DUBC impress on the international stage

Trinity put on a strong showing at the Head of the Charles Regatta

Last weekend, Dublin University Boat Club (DUBC) graced Boston’s Charles River for the second time in their history to take part in the Head of the Charles Regatta. Last time out, they were ranked as the weakest team in their category, Club Eights. Out of thirty-six crews, DUBC were to launch last, despite their position as Ireland’s foremost rowing team. Even with this disadvantage, the Irish crew of eight rowers and a cox managed to battle their way to 11th leaving them the top-placing international crew in the group. Could such an upset be repeated?

This year, starting at 11th out of 39 entries, the crew were given some theoretical breathing space. Getting a spot higher up the pecking order means less chance of being overtaken in a sport where overtakes cost vital seconds. Near perfect conditions surely added to the high spirits the crew: plenty of sunshine and no head-ward wind. If there had only been a backward wind, the three-mile course would have been more akin to a tough session on Lake Blessington, their main training ground.

Near perfect conditions surely added to the high spirits the crew: plenty of sunshine and no head-ward wind 

The day’s senior debuts were the Freshers; Luke Hayes Nally of 2018 Junior Championship fame; Ronan Brennan from Neptune Rowing Club;  and Jack Butler, also from Neptune, brother of David Butler (DUBC captain 2016). Most of the burgeoning American cohort also made their debut for the club: Eamon Glavin, Liam Junkermann, and Andrei Armanca. Seán Byrne sat in at six meaning only two of last year’s crew remained: stroke, Tadhg McKnight, and cox, Rowan Hamilton. However, Glavin’s former tenure as Duke University Rowing Captain and Armanca’s experience for rowing at the University of Virginia would have sated the crew’s nerves as they pushed off the slip shortly after midday to face the might of the US collegiate system. Indeed, Hamilton’s past experience of the treacherous course gave them some confidence as the competition is notorious for near-deadly collisions. 

A strong start meant they were quickly no more than a length away from Delaware for the first half of the race. Colour was added to the race as the black and white of DUBC successfully fought off the pink of Brown University for about a mile or two. DUBC then pounced on Delaware who quickly fell away at the prospect of battle as both crews approached the finish. DUBC achieved a time of 15:34.207, nine places clear of the next international team, the German Ruder-Club Favorite Hammonia, who must have felt short-changed by their time of 16:07.982. In the end, home advantage played a part as the local Harvard A won with a time of 14:36.116.

In a statement to Trinity News, Chief Coach Richard Ruggieri said: “It’s an honor to race internationally and spread the name of Trinity College Dublin. The crew raced hard and showed a great deal of maturity and determination. We look towards the future with great anticipation.”  This sentiment will bolster the team’s hopes as they march toward a tough winter with the Head of the Erne in Enniskillen the light at the end of the tunnel.