If you’ve followed the Boat Race for long enough you’ll know that competitors are no strangers to a bit of rough water. The Championship Course is notoriously challenging when the wind and tide directions are at odds with one another, often whipping up waves that can swamp a boat. This has long prompted coaches to install mechanical pumps to evacuate the water as it pours in.
But some athletes like it rougher!
The 28th – 30th July 2023 saw Exmouth play host to both the British Rowing Offshore Championships and the British Rowing Beach Sprints Championships. These exciting formats of racing have gained much traction in recent years and there are increasingly credible whispers that this event could become an Olympic format within the near future.
The buzz has lured the likes of GB Rowing stalwarts Helen Glover and Charles Cousins into the mix over the past few seasons. The event has also proved irresistible to Ruth Siddorn (Oxford ’16) and Rosa Millard (Cambridge ’23) who have both dipped their toes into the salty water, achieving success in the process.
In the Offshore Championships 2023 Ruth Siddorn teamed up with Charles Cousins to race in the Mixed Double where they bested Sam Scrimgeour and Laura McKenzie to win Gold and the title. However in theSprint Championships the tables were turned with Sam and Laura pushing them into the Silver Medal position in a thrilling sprint for the buzzer.
As is often the case at any competitive event where Light and Dark Blues are in attendance, fate has a way of drawing the two together and the Beach Sprint Championship didn’t disappoint. In the Championship Women’s Single event Ruth and Rosa went head to head in the B final to fight over the Bronze Medal with Rosa coming out on top, continuing her fantastic Boat Race winning season.
Rosa had this to say after her experience, “Coastal rowing is exciting, fast-paced, and a bit soggy sometimes! The events are unlike anything I have seen before in rowing- lots of music, short snappy racing, and brutal knockout rounds that can be totally determined by one good wave. It’s great for both rowers and spectators, so I would definitely recommend getting involved if you get the opportunity!”
Congratulations to both Ruth and Rosa, we’re excited to see more of this great racing format over the coming years.
Photos: British Rowing