Student - October 29, 2015

Argo rower 'sour' about good race

Linda van der Nat

Last weekend student Marten Breeuwer finished in fifteenth place at the Head of the Charles Regatta, a prestigious rowing event in Boston Massachusetts. An impressive performance but not one he is satisfied with. ‘Everything went wrong.’

Photo: R.V. Minerva

Jetlag is not the only factor fuelling his bad mood. Agrotechnology student Marten Breeuwer has not yet overcome his disappointment at losing the race on Sunday. ‘I have mixed feelings. Coming 15 out of 41 participants is not bad at all. But the training sessions went so well that it should have been possible to finish among the top three. Not managing to achieve that - that is what we are all feeling really sour about.’

Put together specially for international races like this one, the eight-strong team from Minerva Rowing Club had just completed a perfect week of preparations, says Marten. ‘The weather was good and we had a good boat. We were going so fast that our times were approaching the course records. We knew that if everything went well we would win.’

But everything went wrong, says Marten. ‘Race day was a fair bit colder than the preceding days. When we had to start I had no control over the blade, my wrists were that cold. A biting wind was blowing that almost overturned the boat. Of course everyone finds the weather conditions difficult, but it meant we couldn’t get the stroke length we’d achieved in training. Our strokes simply weren’t good enough.’

This was why Minerva was unable to overtake its competitors’ boat in time, which meant they were forced to take the outside of every bend. ‘We were giving it all we had, yet that cost us a huge amount of time.’ To cap it all, the gentlemen received a five-second penalty, ‘no idea what for’. Ultimately, they completed the course 17 seconds slower than the winners.

He knows that he should be really proud of his achievement, but ‘it is still a bit too early for that’. ‘Losing is part of the game, but if you didn’t row a good race either, then it simply leaves a sour taste.’