„Whatever the Weather, We Will Win Together“ – German University Championship 2012 in Bad Lobenstein
by Anne Valtink
It was one of the hottest days of the year when the Jacobs University rowers started their way from all over Germany to Bad Lobenstein – this year’s location for the German University Championship (Deutsche Hochschulmeister-schaften – DHM). From June 29th until July 1st, universities from all over the country participated in the competition that took place the 65th time.
Even though many team members had to suffer long traffic jams before their arrival, the location of the regatta made up for it: surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, it reminded everyone of the landscape in the team’s favorite movie “True Blue” and triggered everyone’s excitement for rowing there the next day.
Saturday morning, the Jacobs men were the first to race: While the thermometer indicated more than 30°C, Matthias Seel coxed Matthias Aengenheyster, Timo Bremer, Egmont Gassert, and Ahmed Kebdani to the fifth place out of six. Having had no previous experience with the borrowed gig boat or sculling in general, the rowers concluded that they could be content with their achievement, even though there would be room for improvement next year.
The rest of the Bremen crew (combined teams from Bremen University and Hochschule Bremen that row at Bremer Ruderverein von 1882 e.V. and Bremer Ruderclub Hansa) would not stop winning medals that day. Defending several titles from last year’s competition and adding new ones in several boat categories, they received ten medals in total and ended up becoming 3rd in the overall site ranking of the weekend.
The Hamburg School of Business Administration scored last with their girls double four and fourth out of six with the men’s eight. In addition to the Hanse Boat Race, they are planning on preparing specifically for the DHM next year.
After a nice barbeque Saturday evening, the crew made it back to the youth hostel just in time before the big thunderstorm started. But when everyone returned to the regatta the next morning, the team found what looked like a battlefield: the storm had destroyed several boats. Even though most of them had been tied to trestles, several Empachers had been hit by trees, gig boats, or had simply been tumbling around all night. Bremen lost a pair and a double. But even though the eight had been hit as well, it was luckily not too damaged for the upcoming 1000m race.
Competing against boats from Dresden, Hamburg, Hannover, and Heidelberg, the Bremen girl’s eight crew was composed of Jens Große (cox, Bremen University), Franziska Goldgrabe, Annika Reinke (both Hochschule Bremen), Melanie Baues, Lisa Baues, Ann-Kathrin Weber, Beke Gredner, Julia Strübig (all Bremen University), and Anne Valtink (Jacobs University). The water was flat that morning; it was just the humidity that made the crew sweat before the race had even begun. Starting with a stroke rate of 42, the girls fought their way through the course and ended up scoring second place with a time of 3 minutes and 24 seconds, just half a boat length behind the Hamburg crew. After the race, the Bremen girls decided to keep following the weekend’s saying “winning is a habit” – having won bronze last year and silver this year, everyone should know which rank to expect from the crew during the next Rowing University Championship.