A full programme of 180 races took place at the National Rowing Centre in Cork with several familiar names putting on a show for the enthusiastic spectators.
Two-time Olympian Sanita Puspure won the women’s single sculls A final with time to spare, beating a field of 18 (divided into Finals A, B and C) in Division One.
Puspure then partnered up with Rio teammate Claire Lambe, visiting from Cambridge University, to produce an impressive win in the women’s double sculls, despite it being the first time both women had been in a boat together.
Paul O’Donovan came out on top in the men’s single sculls representing UCD, followed closely by his brother Gary in second place for Skibbereen Rowing Club.
The two later came together in their famous double and won the men’s Division One double sculls, with Skibbereen men Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan hot on their heels a mere 1.6 seconds behind.
Another Skibbereen crew, brothers Fintan and Jake McCarthy, took an impressive third place, just 3.6 seconds slower than the O’Donovan brothers on the day.
Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan usually represent Ireland in the men’s pair (one oar each) but switched it up for the occasion, making the result even more impressive. They then joined forces with the O’Donovans in a Skibbereen/UCD composite to take the title in men’s Division One quadruple (two oars each).
In their first ever race together, the ‘supercrew’ powered to the finish to easily beat nearest rivals by almost 20 seconds.
In the University Championships last Friday, Trinity emerged as champions, with the most wins on the day earning them the title of best overall club for the second year in a row. UCD claimed the Wylie Cup, moving them into second place in the all-time listing, while NUIG won the Bank of Ireland Trophy for only the second time in the event’s history.
The 2017 regatta season continues this coming weekend with Trinity Regatta taking place in Islandbridge, Dublin on Saturday in the surrounds of the War Memorial Gardens.
Last year was the 150th anniversary of the regatta, which has been held annually since as far back as 1836, the only exceptions being a few years during World War I. Events are held over a two-lane, 1800-metre course, with a shortened course for juniors, and side-by-side racing provides quality entertainment throughout the day each year.
Crews from all over Ireland and the UK compete, over 180 this year, with post-racing celebrations usually lasting into the early hours.
Racing is scheduled to kick off at 7:30am and the jam-packed timetable will run until 6:00pm that evening, rounded off with the “Competitors’ Supper” in the Long Room of the Trinity boathouse.