The Club's Results
May Term 2012
2nd women's VIII
Not a bad first race given the crew hadn't rowed together before and the mixture of experience in the boat.
We got off to a great start, calmly surging the rate up and sticking at around 33/34 coming into Ditton. We relaxed into a good low 30s stride for the rest of the race.
Katie's coxing was absolutely formidable, especially through the tough headwind, and her call for a reset at the kink gave us the focus we needed to keep it together down the reach. She kept the fire burning through the final stages with some great power calls.
Not a great time on the stopwatch, of which the wind is partially to blame, but a good effort for a first race together. Some serious improvements to the finishes and catches will need to be made ahead of Mays if we are to get the results we are capable of.
Men plan, God laughs.
Things started well. We rated a little over 40, setting off to a strong, though inevitably jittery, first-day Bumps start.
By the bridge, we had hit our stride. We had settled into a really solid rhythm with great coverage, which saw us gain quickly on the experienced St Cat's team ahead of us.
Victory seemed inevitable. Katie steered an amazing line round the corner, helping us to gain about a length on Cat's. The crew did an awesome push out of the corner, described by our bank party later as 'absolutely textbook'. The crowd cheered. Ian blew two whistles. We were giving it everything we had. Things were looking good.
Then everything changed. Katie steered another great line round Grassy, but unfortunately a bumped crew had tucked themselves tightly into the corner and out-of-sight. Without any forewarning, we crashed into them and the bank.
Yes, the crash was a disaster, costing us a bump and a fighting chance at blades this term.
What happened after the crash, however, was far from a disaster, and little short of awe-inspiring.
Our bank party were off their bikes and rushing to our aid with the determination and reaction-speed of a mother rescuing her small infant from a burning building.
Katie, barely skipping a beat, got bow four rowing on and brought us together with the composure and decisiveness of a cox with many more years experience on the river.
The crew instantly reset and rowed on as if nothing had happened, regaining our rhythm in the first few strokes, and surging on to leave Emma with no hope of catching us. This was despite:
- the half-hearted whistle that trickled out from their bank party in a mixture of shock and faint hope after watching us crash
- the fact that Nina later revealed to us that the impact of the crash had actually launched her feet out of the shoes and she rowed the rest of the race feet out
We heeded the gruff Scottish plea from the bank to 'just go for it!' and regained a surprising level of ground against Cat's down The Reach. In the end, however, it wasn't enough and we rowed over, utterly exhausted.
While obviously disappointed with the turn of events, our team spirits remained high. Today's race was a reflection of the gutsiness and cohesion that this crew has found in its final outings. Tomorrow's race, we hope, will translate those qualities into victory. Watch out Cat's, W2 are a coming...
In the final lead-up to bumps, W2 has really unified as a crew and started to row together. Unfortunately, this means that when we rush, we all rush together.
We didn't row well today. We were tired from yesterday's chunky row over, and impatient about wanting the bump we knew we deserved from the first race. As such, we didn't settle into the nice rhythm of previous days. What's more, the dread of another row-ower became somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy with all of us probably leaving a little too much in the tank in the first segment of the race. With the exception of a few solid pushes out of the corners and down the Reach we didn't gain much ground on Cat's who knew they couldn't be complacent with us behind them and rowed a much better race today.
Today's lesson: over-rating is overrated.
We are determined to hit the river tomorrow with the calm, controlled, and strong rowing we know we are capable of.
Today we found ourselves, yet again, in less-than-glorious isolation. It was a predictable row over with early bumps on either side.
We had planned to row an unsustainable, chunky piece to First Post and then wind it down to a comfy 28 for the row home. While the rhythm and composure were much better today, and we were surprisingly unphased by the wind, there just wasn't the push or the power that we will certainly need tomorrow if we are to finish the week with victory. We'll need to dig deep tomorrow...
Bumped Magdalene II
Sweet Sweet victory. Today was a "bump quickly or be bumped quickly" day and our fervent desire to finish the week on a high paid dividends in the water.
There was a different feel in the row up. I put this newfound equilibrium down to several factors including:
- a good core session and crew chat beforehand
- Skilbeck borrowing my socks and not getting a chance to give them back, forcing me to crack out the reserve pair. Some may interpret this superstitiously. Others may infer more aromatic interpretations.
- half hour crew meditation under the calm caresses (read damp, irritating slaps) of willow branches due to our race being delayed over an hour by protesters.
The start was quite powerful and controlled, which was surprising given that our starts have always been a major weakness.
Murray Edwards were fast. Very fast. We expected this. We remained calm and confident that rowing together would ensure we bumped Magdalene first. ME did a huge push under the motor bridge which saw them gain distance and whistles, but they started to suffer when they realised their efforts hadn't worked.
Our crew gave it everything and pushed as if every stroke was our last. Softly-spoken Katie was replaced with war hero Katie.
Whistles. Bump. Greenery. Glory. The End. Well done W2 - a fantastic end to the 2012 rowing calendar.
After what has been a fairly frustrating few days we ended on a high, simultaneously spooning Magdalene II whilst denying Murray Edwards II blades.
Despite the delays and windy conditions we kept it together, gaining on Magdalene, and though I could hear whistles behind me as Murray Edwards caught us up, their bow ball never appeared and we held them at around half a length.
A push after the motorway bridge brought us closer (and I may have slightly lost my calm facade), when the Magdalene cox decided to take a wide line we were able to smoothly draw up parallel, bumping them easily before First Post.
Murray Edwards unfortunately got entangled in our clearing as they tried to take the inside line so we gave both them and Magdalene a cheer before collecting our greenery.
Well done girls! I couldn't have asked for more.
Full 2nd women's VIII results archive