This was the first race of the day and really set the tone for the day of racing. From the start, our women pulled ahead and by the end of the start sequence there was open water between the two boats. The girls kept the strength up and the gap only widened throughout the rest of the race. (A.M. O'Neill)
As we pulled up the start line, on the bank I heard two young children accompanied by their father shouting encouragement to one of the Eddie's rowers (obviously their mum). Only after we won the race did I think it was probably a bit sad for the kids to see their mother get beaten so well... (Imogen)
We moved quickly and cleanly off the start, and pulled away after about 20 strokes. At this point I think Newnham proceeded to crash into the bank for the first time. The race continued with strides down to a nice and relaxed pace of about 26, all the while watching Newnham move further and further away from us. Newnham, I believe, crashed into the bank two more times. At one point I heard Matt shout to us to enjoy the view (it was a good one). We crossed the finish as they passed under the railway bridge, and wound down to wait for them. It was definitely the easiest won race of the day.
By far our technically best race of the day, we began well but the Maggie boat had a strong start and pulled out 3 seats ahead. At this point I lost sight of the boat in my peripheral vision and the words "shit, shit shit" were reverberating in my head. Thankfully Liv kept us calm and we moved together and strong, sustaining our rhythm. After not too long, we were moving up on their boat and began to pull away. Maggie fell apart soon after and clear water opened up between the boats.
The only reason we won this race was that we kept our cool, and stayed together, and I'm so glad we did!
Without doubt the most exiting race of the day for me! Maggie managed to get about three seats ahead of us at the start (according to our bank party), but we didn't panic, and gained on them, little by little, until we were level. They did not react so well to pressure though, and they soon fell apart, leaving us with a clear river to play on until the finish line. The most gratifying feeling ever! (Zoe W.)
At first, I started this report by thanking "every person without whom it would not have been possible bla bla bla" but deleted it. I usually find this kind of stuff contrived, just like you find love songs cheesy... until you fall in love.
Anyway, as a true French person, I love cheese, so here we go: a million thank-yous to my wonderful rowing partners (the seven aligned heads I follow), our amazing, amazing cox (our favourite Hermia, little but fierce), and of course, the loudest, fiercest, (and, overall, best) bank party, who helped us crush our opponents' dreams (and their children's in the bargain, yep). Now, about the race itself: it was the second time NW1 made it to finals this term. After our disappointing defeat against Jesus (during Emma Sprints) we were all determined to prove that we were a boat to be reckoned with. We knew composure was key: we couldn't get too exited, enthusiastic, or worse, panicked. Overall a pretty simple race: we had a few bad strokes, but we kept it together, and managed to gain about a length and a half! Slow and steady wins the race, and the cup!
The morning was beautiful - clear and bright. As we paddled towards Chesterton the mood in the boat was quite different to the previous Sunday when we had raced in Emma Sprints, probably something to do with not having face paint dripping down our faces. Everybody seemed ready to race and come away with the result we knew we were capable of (winning!).
In our first race we came up against Eddies and although we didnt do our cleanest rowing of the day we pulled away pretty early on. Liv called for a few strides and we settled in to a more relaxed rhythm at lower rate, until Matt decided it would be a wonderful idea to practice sprinting for the line - the rate built and the boat crossed the finish, our competitors following behind. We were in to the quarter finals.
With an hour until our next race we were able to get out of the boat, warm up and eat - when it was time we were ready to go. On our way down the reach we practised a start and a burst to race pace concentrating on keeping our composure and moving together.
Pulling away from Newnham off the start we maintained our rate, until they crashed in to the bank. And then crashed again. We lowered the rate and finished not long after Newnham rowed out from under the railway bridge. Seeing so much clear water between the boats certainly gave us confidence for our next race, where we would be up against Maggie in the semi-final.
As soon as we had paddled back to Chesterton from the finish it was time to spin and head back to the start. This race was the most daunting of the day so far - we knew that it would be tough. Liv managed to keep us calm while the wait for the start dragged on and the afternoon sun shone over the Cam. We knew NM1 and the other FaT crews were doing well, we needed to show everyone what NW1 were made of!
Maggie were faster off the start and began to pull away. After our experience in Emma Sprints we didnt let that disrupt our rhythm and continued rowing as a team, pushing hard. Gradually we crept back alongside the other boat and while we stayed together they fell apart. Once we were past them that was it, they fell away and we continued in to the final. This was our best race of the day - it was awesome! The feeling as we moved ahead was just incredible. (And the bank party was pretty excited too.)
So to the final. We would be racing Downing and all we had to do was row like we had against Maggie to be in with a good chance of winning the regatta. This time we pulled away and the gap between the boats grew to a couple of boat lengths, our rowing wasn't as clean but all we needed to do was hold them off. They may have closed in slightly but it didnt matter - we won!
We were so eager to go, all of us champing at the bit, still high on the adrenaline from Clare novices, keen to convert our try (yes, I know my metaphors are all over the place ^^), and prove we were indeed the best women novices on the water.
Listening to Neil's advice, we attacked the race with the aim of sustaining a good 30spm. This was a bit higher than what we had previously envisioned, but given the quality of the opposition, we agreed that we would need to step up our game. And step it up we did, 32 on average. We went there knowing that it would be crucial to stay composed and stay together, even at high rate, and even when tired. According to the fierce "yeaaaaaaaahs" coming from the bank party (to be honest I didn't hear much more than that, and "sit up tall"), we looked good! Overall, it went by really fast, but contrary to Emma sprints or Clare novices, with more than 2k, you have time to think about several technical points that need to be corrected, so that we can do even better next time (which turns out to be... today!)
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