In July this year brothers William (20) and Edward White (18) will be heading to Portugal to compete at the European University rowing championships in the double sculls. The European Universities Games in Coimbra is set to be Europe’s largest university sporting event of the year, and the largest multisport event ever organised in Portugal. It is expected to host up to 4,000 participants from Europe’s leading sport universities to compete in 13 sports between July 15 and 28, 2018.
Having won the event last year, the boat automatically qualified for the regatta, however before confirming their place Edward and William had to put in a strong performance at BUCS regatta in May of this year. Preparation was difficult as the regatta falls in the middle of the exam period, but the boys remained unfazed and qualified for the A-final, a significant achievement given the level of competition in the event.
Both athletes learnt to row at Star Club in Bedford before moving to the University of Birmingham. William, in his final year of study (BSc. Natural Sciences), has been training and competing with UBBC for three years, whilst Edward (BSc Theoretical Physical and Applied Mathematics) is in his first year. The crew came together early in the year, taking a convincing win at Bristol Head, but with little opportunity to race in small boats throughout the winter they only stepped back into the double over the Easter holidays. A training camp at Eton Dorney and fitting in water sessions in Worcester around exam revision helped to consolidate the crew and prepare them for the regatta.
Following the result at BUCS regatta the qualification for EUSA was confirmed and the double focused on balancing their training sessions, both on land and water, around revision during exam period. This is always challenging but their determination and commitment to the boat shone through as they placed 2nd in Tier 2 doubles at MET regatta last weekend.
Older brother, William, commented on the double’s success:
As I come to the end of my three years of study I am excited and honoured to be able to represent the University of Birmingham and be part of the GB universities team in Portugal.
The crew has already progressed a long way this year, motivated by the agreement early on with their coach that they would only race at the event if they were performing well enough. Subsequently, as exam season has come to a close and summer has arrived, the double have been enjoying the warmer weather and are focused on finding even more boat speed ahead of July. They duo are currently being coached by Tania Griffin, who is volunteer coach for the performance athletes in the rowing club. Tania is very much looking forward to the event and commented that:
Both William and Edward have wholly committed to the project and their recent race results represent their hard work and determination – it is a real privilege to able to work with them.
There is no doubt that it will be a tough race out in Portugal in July, but it is certain that the boys will rise to the challenge and row a great race.
To keep up to date with the boys’ progress follow the University of Birmingham Rowing club on Twitter.