3 races – a success story

For the first time the Hanse Boat Race Event was expanded to a total of three races on Wednesday, May 12th on the Außenalster in Hamburg. The Jacobs University Rowing Team was looking forward to three exciting heats having steadily increased the efforts over that last three monthts to perform at maximum capacity on this very special day.

In the hours before the race, the entire team got together and spread the feeling of truly having become one single TEAM facing the challenge of two gig boat races over 500m as well as the traditional 2300m meter race, this year in a racing shell, still in the central focus of the event.

All teams from Hamburg predictably presented themselves confident to take back this year’s Hanse Boat Race trophy after losing by more than a boat length in the preceding year.

The first race took place between the two strongest four reserve men and women in a skull gig boat over the distance of 500m. After an initial head-to-head start, our stroke’s seat got stuck beneath the slides, resulting in enormous efforts to keep up the same stroke length as the three guys behind her. Despite the great effort, the Hamburg Reserve Team slowly pulled away and clearly beat our boat coxed by Max Rasche, with the common effort of Dragos Mihai, David Krebs, Oliver Barnstedt and Venja Schweneker.

For the second heat, the HSBA had to resort to their experienced female rowers from the local rowing club as a consequence of lacking interested rowers at their university. The Jacobs Team, on the other hand, was compromised of both extremely experienced rowers as well as our newbie Mira who had only joined the team last fall. From the start on, the girls starting taking the lead and did at no point show any sign of weakness. With Sarah in stroke, Anika and Mira behind her and Savannah in bow, all under the control of the well experienced cox Pia, the spectators were left with no second of doubt that the Jacobs University Team would decide the second race for the Jacobs University and thereby pulling even so that the 8 race would be the all decisive event.

Having left the docking stage under great applause the tension was slowly building up. Every single rower was aware that the moment we had been training for so many months was just about to start. Attention ————————————- ROW. And the race had started. After the first strokes, the HSBA team seemed to pull ahead by just a canvas, but the concentration in the boat remained unchanged for the eight Jacobs rowers and their coxswain Aenne. Within the next couple of hundred meters, the race went into its decisive phase. Both teams had to pass a boat showing tourists around the idyllic Außenalster and leaving behind some massive waves. In these moments the Jacobs Team increased the power and benefited from the visual absence of the HSBA boat. Having passed the boat, the Jacobs Team suddenly lay ahead. But Aenne kept the eight guys under control. Focus on the finish, focus on the catch and power twenty… Gradually the Jacobs Team was gaining distance stroke for stroke. When the last 500m of the race were reached and exhaustion was about to set in, the true team effort came out. With mouths wide open and angry looking faces the team did not even dare to decrease their power and stroke rates were steadily increasing. EMBASSY. The race was almost over and the Jacobs Team pulling ahead. With the screaming voices of around 400 fans Petar Dobrev, Stephan Hürholz, Benjamin Thies, Steve Davis, Jake Dein, Johannes Deselares, Razvan Turtoi and Lukas Friedemann crossed the finish line more than one and a half boat lengths before the Hamburg team and broke out in a mixture of happiness, pride and exhaustion.

The Jacobs Team(s) had done it again. The second consecutive victory on the Außenalster as well as an even greater event than in the past years. Having celebrated the victories of our teams, all members happily accepted the invitation to join the HSBA summer party and ceaselessly celebrated their success until the early birds called for our ride home. With plenty of tired but content rowers from Jacobs University Bremen.

Read the official report on the Jacobs University webpage here. Some newspaper articles can be found on the event page.

A report of the German television NDR and some videoclips from the race:

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Lukas Friedemann