Posted: 22 September 2020
The University of St Andrews Boat Club held their annual sprint regatta on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th of September, and due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the club decided to think outside the box and hold the event as a virtual competition.
The event had 82 entries from 21 clubs around the UK, as well as individual overseas competitors from Australia to Myanmar getting involved to raise money in aid of the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMh). Like Scottish Rowing, The University of St Andrews Boat Club is a signatory of the SAMH Mental Health Charter for Physical Activity and Sport. The Regatta Committee wanted to highlight the important work of SAMH, particularly given the recent effects of the pandemic and lockdowns on the nations’ mental health.
The Saints Regatta saw other University sports clubs get involved. Bethany Mackay, University of St Andrews Tennis Club added “I really enjoyed participating in the Saints Regatta. It was a great initiative by the rowing club, particularly in a time when event planning is challenging. It catered to all abilities, even non-rowers like me!” along with Scottish Rowing member clubs. Gregor Hall, Stirling Rowing Club said “The virtual Saints Regatta gave me extra motivation to train, and I enjoyed racing and taking part."
Jodie Cameron, Regatta Chairsperson added "Over the summer we had been continuing to plan for the regatta to be held at Lochore Meadows with only singles and crew boats from the same household. When it became clear that restrictions on events wouldn’t be eased enough in time for us to run the regatta even in this reduced format, we made the decision to cancel the event at Lochore, but to run it virtually instead so that we could still provide an opportunity for competition."
On the topic of how the event will look in years to come, Jodie added - "Whilst we ideally would like to hold the 2021 Saints Regatta at Lochore Meadows, we are wary of ‘going back to the way things were before’. Rowing and the University of St Andrews are global communities and being able to bring together athletes with different experiences of the sport was a unique aspect to this year’s event. In future years, we would love to see international participants again and to bring new athletes into the rowing world through Saints Regatta."
The Saints Regatta was kindly sponsored by AllMarkOne and Kendal Mint Co., who both provided discount codes to all entrants and donated prizes for the overall event winners.