast in the final. We knew Imperial College London were very fast too, and they led at halfway. However, although we were behind in the early stages, the crew stayed cool and won with an excellent rhythm and pace.
“I was confident we could win because our rowers were extremely motivated, they were very mature and have worked very hard all year round. We have pushed our boundaries all season, and even when the boys were very tired I knew they would be capable to win.
“Credit to the opposition from Imperial College London in the final as they too were faster than the previous record set in 2015 by three seconds.”
High-performance rowing programme
Colin Blackburn, Director of Sport at Newcastle University, commented “We are delighted that NUBC have won The Prince Albert Challenge Cup for a third time in the Angelo Savarino era. This crew have shown how talented they are with huge commitment, determination and belief in the high performance rowing programme at Newcastle, which is recognised and supported by GB Rowing. NUBC had five crews and a further two athletes in composite crews competing at the regatta showing the strength, depth and talent within NUBC and the quality of both the programme and the coaching team.”
Motivation to win
Three of the crew members came close to winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup last year but narrowly missed the win in the final. However, Alex Haynes, James Robson and Will New mounted a comeback in 2017 and cruised to gold.
Angelo said: “The three rowers who lost the final last year had a strong motivation to win this year. It’s not often that you see rowers who’ve lost in the final of the previous year come back and win because the standard is so high.
“This was the third win for Newcastle in the Prince Albert, and that makes us the most successful University in this event with the most victories. I would like to thank Hudson Boatworks for their support in this as in other occasions, for the help they provided to the Boat Club.
“It was a fantastic end of the domestic season that saw Newcastle winning two events at Women's Henley and one at Royal Henley, proving once again the strength of the programme and the capacity of our outstanding students.”
Newcastle University was also represented by alumnus James Rudkin who made the final in the Grand Challenge Cup with the GB Senior eights, racing as Leander and Newcastle. This is the first-ever representation for Newcastle University at this level at the Henley Royal Regatta in an open event. James and his crew lost by 3/4 of a length to the German National team crew who set up a new World Record just two weeks ago.
Now Newcastle students and alumni are gearing up for a busy summer of rowing, with Team GB in a number of their sights. Four rowers are in the selection process for the GB national team for the U23 World Rowing Championships at the end of July in Bulgaria and U23 European Championships in September in Poland.
Four alumni will be competing with the GB Senior Squad at the 3rd World Cup in Lucerne on 7-9 July. Gemma Hall will be in the women’s fours, Tim Clarke and Tom Ford will represent GB in the men’s pair, and James Rudkin has been named as part of the men’s eights. The same rowers are in the mix for the Senior World Championships next September in the USA.
Three crews will be representing Newcastle University at the European University Championships in Serbia between 13-16 July.
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