The Settlers Regatta last Saturday was once again relocated to the Kowie River this year due to the drought affecting the Settlers Dam in Makhanda (Grahamstown).
Many locals were surprised by the activity on the river early in the morning, as single sculls, pairs, quads and octuples raced from just before Putt Bridge to just past the Nico Malan Bridge.
All the day’s events ran over 450m in a knockout racing format which meant for a large number of races in the day for many rowers, and some very close racing between competitors from Eastern Cape schools and universities.
Teams came from St Andrew’s College, Grey High School, Selborne College, Clarendon Girls’ High School, Rhodes University and the Nemato Rowing Club.
St Andrew’s College reported that their U14 age group got a first taste of competition very early in their rowing careers, racing in quads and octuples. They were undoubtedly left wanting more now that they have seen the standard set by their rivals and will have another chance to race this coming weekend at the Grey regatta.
The St Andrew’s U15 age group had a very successful day, coming away with a close win over Selborne College in the octuple, and very narrow defeats in the finals of the quads and doubles events that will doubtless provide motivation for the training ahead in the coming weeks.
The St Andrew’s opens and U16 age groups also came in with a strong set of results.
Jason Thomas was the winner of the Beetle Shield in the single scull. Liam Little and Ben Kroon came out top in the Buffalo Shield pairs event in an all St Andrew’s final. Wins for St Andrew’s also came in the Warthog Shield doubles event and Men’s B Coxed Fours.
The two open eights closed out the other schools opposition on the day to make for a three-boat final in the men’s eights event against Rhodes, the student crew emerging as narrow victors.
It appeared to be a very enjoyable day for all the athletes involved.
Rowers’ attention now turns to the longer format racing and preparation for Buffalo Regatta and the South African Schools championships which begin just over a month from now.