Rowed over Head
This is the best thing ever! ever ever! you are legends, I'm so very pleased for you!
Awe inspiring! It was thrilling to run alongside for the final segment. I'm really really happy for you all!
We did it :) Our hardest race of the week, but we do like to make it exciting for our supporters... When it came down to it we were the stronger, fitter, mentally tougher crew - all those ergs, circuits and early mornings were totally worth it. We were completely unrecognisable from the fairly random selection of girls who rocked up to the boat house in Mich term: 5 from W2, 1 from W3, a couple of funny foreigners and someone who'd never been in a boat before! Thankyou to everyone who believed in us and helped us make history by giving us their time and experience (and sanity!), but thankyou mainly to the other 8 girls in W1 who have made such a difficult term so much fun and something to remember forever - now our names go on the black board atbh for people to look at doing circuits in 250 years time :)
Stroke: Height - 5'7"; weight - 10st (before crew pasta); finish position last Lents - Arse of the River; highest boat before Mich 2007 - W3
Apparently word on the bank was that you had been down to London in the morning, done WeHORR and had just returned for Bumps.
Wow what a day! I woke up this morning, a day after, and the first thought that came up to my mind was, damn I am late for our morning paddle! But then it dawned that there is no morning paddle today. We did it! We retained the headship!
We started Mich term as a crew who was miles away from staying head. None of us had rowed in W1, none had a 2k sub 8 min. The numerous ergs, circuits, and not to mention crazy long outings nearly every day, were all worth it! Race by race we were climbing up, from being 5 places down the top (Fairbairn's), to being 1s slower (Winter Head-to-Head), to being 5 seconds faster (Head of the Nene), and finally to being winners (Pembroke Regatta), when we finally realized that we can do this. It was certainly not easy. Rowing to the start every day was a huge mental challenge. We had amazing four calm starts (we had trained our bodies with all those practice starts this term), beautiful strides, and good powerful rowing (despite the wind) to push off any crew behind us. We really wanted this, we had bigger hearts and more determination than anyone else. We rowed over head four times as a crew, and trusted each other completely that everyone will give their best. And we did it! We are FaT W1! I am proud to have rowed with you girls and to have fought hard for this headship.
Many thanks to Iain, Seb, Neil, Tom, Peter Summers and everyone else who helped us become this crew and who believed in us.
Bow: Height - 5'2" (smaller than our cox!!!); weight - 8.1 st; finish position last Lents - 5th W3 division; highest boat before Mich 2007 - W2.
*Footnote: Trained for 7 weeks and rowed over head with a rib stress fracture, which I am finally going to give a rest (or at least until I get into a boat or do an erg).
You deserve this so much. I was going to email you all separately, but then I thought, I want other people to know too. I want the boys, and the lower boats, and all the other crews on the river to read these reports, and realise just how much this Headship meant to First and Third W1.
You've come so far since I coached you last year in the second and third boats. It's great to see that despite the problems you've had, you've all taken the self-belief that W2 and W3 had last year, and brought that into W1. It hasn't been an easy year, but you guys stuck it out and all that hard work has paid off now.
Crew spirit brings so much to a boat. This is an achievement you will never forget. I'm looking forward to see what you can do in the Mays (you only need one overbump and three bumps to get that Headship)!
PS You're the first ever FaT crew (men or women, since the merger) to retain a Headship for a second year! For 40 minutes you were the only ones. It's great to see the women getting somewhere first ;o)
The toughest race I ever had. It felt like dying instantly when we rowed past the kink, and I remember thinking 'sh**, another 3 mins to go'. I have no idea how I managed to keep moving and putting power down until we finally (ages later, it seemed) passed the finish line. And I will never understand how the distance between the Railway Bridge and Peter's Posts can extend so much that it ends up being longer than all the way down from the start to there (somehow it did though).
Back in Michaelmas Term, when I thought of defending the headship all I felt was naked fear, and I was sure this would end up in total embarressment. Nobody believed we could do this, including ourselves. 5 months later, finding ourselves reffered to as 'legends', I still feel like living in a totally irrealistic dream! I keep waking up at nighttime, turning on the light to have a quick glance at my headship medal, just to confirm it is there and things really happened!
We worked hard to achieve this, and we paid with sweat and blood (most oar handles had stains after the race) for this victory. I personally was so knackered that I couldn't even open my water bottle anymore, and Iain had to heave me out of the boat. I hope I never have to go thus far beyond my physical limits again, but at the same time it was totally worth it!
We did it! (Still can't quite believe it.) WE REALLY DID IT!!!
We wrote history and made FaT the first club ever to retain a double headship!
Ra Ra First and Third!!!
3: Height - 5'6''; weight - 9.6 st; age - 33; highest boat before Mich 2007 - W2.
I'm still grinning for you! It was nervewracking chasing you down the towpath, but the result was fantastic. You guys have worked so hard for this, you really deserve it. Make sure you gloat for all its worth!
Woke up this morning and... yep, still head of the river!
When I joined up, nooooobody thought we would do it, least of all the girls! I always knew that we could, but that it would take a lot of work, but now that we did it, I still can't quite believe it. I'm not really sure how that medal got on my desk...
And now, a cheesy interlude:
Charley: You've always got a cheerful attitude and a big smile for everyone, but you can snap into serious rower mode in no time at all, and as stroke you make sure the others do too. You'll try anything for the coach and give it your all, despite whatever hard work came before, and lead the team into ANOTHER 8 min. bumps piece with perfect fortitude.
Tera: You bring some serious raw power to the boat, stroke after stroke, and your total determination shuts out pain and loss of sight and sound. When you slam in the finish, I feel it! Your commitment to the boat is an inspiration; always the first to offer to sneak out of a commitment or jump out of bed at 5.00 am.
Julia: You are our real Cinderella story, from novice to headship in two terms flat! The team is lucky to have snapped up you're natural talent and strength, and the world of rowing is all yours if you want it.
Harriet: You handle all the organizing and management so well you make it look effortless, I can't imagine how you do it, dealing with the dramas with real style, and still show up with a leadership attitude and the will to row strong day after day after day. You've led a scratch crew to headship!
Aline: Wow are we lucky to have you this year; you taught yourself English rowing style (frankly I still think American style is more effective but hey) with no complaints and no excuses, just determination to make sure that all you're power gets into the water with the rest of the girls. When I glance down the rows of oars making sure no one is slipping into their bad habits, I always have confidence in your blade and your stroke.
Ulrike: You alone, I think, were the most determined and the most sure that we could do it, and your faith was contagious. Your strength is unbelievable, through and around all the work you do outside of rowing, and you really set an example for making each stroke stronger and stronger and faster and faster than the last. You are right, rowing is fun, A LOT of fun when we get it right, and I hope you had as much fun in Lent Bumps as celebrating it!
Hanna: You care so much about this boat and the boat cares so much about you. You always took the good and the bad, and set an example for the boat in confronting the bad and fixing it. You knew when we could do better, and you made sure it happened! You're soft-spoken, sweet smiles are really misleading compared to the rowing animal you can become! Keep that smile for a long time now, because every hard outing and every rough stroke was sooo so worth it.
Julijana: Best for last :) You are way to hard on yourself, looking back, I mean look what you did! You are hard as nails, through and through, with the strength, power, and will to train to keep up and surpass rowers twice your size. You always knew that there was more to give and you gave it, every stroke. I think you deserve this more than any one of us.
Also, a very very very special thank you to Ian who is a psychological master and somehow kept the girls calm on the banks before their big races. I think in a real way they did it for you. Your face after the Pembroke victory was one I will never forget and made it all worth wild even if we hadn't won headship.
Whew! Well girls, they were stronger, bigger, with better erg scores, and they gave us a real fight to the death, but you battled through with blood sweat and tears (literally), and brought heart and soul to the boat, even when the rowing wasn't very pretty, it was still sexy as hell! You are an unbelievably class act!
Cox: 5'2'' and a bit (slightly bigger than bow), 7.5 stn., couldn't cox the Cam without banging into the bank until about a month ago, complete novice to bumps races but being in front helped!
Looking at your card next to my computer I think it is time for me to thank you as well. You have made this term definitely worth it for me not only because I could have some great food with you at crew pasta ( oh..Juljiana's cake), I also had great fun and learnt a lot from Natasha, but mostly because you have taught me a very important lesson - determination and dedication allow you to get ANYTHING you want, even if it seems almost impossible at first sight.
Girls, thank you for the inspiration and you should be incredibly proud of yourselves- you are by far the best women's crew on the Cam!!
Rather a lot of photos for this epic race. Basically it's all of them! I thought it would help the crew and spectators relive every moment (if anyone wants to!). Well done guys, really stunning result. I hope that the record on this website stands for at least 40 years for you to show your grand-children!!