The Club's Results
Lent Bumps 2011
1st women's VIII
Coxed by: Richard Sworder
Bumped by Downing
Well, Downing were seriously rapid off the start. Not a whole lot we could have done, got bumped on First Post corner.
Credit to an excellent Downing crew.
Not the ideal result, but in bumps anything can happen, and keep waiting to pounce if Downing make the slightest slip over the next 3 days.
Bumped by Emmanuel
hmmm, decentish row. Could have been faster. Ended up wide on Ditton as I couldn't cut in, tried to get round the corner but ended up practically holding their 2 girl's blade.
Bumped by Pembroke
A committed row, that cannot be doubted. Our start was pretty rubbish, some people got stuck in, but these things happen. We recovered pretty well, however, and moved into an aggressive racing rhythm. We appeared to gain slightly on Emma ahead by the gut, but that may have just been perspective. As we went into grassy, I became aware that Pembroke had closed significantly, and a sneaky peek told me they were overlapped. Half way through the corner it looked like they were steering for it, so a quick move and a stern swap put us on the pub side. This was perhaps an error later on. Coming onto Plough reach, we moved to clear water as they straightened out of the corner, however once they moved up to straight water speed they started moving back. Committed push after committed push held them slightly, but they came back to large overlap by Ditton. At this point I attempted to take a wide line to prolong as far as possible, but they steered for it and it was all over.
Finally, a decent row. We moved off pretty well from Christ's behind, although were dropped pretty quickly by Pembroke ahead. No real need for drama as Queens' dealt with Christ's behind leaving us a pretty relaxed row over. With more time we were better able to settle into a rhythm, something which didn't happen on any of the previous three days, hopefully this will be of some use come WeHorr.
In all, this bumps has been, ultimately, disappointing. The aim was to retain the headship, and had anybody asked me whether we would before day 1, I'd have said probably yes. I still think our best cruising speed may have held Downing, but their speed off the start was nothing short of phenomenal, and it was something to which we just had no answer.
The archives of results and race reports on the website tell a lot of stories, but mostly they tell stories of success. After the boys' epic row-over on Wednesday, everyone is (rightly) eager to congratulate them. After we got bumped on Wednesday, there was radio silence. Now that bumps is over I thought it might be worth spelling out what's happened this week, and beyond.
(The crew has learned this term how cheesy I can be, and I'm afraid you haven't seen the end of my rambling yet).
We started out this term in a tough spot - coaching was patchy, crews weren't definite, and we've been plagued by illness and injury throughout. Neil arrived with three weeks til bumps, and transformed us from a group of girls of varying standards and commitment levels to a crew that buckled down and manned up.
With three weeks to go, Neil didn't have much to work with - too late for huge technical changes, but he did inspire us, and ultimately create a crew in the best sense of the word. With sketchy results all the way up to bumps, and an early loss in Pembroke Regatta, we knew we had a lot to prove. The day after we lost in Pembroke, we sparred with Queens W1 and our confidence was restored. Later that week we sparred with both M2 and M3, with decent results that proved to the crew that we had a lot more potential to move boat than we'd had a chance to demonstrate.
With this attitude, we looked forward to bumps as a chance to finally prove that we weren't the spoonbarge everyone expected.
Day one saw us bumped by an explosive Downing crew, whose standard we really didn't understand until that day. They very clearly deserve the headship, and are really in a league of their own. They completely raised the bar in women's college rowing. We were both shocked and devastated to have been bumped so quickly, but realised that there really wasn't much we could have done when faced with such formidable opposition.
Day two we went into the race with Emma chasing us relatively confident that we could hold them and looking forward for a second chance to show what we had. Again, they gained on us off the start and steadily closed. We realised again that despite how far we'd come as crew, we hadn't come far enough, and despite some impressive evasive coxing from Swords we were bumped coming round Ditton.
By day three we had been through two separate devastations, but, if anything, had grown closer as a crew. We looked forward to finally proving ourselves. After a less-than-perfect start, however, Pembroke soon began to close, and had overlap by Grassy. We enlisted the 'do-or-die' push to open up to clear water, while they steered for the bump and missed. We managed to open up the gap slightly, but they responded with another massive move to get back to overlap. At this point, I started finishing short so as not to hit their bows with my blade. Swords called another massive move, and somehow the boat responded and I was taking full strokes again as we pushed them away a second time. All credit to Pembroke who responded again and closed again, and there was no where for us to go as we came round Ditton, where they finally bumped us. The disappointment that we'd bounced back from twice returned for a third go, and again the crew rallied.
Day four we had the 'Christ's buffer' behind us, and looked forward to finally being able to row past Ditton, and do the 2k that we'd been training for. We moved off with a decent rhythm, Christ's and Queens' bumped out behind us, and we finally got our long row down the reach, although not in the kind of 'glorious isolation' we had hoped for.
My only regret is that we weren't able to give Neil the result he deserved. When he arrived in Cambridge three weeks before bumps and encountered a 'crew' desperate and terrified, he never faltered, but gave literally everything he could to help us make the most of what we had. Turbo ergs, epic outings, and lots of pasta eventually saw us come together in a way I've never experienced before. Personally, this is my worst bumps result (unless you count not getting on in W3), but my experience this term in this crew has probably been the best I've had in First and Third.
We suffered this year from a serious increase in the standard of women's rowing in Cambridge. However, as JPD said after the race, the fact that we're devastated by finishing fourth on the river indicates just how far FaT women have come over the years. The only real disappointment I feel now that bumps is over is not that we should have trained more or pushed harder - we did all we could - but that we weren't able to keep the position that so many girls before us fought so hard to put us in. On the flip side, we now know how it feels to go down, and are that much more determined to go up in the future. (Weights sessions start this week).
So, our result didn't follow our plan, and is disappointing for both our crew and our club, but this term has been far from a wasted effort, and I don't have any regrets. The eight girls and one boy in this boat have grown as athletes and as team members - thanks to Neil and to each other. Thank you girls & Swords & Neil - it's been immense.
Full May Bumps Lent Term 2011 results
Full 1st women's VIII Lent Term 2011 results
Compare this crew with all Lent Bumps crews in the archive