At the recent National Rowing Championships, Dublin University Boat Club (DUBC) and Dublin University Ladies Boat Club (DULBC) combined forces to win four national titles for Trinity College, as well as a number of podium places.
Held over three days from July 14th-16th, abysmal weather conditions necessitated a complete reshuffling of the weekend’s racing, with rescheduled racing forced to begin at 06:30 on both Saturday and Sunday. Out of the races completed on Friday, however, DULBC rowed to a strong third place in the Women’s Senior 4-, which was the last race of the day before conditions necessitated cancellation of further racing.
On Saturday, DULBC kicked off the weekend’s successes with an outstanding win in the Women’s Novice 8+. The VIII had remained unchanged since the very first race of the season, bar Muirne Cocoman replacing Lily Hassett in the cox seat, and the eight athletes had enjoyed a stunningly successful season. Season highlights for Ashla Copeland, Julia Dunne, Jeanne Hurteloup, Amélie Ní Roibeáird, Eliza Barrett-Cotter, Emily Foy, Cleo Gallen, and Rose Ann Fitzgerald included wins in the Colours Boat Race vs. University College Dublin, a historic grudge match held along the lower Liffey between Trinity and UCD, and the University Championships. At the National Championships, DULBC claimed control of the race from the start, and led to the finish line, holding off a last-minute surge from the University of Galway to be crowned national champions. DULBC last saw a win in this category in only 2019, a significant testament to the strong Novice programme in place in DULBC and the culture which encourages these women, completely new to the sport, to grow and develop as athletes over the course of the season.
Later in the morning, DUBC rowed to an agonisingly close 2nd place in the Men’s Intermediate 8+, losing by a mere two seconds to a powerful University of Galway crew. DULBC then took a strong 3rd place in the Women’s Club 4+, a highly competitive category which fielded thirteen entries.
DULBC received Trinity’s next win with a thrilling victory in the Women’s Novice 4x+. Composed of Ashla Copeland, Julia Dunne, Eliza Barrett-Cotter and Amélie Ní Roibeáird, with Muirne Cocoman coxing, the Trinity crew saw themselves behind off the start to an accomplished Galway Boat Club crew. DULBC’s base pace, however, proved to be at a standard far beyond Galway’s, and the crew rowed through with 750 metres to go to eventually claim a comfortable eight-second victory. The confidence and maturity shown by these athletes, who had now each added a second Championship title to their day’s work, was profoundly impressive to witness and again spoke volumes to the success of DULBC’s Novice programme.
Sunday dawned with another early start, but some of the best conditions of the weekend meant a very lively day of racing was ahead across the National Rowing Centre. DUBC claimed an early podium place, finishing 3rd in the Men’s Intermediate 2-, however that was quickly outshone by an incredible performance from DULBC’s Grace Healy, who rowed to a commanding win in the Women’s Intermediate 1x. Coming into the final with a win in her heat, Healy’s chances looked promising, however her eventual six-second margin of victory over the second-placed athlete was overwhelmingly impressive. Only in her second year of university and still U23 eligible, a massive portion of her rowing career is yet ahead of her and it looks incredibly bright. Testament to this is the fact that, only a few short hours later, Healy came 2nd in the Women’s Senior 1x by 1.2 seconds to the Tokyo 2020 Olympian, Monika Dukarska.
DUBC claimed Trinity’s final title of the weekend in the early afternoon, with a nail-bitingly close triumph in the Men’s Club 8+. Commercial Rowing Club won Heat A in 06:02, while DUBC won Heat B in 06:05, however smoother conditions enabled DUBC to snatch the win in a very impressive 05:48.5, a 0.2 second victory over Commercial, who were coxed by DUBC alumnus Rowan Hamilton (2021/22). A relatively new crew, the DUBC VIII consisted of Ronán Brennan, Cormac Feely, Sam Walker, MacDara Allison, Jack Doyle, Anrijs Lorencs, Ben Reid and Chris Dehaene, with Isabel Doyle (Captain) in the cox seat. Feely, Allison, Reid, Dehaene, and Doyle had sat in the Senior VIII for the Colours Boat Race vs. UCD, which saw DUBC lose narrowly to UCD, while Brennan, Walker, and Lorencs had won the Colours Reserves Race for the Men’s Intermediate VIIIs.
Ronán Brennan and Chris Dehaene had been members of the 2021 Club 8+ which triumphed at the 2021 National Championships. Rowan Hamilton, mentioned above, had coxed that crew, making the Trinity win in 2023 quite the full-circle moment. Isabel Doyle had coxed the DUBC Novice 4x+, which also won in 2021, and two seasons later she emerged triumphant over Hamilton as a senior coxswain.
DUBC and DULBC’s alumni clubs, Lady Elizabeth Boat Club and Anna Liffey Boat Club, also brought home impressive wins for the Trinity encampment over the weekend. Lady Elizabeth’s Mark Quigley won the Men’s Club 1x with a dominant row, while Anna Liffey’s Hazel O’Neill and Gill Crowe won the Women’s Intermediate 2-. Anna Liffey’s victory saw a thrilling battle to the line against the University of Limerick, with the DULBC alumni pipping them on the line in a photo finish, with a decided margin of victory of 0.1 seconds.
The afternoon’s racing saw DUBC and DULBC finish the 2022/23 season with great dignity. DUBC’s Intermediate 4+ finished just out of the medals in a close fourth-place finish, where just four seconds separated those who finished first to fourth. DULBC, meanwhile, ended their season on a positive note when a composite Senior 8+ finished an upstanding fourth after a terrific row. Composed of DULBC’s Addy Telzrow, Jen Forde, Alicia O’Neill (Captain), María Mezquita García-Poggio, Grace Healy, and Juliet Byrne, and Anna Liffey BC’s Hazel O’Neill and Gill Crowe, the performance came somewhat out of the blue, but was a satisfactory note to end the Championships and the 2022/23 season on.
Overall, it was a charmingly successful Championships for all involved in Trinity Rowing, after last year saw both clubs yield only one victory total (DUBC’s Intermediate 4+). Moods will be positive as the 2023/24 season beckons, with preseason due to recommence in late August before the winter training block begins.