On Saturday 13 June, the annual university boat race between Queen’s and Trinity College, took place on the river Lagan. Now in its sixth year, the event continues to grow both in support, and media interest. In what is becoming somewhat of a boat race tradition, the weather for the occasion was exceptional. This provided excellent race conditions for all four face-offs, of senior and reserve, men and ladies’ crews.
Racing got underway at 13:45, with the ladies’ reserve race. Both crews battled along the 2112 metre course, with Trinity eventually taking the win by a margin of 2 lengths. Congratulations to Trinity on an excellent row, and also to Queen’s ladies who displayed great courage, after suffering untimely losses in the preceding weeks.
The men’s reserve race was next to take place. Queen’s men rowed strongly throughout, outdoing their Dublin counterparts, and earning them a margin of over three lengths by the finish line. The crew won in a time of 7:09.59, continuing their recent run of success, and retaining the men’s reserves plate with Queen’s for the second consecutive year.
The penultimate race, the ladies’ senior eights, proved the most dramatic and exciting race of the day. After Trinity’s excellent display at Irish Universities and Queen’s regattas, Queen’s ladies were all too aware that they had to raise their game. The crews both weaved their way along the course, each seizing full advantage of their favoured bends. Approaching the final turn at Governor’s Bridge, the race looked anyone’s for the taking, when a split second of indecision from the Trinity coxswain, saw both crews take the centre arch. This cost Trinity their final advantage, enabling Queen’s to take the win after a brief collision. The Queen’s ladies won in a time of 8:17.84, after a very gutsy performance.
The final race of day was a heated affair between the senior men. After a series of mind games and psyche-outs, the race got underway several minutes behind schedule. Queen’s men rowed aggressively from the start, grasping an early advantage. Rowing the Down station, Queen’s capitalized when the bend fell to their favour, after the Ormeau Bridge. Through Governor’s Bridge, Queen’s had gained a considerable margin entering the home straight, giving them the win in a time of 6:51.44. Trinity avoided a near crash on the final bend, but recollected to row out the finish to a warm reception.
This year proved the most successful year for Queen’s rowing, of the boat race’s short history. The presentation was met with speeches from QUB Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson, Vice President of DUBC, Mike Ryder, and the newly elected Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Naomi Long. Queen’s rowing would like to extend its thanks to the aforementioned, to Trinity College for their continued participation, and to those who worked hard to organise this years race; in particular David Russell. It is the hope of Queen’s rowing, that this annual event will continue to be a permanent fixture for many years to come.