Excitement builds for over 900 athletes – RMB VLC National Sprints Regatta

The RMB VLC National Sprints Regatta will be the first regatta in two years for many young rowers due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Darryl Williams Victoria Lake Rowing Club Chairperson said: “We have 961 athletes from 30 different clubs. Of these, 16 are from schools, including Hilton College and Selborne College who have travelled up for the regatta. We have 5 university crews including Rhodes and Stellenbosch. And then we have 9 Masters Clubs, including Durban and Leander from the coast.”

It truly is a sport for all ages, with competitors ranging in age from 13 years to well into their 70’s. Nice to see Soweto Boat Club and Germiston, two of the development schools competing in close to 50 different boats over the weekend.

Spectators can expect a jam packed schedule commencing at 07h30 and closing at 16h30 each day with races every 5 minutes. On Saturday you can expect to see our senior single sculling heats where we are likely to see some of the top athletes in the country competing against each other – including members of the RMB National Squad, as well as our juniors competing together with our masters mixed crews. Sunday will see athletes battling it out in the finals over the 1000m course. This is the 114th running of VLC Sprints and some of these trophies on offer date back many-many years. 

With Covid cutting short the 2020 season, and decimating the 2021 season, many of the younger rowers up to under 15’s haven’t really had much in the way of regatta experience. Rowing demands a lot from athletes and training for competition is usually a huge motivator. These young athletes deserve our respect for staying the course through some very trying seasons where disappointments were in disproportionate supply. To the older athletes who are in their final year of competition at school level, this regatta represents the potential to finish off their rowing careers at school with style and satisfaction. Something that their predecessors from 2020 and 2021 missed out on.

For our other athletes from university and into the masters clubs, this hopefully brings with it a renewed interest in the sport. We have seen numbers across most clubs decline through the pandemic as the all important social side of rowing has for all intents and purposes been forced into hiding. This regatta represents an opportunity for this camaraderie that exists between both the members and clubs to re-emerge and once again fuel the desire for the unique sport of rowing. Importantly, there is a responsibility at Sprints to show that we can host safe rowing events and that this gives us hope that 2022 brings with it the potential to a return to a more familiar way of life pre-Covid.


For the families, friends and rowing fans, you can live stream from the comfort of your home. Head over to youtube, search for RMB VLC SPRINTS. 

RMB | VLC National Sprints Regatta 2022 – Day 1 – Saturday 29th January 2022

RMB | VLC National Sprints Regatta 2022 – Day 2 – Sunday 30th January 2022