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The Club's Results

Head of the River IVs, Mich Term 2008

2nd men's IV (S3 4+ (A))

Coxed by: Sonya Milanova

285th, 95th of 139 IV+
Time: 21:56.18
With only a couple of days to adapt from the light four with me at bow, to the coxed four and me stroking, this race was always going to be a challenge. I'd never made the coxless -> coxed transition in the same crew before, and was surprised by how disruptive it was to crew cohesion. Or maybe that was just me not rowing much like Justus, I don't know. In either case, we did our best to adapt in our lone outing between the Uni 4s final and Sonya going down to learn the course.

Once I stopped combining coxing from stroke with forgetting I was as stroke and failing to react to requests for stern pair, marshalling went pretty smoothly. The rowing up to the start, in some of the bouncier water I've experienced, had plenty of balance and finesse and was a definite positive to take away from the morning.

After a brief chat with Laff and Charlie below Chiswick bridge, we set off in front of the Abingdon crew that would win the category. With slight confusion (between me and everyone else, it seems) about how we were starting the race, we settled to about 30, which I thought possibly ominous. It felt pretty relaxed, possibly too much so, but we can't have been going too slowly; the Abingdon four took most of the way to Barnes to get clear of us. After that, we battered our way down the course in almost complete isolation; the crews ahead were seeded, and it later turned out that the crews behind us (325-328) were slow to very slow, with only 327, Bedford Modern, producing any speed.

Sonya's lines were good (as far as I know; even after 10 Tideway heads, including steering and coxing, I still don't really know where I am on the river), and the rowing held together quite well, commendably well I thought with 4 Tideway novices in the boat, until we hit the expected fairly rough water after Hammersmith. By this point Bedford Modern were a couple of lengths of our stern, but as we hit the big waves and gusts, our rating dropped to the mid-20s, theirs stayed in the low 30s, but they stopped moving on us. All our low rate firm and bungee work paid off, as the boat felt even heavier than with the bungees, and Bedford sat a length off our stern most of the way down past Fulham. Sadly, as the conditions cleared up a bit for the last k, we had nothing left and my attempts to get the rate back up resulted in further collapses back into fairly awful rowing. Bedford rallied and rowed off into the distance, and we struggled over the line.

It's hard to tell what to make of the result. Undoubtedly we could have done much better by preparing for the race, both in terms of rowing in the 4+ and ratework, but it's rarely going to he worth it for HOR4s where a win requires a substantially good crew. A large majority of the rowing we did was pretty good, with it only really falling apart when extreme fatigue was setting in, and we achieved respectable results against plenty of other crews in similar situations; beating the Jesus S2 4- was a pleasant surprise, and the gap to the FaT 1st crew was about what might be expected given the personnel differences. In the context of a training plan geared towards, at the earliest, the last week in February, this was a pretty reasonable demonstration of technique beginning to bed in, and the fitness to keep putting down work throughout a 20 minute race, even if the boat was no longer going anywhere. (Peter)

1. 2nd Men's IV
2. 2nd Men's IV
3. 2nd Men's IV

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