First and Third Trinity Boat Club
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The Club's Results

Women's Head of the River Race, Lent Term 2023

1st women's VIII (Challenge Academic)

Coxed by: Emily Man

Time: 21:47

A thirteen and a half hour round trip for a race lasting under 22 minutes is quite the commitment; on the positive side an 08:15am meet time isn’t actually that early. Travelling to the university of London’s boathouse went without a hitch, although shouting after our beloved coach down a train station platform drew a few looks. I cannot imagine why. 

After a bit of difficulty lifting our boat off the trailer, whilst two members of our crew spent time fussing a cat and the rest of us struggled because it’s really quite hard to lift an empacher two metres up, it was back together and the only thing left to do was what rowers do best: eat. Sometimes stereotypes are fair. I am pleased to report everyone in W1 has normal food preferences and we are not the reason why the whole club got sent an email about proper and appropriate nutrition. 

Stepping into the Thames wearing flipflops was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life and I would like to implore anyone racing WEHORR or HORR in the future to just buy welly boots and do yourself a favour. It was absolutely freezing and my feet did not get warm until we had gotten back from the race and inside… almost five hours later. I also nearly lost a flip flop. 0/10 do not do it. Marshalling took an age and we were on the water for over two hours before we started to race, thankfully we did not actually have to row far, but general chaos and the stream led to a multiplicity of taps being taken. Watching the Cambridge Blue Boat, Leander A (and B and C), the GB Boat, Oxford Brookes and so many others row past as the began to race was incredible- as was watching some very early overtakes. It helped the time go much faster; it did not feel like two hours. Unfortunately the cold began to set in and I was very glad when we started to paddle up to the race start before spinning.

Once we spun there was all of a few strokes before we began to move and build the rate up before we heard ‘180… GO!’, and from there we were off, passing the start line about fifteen strokes later. As we crossed Emily shouted ‘splits 1:27’ which is something I don’t think I will ever hear again from a boat I’m in. We settled at 1:35 with the stream carrying us along, sharp catches and strong finishes propelling us at about rate 33-34 around the course as we overtook two other boats. Pushing off Hammersmith Bridge we drove our split back to 1:34-35 after it crept to 1:43. Towards the end a boat began to come up on us, but we held them off for several minutes and did not allow them to take any more ground, crossing the finish with several lengths still between us despite the fact they were much faster overall. The mentality and drive to keep them off will serve us well during bumps in the next few days, giving us confidence we can hold off anyone.

Just like that the race was over. 21:47 went incredibly quickly and we were winding it down ready to row a bit further and spin. The row home was long and cold, but the result of the race was very positive. 

Getting the boat out and our four seat running off to go to the toilet with the boat still in the Thames was a lowlight. 

So was bow getting cold shock (we think).

(Zara Bek)

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