The Club's Results

Champion of the Thames Eights Head, May Term 2009

4th men's VIII (Men's 4th div. Mays)

Coxed by: Tom Lovering

5th in M4, 43rd overall
Time: 5:38.6
Firstly, I've had a complaint about lack of paragraph use in my race reports, I'll endeavour to improve.
Anyway, on to the race. As a precursor we recently had an outing in which we were described as rowing very prettily, but with little power, so our focus was to really gun it safe in the knowledge that the course was only about 1.3km long. Our practice start and the paddling up seemed encouragingly powerful and fast, so at spinning we were confident of a solid result...
The race started with a pretty smooth effective start, followed by a wind to what I believe was about 39, but I may be wrong here, however it didn't feel too rushed, and we thought we had set off well. The situation changed rapidly around Ditton corner, as we turned into what amounted to an utterly epic headwind, and rapidly lost boatspeed. The loss of boatspeed led to a more unsettled section of rowing, with people (notably myself) struggling for length as our slide was resisted by the wind. This culminated about halfway down with a minor crab as the wind caught my blade in the middle of attempted feathering, leading to a mistimed catch and crab. I also learnt after the race that at one point the wind moved Aaron's blade so much he lost hold of it with his outside hand.
Anyway, we continued down the the railway bridge, and got back into the wind shadow. Having got out of the conditions, the rowing rapidly picked up, and we appeared to pick boatspeed up quickly, and finish reasonably strongly.
To conclude, it was a disappointing result, as we were beaten by the boat chasing us in bumps, however the weather reports indicate we rowed in about 50% greater windspeed, so not altogether calamitous. The technical ability seemed to be largely there, need to work on the guns though... (Swords)
A pretty solid and committed row in very unpleasant conditions. Our time wasn't helped by being blown off course on the start, and my pretty poor line round Ditton (turning right in Richard Church is still a subtle art I have yet to master). I thought the rowing was some of the best we have done to date, with a real sense of the boat being lifted and sent, particularly when we got out of the wind and could get to full compression and square up without having to sacrifice one in favour of the other. Perhaps we went off too hard, but this was probably the injection of power we needed to feel.

Regarding the disappointing result, the concensus is that conditions were so vastly different between divisions for the results not to be reliable, so we should not be too discouraged by being beaten by LMBC 4 and other boats we were expecting to outperform. That said, Caius 3 were in the same division, so while there is no need to be depressed about our result, there is no room for complacency either. (Tom L)

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