The Club's Results
Mich Term 2011
1st men's novice VIII
7th Cambridge College Novice VIII
In view of the unfortunate circumstances that the last two outings were badgered by weather and water, we went into this race having done no high-rate training whatsoever.
After a good paddle down with a few bursts and the usual pre-race faff, we started off in a strong and solid rate 26 all the way down First Post reach, clearly pushing away from the crew behind and gaining on the boat ahead. Spotless racing lines around First Post and Grassy corners, and a good push out of these gave us a very good and stable first half of the race. After Ditton corner however, the combination of a footstraps failure followed by a seat failure meant that we had to row a good part of the reach in sixes - and due to the confusion this caused in the boat hardly in time. We got it back together under the railway bridge, had a big push off it and held it well to the finish line.
Overall, a very promising introduction into high-rate rowing.
Beat Jesus B Easily
After some general confusion about the opponents bow-rigged novice boat, we paddled onto the startline and were sent off, with half the crew not being ready and staring into random directions when the unexpected 'go' came. As such, the start was scrappy and messy, but nevertheless we were a length clear around the kink. Despite our rushy and pully rowing, we extending this lead to over 2 lengths before we finally relaxed and strode it down four times into a nice and chuncky mid-rate paddle, finishing 'easily'.
Neil called for composure and togetherness from the bank, but actually was so full of joy afterwards that he accidentally stepped into the river, clearly expressing his commiseration for the splash everyone had to suffer from during the race.
First race nerves meant that this was a bit frantic - more pull than push - but the result was never in doubt against a surprisingly poor Jesus B.
Beat Selwyn A by 2 Lengths
A quick reminder on the startline that people have to actually bury their blades meant that we had a much better and cleaner start than last round. Selwyn were still faster off the first few strokes, and some wind-caused steering confusion meant that we were 1-2 seats down for the first bit of the race. A good lengthening and a confident surge got us level around the kink and soon after that into a comfortable lead. On Neil's suggestion, Yining called for another power-saving surge under the railway bridge, and we kept good technique and rythm all the way to the finish line.
Overall a much more composed race than the first round. And not only was the rowing much more together, even the three cheers after the race sounded vaguely in time. Good work!
Much better than Round 1.
Beat Clare Hall by 2 Lengths
The general fear of 'meaty grad students' soon turned into a fear of terrible wind and weather conditions. We dealt with it well and had long strokes, at least whenever the blades actually caught water rather than wave holes. Clare Hall held us well for much of the reach, but our good and consistent rythm off the surge got us into a clear lead by the railway bridge. We kept power and rythm all the way to the finish line and finished 2 lengths ahead. A good introduction into rowing in tricky conditions.
Clare Hall were a powerful crew and well suited to the increasingly brutal wind conditions, but the boys again stepped up the quality. A very good performance in which the winning margin was gradually eked out, but this was a tough quarter-final which took its toll later.
That was a tough race compared to the previous two. And the first that day after which I actually felt tired.
Lost to LMBC by 1 length
Knowing that this was likely to be hardest race of the day even if we made the final, we had a much better focus on the startline resulting in what was probably the best racing start of the day. We went into a canvas lead off the first few strokes, but Maggie held us well and soon came back, despite some borderline steering from their cox which our marshal clearly wasn't too pleased about. It wasn't until after the kink that Maggie went into a few seats' lead. There was a short moment of panic allowing them to extend this lead, we got it back well together and kept up a good commitment all the way to the finish but unfortunately this wasn't enough.
This was a very good race in tough conditions after a hard quater final and it is comforting to know that we lost against the eventual winners. There is much to take away from today and come Fairbairns next week, today's experience will certainly prove to be very valuable.
Unfortunately LMBC had won their quarter-final easily and their resulting freshness (especially in the severe headwind) proved decisive. The start was again good and we were leading by a few seats with a third of the race gone, but as fatigue crept in the Red Enemy came back on terms and pulled ahead in the second half of the race. The luck of the draw was not with us but this was a high quality race and the crew should be really pleased with their performances which improved throughout the day and bode very well for Fairbairns.
The two boats were going at roughly the same speed for one third of the race, during the second third of the race our strokes lost a bit of power allowing Maggie to catch up and take a lead of 1-2 seats. Somewhere at two-thirds of the race, our boat went very unstable for a fraction of a second (the wind and the waves gave us a small crab), the short confusion that followed gave Maggie the opportunity to extend their lead to a full boat length. At which point, our cox - Yining - became extremely loud and aggressive with her calls and Florian went mad in his seat when he realized that we are losing distance and gave an enormous shout: "row guys, COME ON!!". Neil from the bank was also so loud that it felt like a matter of life and death. All of this meant that our crew scraped for every last bit of power left and pushed the boat again at roughly the same speed as Maggie for the remaining third of the race.
That was an awesome race between the best two crews in the competition and First and Third NM1 was like nothing Maggie had seen that day before or after that round. When we passed next to them the Maggie crew gave us a salute and spared us the humiliation of the three cheers.
Well done First and Third...
They had the bigger German guy. I'm working on that..
Lance (Maggie boatman) claimed it was a good race, one of the best he had seen, (I think his actual words contained more expletives.) he is usually fair in his assessments.
3rd place out of 71 boats
3rd place!!! What more is there to say..awesome! (oh and christs, no you don't need extra 30 seconds next time you row behind us...) :D I WILL MISS ALL OF YOU!!
That morning the weather was good and the crew were ready. We were glad that the starting point of the race was only a few strokes away from the boat house.
Seconds after the race started Sam's feet came off the straps to the crew's dismay, rather amazingly however Sam continued rowing for the entire fairbairn distance at full speed without his foot straps! and by doing so saving our race. Thanks Sam...
A rowing expert who was watching the race described our first half as "absolutely scorching", the technique and the commitment were in a state where the boat was flying effortlessly on the water. Yining did a great job steering around tricky corners and calling for a surge every time the crew got over excited.
The moment of truth came when we passed under the railway bridge. While most other crews look miserable at that point, Yimin pointed out that we looked relatively fresh. Not only that but our technique was again as good as the first half of the race at that point. The crew then gave it everything they had left to get to the end finishing at 3rd place overall, with only 2s behind Christ's.
"You looked like you could happily do another 500m!" said Yimin.
We came off the boat, and walked to the reach to cheer for NM2 and watch other boats crash into each other and also observe the exhausted rowers while they struggle to even move their blades in the air.
The paddling back to the boathouse was hilarious, the crew celebrated their upgrade into "seniors" by switching their positions in the boat, splashing each other with the blades and even attempting to revolt against Yining and take control of the boat!
This team is exactly how it should be and I am very glad to have been part of it.
Full 1st men's novice VIII results archive