10 medals for DARC at British Rowing Masters

Durham ARC enjoyed considerable success at the British Rowing Masters Championships, which took place on a 1km 6-lane course at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham over 2 days on June 13th/14th, the same weekend as Durham Regatta. It rained steadily all day on Saturday making for miserable outdoor conditions. Sunday was much drier but with the usual Holme Pierrepoint breeze.

The club came away with 6 gold and 4 silver medals and finished 3rd behind Wallingford and Ardingley Rowing Clubs in the Championship Victor Ludorum with 197 points.

On Saturday the first win went to Gill Prescott’s composite double. She and Loch Lomond’s Eva Rankine posted a very fast time of 4:04.91 to win the Women’s Masters E 2x by an eight second margin. Next was the Women’s C 4x-, another win for Gill Prescott, this time with Helen McMillan in a composite with Berwick RC’s Hilary Cairns and Alison Inglis in a time of 3:42.39.

Then came another medal for a double, this time DARCs Andy Jaggard and John Lund, who surged through from 3rd place to pick up the silver in G 2x with a time of 3:50.52. Andy Jaggard had qualified earlier for the F 1x final but decided to scratch his entry in order to take part in the 2x final. Soon after, John Appleby & Helen McMillan won Mixed E/F 4x- in a composite crew which again included Eva Rankine and also DARC alumnus Tom Bishop. The time of 3:39.82 was well ahead of the rest of the field. Tom represented GB at the 1976 Montreal Olympics in lightweight single sculls and latterly sculls out of Quintin Boat Club. This was an exciting race also involving 2 other DARC quads stroked by George Adair and John Lund but unfortunately without medal success. Saturday’s final victory came in the Women’s E 4x- and again involved Gill Prescott in a composite with Eva Rankine, this time with Joy Skipper from Upper Thames RC and Sarah Payne of Wycliffe College, who finished seven seconds ahead in a time of 3:52.11.

Several of the participants in Saturday’s races then returned to take part in Sunday events at Durham Regatta, with Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan winning the Women’s Masters D 2x and John Lyons securing victory with a Masters D 4x- crew.

On Sunday, with a lot of mud from the previous day’s rain, it was the turn of the sweep rowers to join the fun. There was early success in Women’s Masters A/B/C IM3 4x-. Gold was achieved by the crew of Clare Woodward, June Davison, Jacki Patrickson and Susan Jackson with a respectable time of 3:54.02.

A single crew swap allowed the crew to race in Women’s D IM3 4x-, with Carole McCarthy, June Davison, Clare Woodward and Susan Jackson finishing within 2 seconds of the winners achieving Silver in a time of 3:53.25. The Women’s D 8+ made it through to the final but was unable to achieve a medal. Clare Woodward also raced courageously in the singles event in difficult conditions but finished out of the medals.

Next to go was the F 4+ who were facing up to old enemies Guildford who had beaten them at Nottingham the previous year and also at Henley and looked to be the main opposition. Derby, out in lane 6, had also had success at this level before. A great race followed with less than a length separating the first 4 places, but it was gold for the DARC crew of Tim Baker, Martin Judson, David Walker and Paul Stanley, by half a length in a time of 3:40.61 from Derby who had eased past Guildford to take the silver. There was no time for collecting medals as cox Emma Hocking had to catch up with the Mixed E 8+ racing ten minutes after the F 4+. Andy Jaggard had taken the crew of Sarah Rutter, Gabrielle Moore, John Watkinson, John Appleby, John Lund, Paul Rutter, Helen Adair and Angela Lund up to the start where a cox swap was planned. Emma pedalled like mad on Angie Lund’s bike to get there but the starters were having none of it, so it was Andy who steered the crew to a creditable time of 3:32.62 to take a silver medal.

The remaining race with club interest was F 8+. For the uninitiated F represents an average age of 60-64. Quintin have dominated this event in recent years at Heads, National Vets & Henley Masters. A cracking race ensued with DARC taking an early lead to see it whittled away to a 1/3rd of a length deficit by 500 metres. A surge pulled Quintin back but the finish line approached too quickly. The club won silver just 1.8 seconds behind the winners. Third place crossed the line 12 seconds later. DARC Ages, crewed by John Hill, John Appleby, John Watkinson, Paul Rutter, John Walker, Martin Judson, Tim Baker and Paul Stanley, coxed by Emma Hocking, had covered the course in 3:14.50, a time which was the 6th fastest in all age groups in all events at the championships and would have won silver in C and E eights. To put this further in perspective, the next age band, G, was won in 3.29, a massive 15 seconds slower.

Pictured top – Women’s C 4x- and D 4x- crews L-R Jacki Patrickson, Carole McCarthy, June Davison, Andy Jaggard (coach), Clare Woodward, Susan Jackson

Results summary

  • Women’s E 2x Gold
  • Women’s C 4x- Gold
  • Open G 2x Silver
  • Mixed E/F 4x- Gold
  • Women’s E 4x- Gold
  • Women’s C IM3 4x- Gold
  • Women’s D IM3 4x- Silver
  • Open F 4+ Gold
  • Mixed E 8+ Silver
  • Open F 8+ Silver

Full results can be found here.

The haul of 6 golds and 4 silvers keeps the club well positioned in the rowing world. Congratulations to all who took part!