Callum Fraser insisted he loved every minute of his moment in the spotlight at the Invesco Perpetual City Regatta – despite missing out on victory.
The Portsmouth-based man and his Royal Navy Drill Power team-mates got their competitive juices flowing in London’s Canada Square Park as they fought to become the fastest team over 1km on Concept 2 rowing machines.
The regatta is a spectacular new challenge where four-strong male and female crews compete head-to-head in a series of fast and furious knockout races live on stage in four cities across the country.
Fraser, a tactical weapons engineering officer in the Royal Navy, was in action at the fourth event of the series in the capital – following races in Edinburgh, Leeds and Bristol.
A winners’ row-off will take place at London’s Guildhall next month – and while the RN Drill Power squad will not be there, they loved taking part.
Fraser said: ‘It was very, very tiring. I competed at the event in Bristol as well but for some reason, it was much harder this time round.
‘The teams in London seem to be of a much higher standard.
‘We came into the first heat expecting to be eased into it and hold a bit of energy back but we ended up in a very tight race and pushed ourselves a lot harder than we thought we would need to.
‘It’s been a great experience. Bristol was the first time I’d done any sort of competitive rowing, so I’ve really got the bug now and I want to get involved as much as possible.
‘I think it’s great for us, as the Royal Navy, to be shown getting involved with these events, showing we’re not only out on the ships and submarines but we are also enjoying ourselves alongside the general public.
‘This is an event you wouldn’t really see elsewhere and I think it will be really great for the sport as a whole as well.’
Designed to test both fitness and teamwork, the regatta is open to all – from seasoned pros to rowing novices.
All four crew members row on separate machines at the same time over a target distance of 1km.
The racing software then produces a 500m split pace for each rower, while the individual splits are then compiled in real time into one average split pace for the entire crew.
Their progress is displayed on big screens for competitors and spectators alike to see.
The London audience included double Olympic medallist Alex Partridge.
‘It’s a phenomenal event,’ said Partridge, who won silver and bronze in Beijing and London respectively.
‘It’s amazing to see the support for rowing, particularly rowing on the machine, which is one of the painful apparatus there is in any gym.
And I think the opportunities that the Invesco Perpetual City Regattas have opened up, to be able to attend the celebration of Great Britain’s Olympic medallists and athletes at the Guildhall with Leander Club, is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and a really special thing to have.’
n Invesco Perpetual’s innovative new ‘City Regatta’ event is a celebration of the achievements of Leander Club, the main feeder club to the GB team – with 24 of its rowers representing the national team in Rio.
The event aims to encourage more people across the UK to get involved in rowing.