The UCL Men’s Eight were featured heavily in the Henley press releases this year.
Earlier in the day, in another exciting race, a selected German crew suffered a similar fate against University College London. Dresden University had started strongly and maintained a narrow lead until the 3/4 mile, where sustained pressure from an unruffled UCL boat saw then forge into the lead and move away for a narrow and well-deserved win.
University College London’s crew has been making a splash in the Temple Challenge Cup over the first two days of this year’s Regatta. On Wednesday they knocked out a selected crew from Dresden and Thursday saw them progress further through the qualifiers, knocking out Cambridge University’s Goldie B.C. Some of UCL’s speed no doubt has come through the involvement of Leander’s Tom Wilkinson. The ex British international rower has coached at UCL over the last couple of years.
But in spite of a dominant performance against Goldie, President of UCL Boat Club and stroke in the men’s eight crew, Alex Steiger was keen to avoid any complacency. “We know that every opponent gets harder as we go along, so we’re just taking it one race at a time. We knew Dresden were going to be fast at the start so we knew we needed to put in a good second half and we knew we were fairly evenly matched with Goldie so we knew we had to break them early so it’s worked out for us well”.
Club Captain Edward Hackett also paid testament to the crew’s build up to the event, saying: “We’ve had two training camps on the course. We’ve got a few guys who have only been rowing for a couple of years, so we’ve spent as much time on the course as we can, so when we do race we know exactly where we are and exactly what we have to do”.
‘The Unicorns’ will be drawn against the might of St. Petersburg in the next round. But they will surely be in a confident frame of mind given the quality of their races so far.