Wits students selected to play in the USSA-R Blues and Grudges teams at the annual regatta in the Western Cape.

Fourth-year Occupational Therapy student, Lauren Soll, and fourth-year Medicine student, Rosanne Bentley, have both been selected for the University Sports South Africa- Rowing (USSA-R) Blues and Grudges team.

The athletes were selected by external judicators appointed by USSA-R, including Edward Goodier, head coach for St. Andrews Boys, and Andrew (AJ) Grant, Junior National Head Coach for Rowing South Africa.

The selection was announced after the USSA-R National Sprints Regatta which took place from April 5- 7 in the Western Cape.

The captain of the Wits University Boat Club (WUBC) women’s team, Soll said, “The top athletes from all the respective clubs had the opportunity to race and be tried for the prestigious Blues and Grudge teams which competed against each other on Sunday, April 7.”

Cole Barnard, chairperson of USSA-R, told Wits Vuvuzela, “We try to get high-profile rowers to select the players and we give them a list we’ve compiled after the players have undergone a number of trials from January of this year.”

The rowers had to take part in the A division of the regatta to be eligible for selection as the adjudicators followed them in a coach boat to judge their performance.

Bentley described her team mates as friendly, supportive and credited them for being helpful and not being competitive since she joined the team in 2016.

“I got time off from Medical School to participate and I believe in training, I trusted the process, and I gave it my time. I’m going to listen to the coach and continue working hard in the new team,” she said.

Barnard said playing for USSA-R puts the players in a better position to get selected for prestigious teams.

“We send a list of players to Rowing South Africa and they get selected for world teams and university games based on how they performed during the different trials,” he said.

Soll and Bentley will be training with the team that is going to play in the World University Championships in Croatia in 2020.

They will get to row the team to victory if they are selected for the USSA-R Blues and Grudges team again next year.

FEATURED IMAGE: Lauren Soll (left), fourth-year Occupational Therapy student and Wits University Rowing Club captain along-side Rosanne Bentley (right), fourth-year Medicine student, who have both been selected for the University Sports South Africa- Rowing (USSA-R) at the USSA-R National Sprints Regatta. Photo: Provided