The Club's Results
Cambridge Head-2-Head, Lent Term 2016
A timed headrace in two parts, length 2x2000m.
Sat 23rd January
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1st men's VIII, Lents 1st Division
2nd men's VIII, Lents 2nd Division
It's hard to write race reports on races that don't go well without resorting to complaining, but I'll give it a go. Crew selection had been mostly finalised a few days before the race, and this was our first outing as a crew. This explained in part the lack of togetherness in the rowing and the tremendous difficulty that we had in sitting the boat. More frustrating, however, was the fact that we had no idea how to improve any of those aspects of our rowing, and the row-up consisted in crashing down on strokeside on a large fraction of our strokes. I was a little bitchy about it and called for an increase in focus for the race.
The lack of focus and togetherness pervaded the first part of the downstream leg, during which we spacked around at an extremely ineffective, rushed and not pressed-out 30-31, before taking it down to a slightly less rushed, yet still fairly ineffective 28 after Ditton. Finishes were still not pressed out, and I don't think that we had more than 5 continuous approximately sat strokes in a row, though we had a few nicer bits around Grassy and the exit of First Post. I called a few times for 'platform' after the corners, which in hindsight should probably have been replaced by 'press the finishes'. Down First Post reach, we saw Magdelene M1 overtake a flagging Clare M2 crew, and we realised that our next leg would be difficult, trying to hold them off over the course.
After the usual 20 min faff at Head to Head, we were off again. We quiched massively down First Post reach, until people realised the Magdelene M1 had gained about 5 lengths in 600 m, and we decided to get our act together a little out of the exit of Grassy. Their rate of progression slowed, and I actually began to feel some semblance of togetherness as we finally started to apply some pressure in the water. The rowing became messy, and then frenzied after the kink when it was obvious the Magdelene had had a big push and were going for the overtake. After some of the least effective strokes that I have ever taken down that last stretch of reach, they drew level with us - on the line. The row back wasn't awesome either, and I continued to complain from the 5 seat - sorry guys...
Lessons from Saturday's race: 1) Focus during the whole outing 2) Work together 3) Work at a constant high level of power output, not only during the start or pushes 4) Press out finishes -> 5) Sit the boat.
We need to get our act together over the next few weeks. Downing II (2 ahead) look set for spoons again, and we'll need to row the long race on Day 1 to hold off Corpus M1. On a positive note, we will gain a lot more speed by just rowing together, and rowing hard. I think that we can improve significantly this term, and be very competitive come Bumps.
Performance squad crew (b), Lents 1st Division
I was apprehensive: a completely scratch crew, comprising considerable brawn, was going to be unpleasant if we rowed badly and exhausting if we rowed at all well. We chose the latter, attacking the first half of the first piece hard.
We were rewarded with a remarkably level boat around Ditton, as the powerful dips down to strokeside balanced the dizzying centrifugal force of Juliet's tight steering. Grassy was therefore less successful, but we finished the piece in style, winding to 34 in a light tailwind.
By the second piece I'd finished remembering how to row strokeside, and could concentrate on more advanced points of finesse such as actually putting the blade in the water. This piece was more technically refined, but seemed slower, which was confirmed by the times: I suspect this was due to the headwind, getting cold, and committing well to the first piece.
Overall, a fun day out, beating the A crew and not far off the provisional M2.
Performance squad crew (a), Lents 1st Division
1st women's VIII, Lents 1st Division
2nd women's VIII, Lents 3rd Division
4th men's VIII, Lents 3rd Division
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