Longstanding rivals will clash oars on the River Dee in March, as Aberdeen's two universities return to the water once again for the Aberdeen Boat Race.
The Aberdeen Boat Race takes place for the 23rd year on Saturday 17 March 2018 at 1.30pm, thanks to the continued support of global investment group, Aberdeen Standard Investments.
In 2017’s nail-biting race, the University of Aberdeen clinched victory over the 3.5km course in a time of 7 minutes 03.4 seconds, winning by four lengths and ending Robert Gordon University’s five-year winning streak.
The University of Aberdeen also claimed the titles in the alumni and second crew races, marking the first ever clean sweep in the event’s history.
Henry Pettinger-Harte (22), president of Aberdeen University Boat Club, knows that last year’s triumph was hard-fought, and he is confident that his crew has what it takes to row to victory again in 2018. The mechanical engineering student from Chester says, “Breaking RGU’s winning streak was a huge achievement for the 2017 crew, and we’re determined not to hand the trophy back in 2018.
“We train alongside RGU’s rowers for much of the year, however as the Aberdeen Boat Race approaches our traditional rivalries bubble up to the surface. We’re in it to win.”
RGU Boat Club president Erin Wyness (21), however, believes that her rowers’ form over the past few months will give them the edge they need to reclaim the title. “The Aberdeen Boat Race is unique in university rowing in the UK, as it’s the only major race which has mixed crews,” says the events management student from Aberdeen.
“It adds an unpredictability to the race which is great for spectators, and gives us an extra challenge when picking the crews. I’ve been watching the RGU rowers during training, and they’re looking really strong, so I am confident about our chances in 2018.”
The annual boat race – known as Scotland’s equivalent of the Oxford-Cambridge boat race- follows a course from the Bridge of Dee to the finishing line at Aberdeen Boat Club, offering many fantastic viewing points for spectators along the course to cheer on their crews. Alongside the main event, the race day programme is made up of alumni, second crew and media challenge races.
Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, says, “The Aberdeen Boat Race is a fantastic event for the north east of Scotland, allowing students, alumni and the public to support the city’s finest student athletes. Every year the race seems to get closer and closer, providing a wonderful spectacle for those watching on the banks of the River Dee.”
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, says, “The Aberdeen Boat Race has long been one of the highlights of the sporting calendar in Aberdeen and the north-east, and generates much public interest and support. The students in both crews show incredible determination on the water, representing their universities with pride and friendly rivalry. I look forward to cheering on the RGU rowers in March for what promises to be an exciting race.”
Martin Gilbert, co-chief executive of title sponsor Aberdeen Standard Investments, comments, “Every year, the rowers in the Aberdeen Boat Race prove themselves to be worthy ambassadors for their universities. While these students are friends throughout they year, in the weeks running up to the race – and especially in the eight minutes they are on the water – they are the fiercest of rivals, desperate to claim victory for their boat club. We are thrilled to continue our support of the Aberdeen Boat Race again in 2018, and we look forward to another exciting race in March on the River Dee.”
*For all the latest updates on the crews and their training, follow the Aberdeen Boat Race on Twitter @2018boatrace, Instagram @abdnboatrace and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/abdnboatrace