AllMarkOne with permission for Varsity

The historic city of Krefeld in Western Germany recently played host to the European Rowing Under 23 Championships in a regatta of dramatic racing. The solid British boat in the men’s eights final featured two Cambridge University Boat Club athletes: Brett Taylor (Queens’ College), who rowed for Cambridge in the victorious 2023 Men’s Blue Boat, and Gus John, an incoming trialist. Taylor helped set a sterling rhythm for the bow side from his position in the 7 seat, closely followed by John in the 6 seat.

Taking place over a 2000-metre straight stretch of Elfrather lake on Sunday 27 August, the race was a straight final, which means there were no heats or semi-finals required to vie for medal contention. However, a preliminary race between the five finalists ⁠–⁠ Estonia, Ukraine, Romania, Great Britain and Germany ⁠–⁠ revealed that Romania were going to be a tough team to beat, having reached the finish line a huge 2.86 seconds before the British boat in second place.


Mountain View

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Nevertheless, the mesmerising yellow Empacher of the British crew was undeterred when it came to the race and put in an impressive stint over the first 1000 metres, ensuring that their bow ball was the first to cross the halfway mark. But it was at this point that the Romanian crew put in a stellar push to break even, even managing to pass GB’s magnificent yellow machine before the three-quarter mark. The Romanians were enjoying a small but not insignificant lead of 0.44 seconds, but the Brits remained hot on their heels, responding to the leaders’ pushes until the decisive final 150 metres of the race when the Romanian crew finally pulled away from the field. The Romanians crossed the line first with a time of 05:37.92, which is beyond even Maggie M1’s wildest dreams. GB crossed the line for silver a mere half a length (1.81 seconds) behind Romania, and an admirable 0.85 seconds ahead of Ukraine who took bronze.

It was an impressive championship overall for British rowing, as all six GB crews reached their finals and an impressive range of metalwork was earned: gold for the women’s four, silver for the men’s eight and bronze for both the men’s four and women’s quad.

For more Cambridge rowing action, look out for the World Rowing Championships, starting 3 September, where CUBC alumni will be showing their rowing prowess in Belgrade, Serbia.