It was an exciting and successful weekend for the RMB National Squad this past weekend, 13 to 15 April 2018. After three weeks of high altitude training in Lesotho, RMB National Squad coach Roger Barrow selected the team to represent South Africa at the 32nd Memorial Paolo D’Aloja International Regatta in Italy.

The weekend consisted of two regattas. Friday afternoon was the first set of heats and Saturday morning saw the finals. But there was no rest for this group of elite athletes as the team went into heats to make Sunday’s finals for the second regatta of the weekend.

It is amazing to witness how the hard work and dedication paid off. South Africa walked away with two golds, one silver and one bronze medal on the Saturday, and another gold, two silvers and a bronze on the Sunday, making eight medals in total.

Some of the highlights included:

  • Kirsten McCann and Nicole van Wyk (pictured right) taking the gold on Saturday in the lightweight women’s double sculls event, and winning silver on Sunday in the heavyweight women’s double sculls. Congratulations ladies, you continue to inspire!
  • Sunday saw one of the most exciting and nail-biting men’s pairs races, with only 0.24 seconds separating the two South African teams that took first and second place. They gave it everything they had, leaving the spectators and coaches on the edge of their seats. Ultimately, John Smith and Sandro Torrente edged over the line in front of Charles Brittain and James Mitchell
  • Sunday also saw the men’s eight final, a highlight at any regatta, with South Africa coming in forth position.

As the team arrive back in South Africa it’s back to the drawing board as they keep their focus on Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“It was a fantastic feeling coming home from Italy with a pile of hardware,” says Barrow. “The squad is really starting to come together nicely and we look forward to the South African National Rowing Championships sponsored by RMB on the 28th and 29th April 2018.

“A big thanks to our partners RMB, who have helped create an environment in which we can keep on improving. Our performance in Italy bodes well for future regattas, leading up to the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 – a mere two years away!”

RMB’s Lucy Lightfoot says the rowers’ performance is an example of how teamwork and collaboration can lead to success.

“We are proud of the RMB National Squad’s performance at the Memorial Paolo D’Aloja International Regatta,” she says. “Our relationship with rowing in South Africa is a natural fit and we’re delighted to see such great results, not only from the RMB National Squad, but also here at home. The South African Schools Rowing Championships and RMB Buffalo Regatta are just two examples of how our partnership has helped to raise the profile of South African rowing. We look forward to the upward trend continuing!”