Posted: July 13th 2013

Rowers from University Rowing Aberdeen, a partnership between Aberdeen University, Robert Gordon University and Scottish Rowing took part in the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta last week in glorious sunshine and in front of huge crowds.

Iona Riley and Lewis McCue from Robert Gordon University and Gary Wilson made the 530-mile trip south to compete in crews comprised of British rowers looking to make the Great Britain Under-23 rowing squad this summer. McCue and Wilson raced in the Ladies Challenge Plate, which despite the name is for male crews just below a senior international level and Riley raced in the Rememham Challenge Cup, an event for international-standard women's crews.

Riley, racing in the four seat faced Exeter University in the first race, winning eventually by 3 1/2 boat lengths; the next day they faced Molesey Boat Club and won by 5 lengths before racing the senior Great Britain eight in the final. Despite a strong start, the power and experience of the senior GB crew was too much for their younger rivals and they lost by a margin that was classified as 'easily' by the finish judge.

Aberdeen University student, Catriona Bain, was also racing in the regatta in a composite crew from Newcastle University and A.S.R. Nerus from Holland.. They were drawn against the Great Britain senior women's eight in their first race and despite a strong performance, lost by 1 1/4 lengths.

McCue and Wilson, in the stroke and bow seats respectively of their eight faced Northeastern University 'B' of the USA in their first race. After a good start the British crew couldn't shake off their rivals and this led to a close race all the way down the track, where the lead didn't get to more than half a boat length, around 30-feet, before a final push stretched the lead to 3/4 of a length to secure progression to the semi-final the following day where they faced Northeastern University 'A'. This proved a much tougher test as the experience and power of this Varsity crew proved too much for the British crew and at the end the Americans won by a comfortable 3 1/2 boat lengths.

It was a great weekend for Scottish rowing, with 7 Scots recording wins including Alan Sinclair and Colin Williamson, both alumni of Aberdeen University who won the Stewards Challenge Cup and Ladies Challenge Plate respectively.

Michael Hughes of University Rowing Aberdeen said "it was fantastic to see Aberdeen represented in these prestigious events at the regatta", "although we couldn't come away with a win it sets a standard to aspire to and we'll certainly be back next year with hopefully a larger group of Aberdeen-based rowers".

Next for Riley, McCue and Wilson is a week of training and testing before final crew announcements are made for the World U23 Rowing Championships.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest news, follow the University Rowing Aberdeen Twitter account: @rowabz.