Frazier Christie has set his sights on winning a medal at this summer’s World Rowing U23 Championships in Bulgaria after helping the University of Bath to an emphatic victory at the BUCS [British Universities & Colleges Sport] Head Championships.
The economics student teamed up with Nick Bell, Alex Wilding and Ben Jackson to finish 13 seconds clear of the field in the men’s quad at Boston Rowing Club and secure Bath’s first gold at the event for many years.
It continued an excellent start to the year for Christie, who trains with the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme at the University of Bath and was the only U23 rower to break into the top ten at the GB Trials in February.
“That definitely felt like a breakthrough,” said Christie, who finished 34 seconds ahead of the next U23 rower.
“We’d be doing a lot of work in training and it really felt like the performance was coming. It was just a case of executing on the day and luckily it all came off.
“It has definitely given me confidence. Since the trials I have been setting goals for the next ones in April, which is over 2k.
“I feel like the senior team is within reach and that’s where I want to be, get amongst the athletes training full-time at Caversham and see what I can do.
“This is my fourth year on the Start programme in Bath and my last year as an under-23, so my priority has to be to qualify for the World U23 Championships.
“I missed out at the final hurdle last year. I went to seat racing after the April trials, where they try out different combinations, and I lost my last race by just a second.
“That is a big motivation, to make sure that never happens again. It really was fuel during the winter for me, it has been at the front of my mind throughout training.”
The strides made by Christie and his colleagues in the Start programme – all coached by Dan Harris – were further demonstrated by the quad success at the BUCS Championships, again by an emphatic margin.
“It’s been at least five or six years since Bath’s men won a gold medal at the BUCS, so it was a great result,” said Christie, a former pupil at Prior Park College in Bath.
“The four of us had done loads of work separately in the gym and in singles, and only came together in the quad a couple of weeks before BUCS.
“But as soon as we got in the boat it all felt really good. We knew going into the event there was a chance of a medal but it wasn’t until the result came out that we realised just how quick we had gone.
“We then jumped in the eight with four other guys from uni. We were fourth, which was a bit frustrating because we thought we’d had a really good row.
“And to be fair we had – fourth in the eight is again the best I know Bath have done for a long time.
“We were seven seconds behind third-placed Durham and they are notoriously good in the eight. We’d been prioritising the quad, so it was a good result.”