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Trinity 2015: from the Women's Vice-Captain

The first few weeks of term saw a lot of changes for W2 and W3, with trials to organise crews for Summer VIIIs. We had a mix of returning rowers who had taken Hilary off, and rowers from last term's W1, W2 and W3, and with selection finalised just a few weeks before VIIIs everyone worked hard to get used to rowing as a crew.

W2 started summer VIIIs as the fourth highest second boat on the river, but we're pleased to say that on land they are the best reserve boat, after their victory in the Tethys Erg Sprints Competition early in term. Some might attribute their success to the low turnout for the reserve crew category (no-one else entered), but we saw it as a demonstration of how commitment pays dividends!

The W3 squad was a mix of novices and more experienced rowers who had taken some time off. This range of experience brought great benefits for the crew, with Vicky and Stella - W3's coaches - commenting on how much harder everyone tried when a former W1 rower joined them at erg sessions!  With VIIIs upon us, both W2 and W3 had to call on the wider UCBC family for last minute subs, due to illness and the W3 squad being low on numbers. There were some colleges whose crew problems led them to miss the one minute cannon this year, but thanks to the enthusiastic response to a last-minute sub plea on the UCBC Facebook page, we never had that problem.

As ever, both boats faced tough competition, being highly placed amongst the W2 and W3 boats. W2 started 11th in Division 3, behind the St Antony's first boat, and made a good gain on them off the start, but with the boats on either side bumping out early on, day 1 saw a solid row- over (and a little confusion from the commentator as W2 had replaced the more commonplace Univ blue with bright yellow stash).

Thursday saw W2 chasing St John's II, and again they closed the gap to half a length before Worcester II unfortunately caught them. Friday saw W2 chased by Green Templeton, one of the fastest women’s crews on the Isis. Weaker crews might have cracked under this pressure, but the crew put on brave faces, gave a strong start and made it nearly to the end of the bunglines before they were bumped. On Saturday the crew started at the bottom of division 3. With Linacre II putting pressure on them off the start, spectators on Donnington Bridge thought they were certain to be bumped, but the girls pulled off a great row- over ahead of Linacre II to defend their space in the women’s senior divisions.

W3 successfully qualified in rowing on and, like W2, had a tough position to defend at the top of women’s division 6 with some competitive second boats behind them. On the first day the crew was bumped by Pembroke III early off the start, but this did nothing to dampen team spirit. W3 were proud to say that each day they made it slightly further down the course before being bumped, despite being chased by second boats (Mansfield II and Peter's II) on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday W3 made it past the cheering crowds at Univ boathouse to be bumped just before the finish, thus earning their spoons in style. This was looked on as a particularly unique achievement as one each of W3's two coxes and coaches achieved both blades and spoons in the same day. The crew's positivity did them credit, and despite dropping down in the rankings, the girls had a great experience of what for many of them was their first Summer VIIIs. As was overheard from one crew member at VIIIs dinner that evening, 'I wish they'd stop commiserating us for getting spoons - I'm actually quite proud of our achievement!'

Although their achievement at VIIIs may not have been as impressive as W1's, both crews did themselves credit with the dedication and hard work they put in over the term. In just five weeks everyone made massive personal improvements which we hope will strengthen our squad going into the next year.As ever we are extremely grateful for the many (often very early) hours put in by the coaches: Argy for W2 and Vicky and Stella for W3.

Holly Metcalf
Women’s Vice Captain


Posted on Oct 08, 2015

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