The Madibaz Rowing Club underlined its development by contesting multiple finals at the University Sport South Africa sprints regatta in the Western Cape earlier this month.
Fielding men’s and women’s teams, the Nelson Mandela University rowers qualified for seven finals (men) and eight finals (women).
In addition, women’s captain Alex Ennis became the first female Madibaz rower to be awarded USSA Grudge (half) colours.
“I was extremely proud of my girls and their performances, especially as 70% of them are completely new to rowing,” said Ennis.
“In general some of the athletes walked away wishing they had done more and others walked away ecstatic.
“I have to say a big congratulations to the ladies side of the club as it was the first time since 2016 that they had nine members competing.
“This is a significant deal as the eights event is a vital race in rowing. For us to compete in it this year is a huge accomplishment for the club.”
Having only started rowing last year, the 22-year-old Ennis said she had worked hard to move to the next level.
“I look back on 2018 as a total beginner’s year,” said the biokinetics student.
“This year I wanted to compete in the A division and work towards a goal of attending the World University Rowing Championships in 2020 or 2022, or both.”
Ennis added that her expectations going into the USSA tournament were unknown, having only previously competed in the novice section.
“I had never raced these experienced individuals before, so the goal was to go out and try my hardest with all the hard work I had put in beforehand and I am really glad it paid off.”
The event was held at the Misverstand Dam on the Berg River, near Porterville in the Western Cape, from April 5 to 7.