December 6, 2012, by Fraser

How did Nottingham do at the BUCS white water race

Last weekend saw the annual BUCS white water race up in North Yorkshire on the river Washburn. Tommy Mortberg, University of Nottingham Team Captain, gives his report of the highs and lows. 

Paddles at the ready!

The BUCS white water race is a kayaking competition where your objective is simply to paddle down the assigned stretch of river as fast as possible. A brave team of 14 set out from Nottingham on the Friday to battle both the rapids and the cold weather.

The members being a mix of the University’s canoe and canoe polo clubs, with skills ranging from the elite in canoe slalom and sprint to white water virgins – all of them proud to represent, the gold and green of our beloved University.

The race commenced on Saturday with the classic event, stretching over 2.5 kilometres with varying levels of white water, the main feature a big drop in the middle of the course. The team was on site bright and early after having spent the night camping in temperatures well below zero. Needless to say body heat and layers of clothing were essential to getting comfortable night’s sleep.

You could easily see how the conditions could have dampened our enthusiasm, but no, everyone showed great dedication and all of us did our runs with a big smile on our faces.  Excluding the few unlucky who capsized during their runs and had to swim down the river. Unfortunately one of our big hopes, Sophie Rooney, belonged to that category as she fell in at the big drop and was unable to roll up again. Charlotte Turner did better on her part and was able to win the BRONZE and our first medal for the weekend.

Sophie having swam in her individual run, teamed up with Charlotte and her sister Amelia in the women’s team event and they were able to claim the SILVER. Some nice restitution for Sophie and some welcome BUCS points for the University.

The men did not fare as well as the ladies

Individually I was our quickest competitor finishing in 6th place. In hindsight I am quite pleased with this position, as I was paddling a plastic kayak and only got beaten by people in carbon fibre boats. Although at the time I was quite disappointed. Later on I paired up with Duncan Hickman and Paul Henry for the team event. We were all pleased with our effort although a small mishap on the big drop. We ended up without a medal, in 6th place but still earned some well-deserved BUCS points.

After stuffing our faces followed the mandatory party, unfortunately this was held outdoors so it was off to a slow start due to the cold weather. However once the music started pumping so did our hearts and feet. As expected from such a high-calibre team we fulfilled our duties fast as the Baywatch theme came on, with no respect for the temperature. The party ended quite early (after all we were racing the next day) and we headed to our tents to get some much deserved sleep.

The next day…

The following day started with a small lay in (thank you event planners), before we once again headed to the bank of the river Washburn to compete in the sprint event. I myself seized the opportunity to do my run early on, and when I finished I was in the lead. Although not for long as one of the people that beat me yesterday set off only a few minutes after me and beat me with a staggering 0.7 seconds. In the end I couldn’t compete with the composite boats and found myself in 7th once everyone had finished their run. The other people from Nottingham did better than the day before and we had plenty of people climbing in the rankings from yesterday. A special mention must also go out to Paul Henry who braved the even colder climate than the day before, in doing his run in skins. He earned two extra man points for that feat.

Once again the women of our fine institution were the heroes of the day. Charlotte Turner who won the bronze yesterday put in a blistering run and won us another SILVER. She was only beaten by our own star and elite bursar Sophie Rooney who smashed all competition to claim the sought after GOLD medal.

These medals and our joint efforts on the river meant we could claim a very honourable 6th place in the University totals. Not bad considering the small size of the team compared to our competitors.

All in all we claimed a total of 45 BUCS points, and could return home with a smile on our face. Well at least the drivers could, the rest of the team decided to take the journey home to recharge their batteries. All in all, the event was incredibly fun with great people and a good atmosphere which made you almost forget the chilly conditions. Now it’s time to regroup and start thinking about the next big event, the BUCS slalom event in February, hopefully we can top this weekend’s performance there.

Find out more

You can like the canoe polo team on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Alternatively, you can follow the canoe club on Twitter.

Photo credits:  Main image by Fredrik Wahlen. Second image by Michael Gatfield.

Posted in Events