Press Release: Welsh Rowers in European Championships
Barely had they time to recover from rowing the Thames in the London Great River Race, than teams from three Welsh Celtic Rowing Clubs jetted off to Italy to take part in the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships.
Teams from Porthmadog, Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and Wiseman’s Bridge, with help from Llanion Warriors, represented Welsh coastal rowing at Reno on Lake Maggiore, Italy on the 11th and 12th October. The regatta was for 3 different classes of boats all with 4 rowers and a cox over a 750 meter sprint course on a knockout basis.
The rowers were met at the airport on the preceding Thursday by members of the local Reno Sports Club, whose generous hospitality and organisation was second to none for the whole weekend. Being the first time for any of the 48 Welsh rowers the Friday was spent getting to know the unfamiliar boats and receiving intensive coaching sessions from the Italians. By the end of the day rivalry between the teams was getting increasingly competitive, even extending to an impromptu rendition of “Sosban Fach” at the evening reception.
Racing started on the Saturday with the knockout stages to decide which teams progressed to the A, B or C finals, with a good showing by the Welsh crews all making either the A or B finals.
Competition from the strong, experienced but younger Italian crews saw the top positions being taken by the home crews. Porthmadog Men finished a highly respectable 4th in the ‘A’ final to be the first international team home, with both Wiseman’s Bridge and Ynys Môn very close on their stern, and barely a boat length separating the three. The Porthmadog Ladies managed to hold off a well-fancied Spanish crew from Alicante to also come in 4th overall and claim the top international spot.
Fantastic hospitality and organisation from the Ferase and Arolo clubs made for a memorable weekend of intense activity and enjoyment. Plans are already being made to attend the championships next year plus return visits by the Italians to Wales in the near future.
Celtic fixed-seat rowing teams from Wales holding an impromptu sing song by Lake Maggiore, Italy.
Madog MYC men’s team setting out on Lake Maggiore. They finished 4th overall and 1st overseas team.
Medal winning Men’s crews at the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships, including Madog MYC (kneeling, right)
Ynys Môn Men’s crew in the ‘A’ Finals of the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships.
The Wiseman’s Bridge (with Llanion Warriors) contingent at the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships.
Wiseman’s Bridge, Llanion, Madog MYC and Ynys Môn are four sea rowing clubs based around the coat of Wales, all affiliated to the Welsh Sea Rowing Association. There are a total of 29 clubs that race mainly Celtic longboats.
This was the first time for these four clubs to be represented at the Italian European Fixed Seat Rowing Championships, although other Welsh clubs have previously attended.
The boats used for the Championships vary considerably from those used in Wales, requiring the rowers to familiarise with the differing positions and techniques. The sprint races (over a distance of 750m) in the Championships were also a new concept to the rowers, who are more used to league races over 3 – 6 miles, and longer endurance races such as the London Great River Race. Most of the Welsh rowers were also in the Veterans or Super Veterans Categories, while the Italian teams were much younger. Given this background, all the Welsh teams accredited themselves extremely well.
The hospitality given by the Italians to the visiting teams must go on record as being absolutely first class, extending to the provision of accommodation and all meals, and transport in Italy. The four Welsh clubs cannot thank their hosts enough for their hospitality and comradeship, and for making it a weekend to remember.
Link to video taken by Si Collings of Wiseman’s Bridge during the Man’s A Final, posted on you tube: