Hilary 2016: from the Women's Captain
Our term this year started with the dreaded red flag, which persisted throughout W1 training camp in 0th week. Luckily, thanks to the support of our old members, we were able to make a trip to Eton Dorney Rowing Lake with M1 and get some training on the water during training camp. Lots of red flag this term meant lots of land training and another trip to Dorney later in term! Even when we didn't have red flag, the demanding schedules of some of our rowers (with Dora commuting from Reading and Jenny teaching in a school) meant we relied heavily on the help of Sophie Wicken, Katie Hammond, and Jojo Bowman (who is now at CORC) to help us get training done during the week.
By the time IWL C came around in third week, we had had some much-needed water time on the Isis and at Godstow, and were ready to race. With coach John cycling alongside shouting "We want to win this by at LEAST 10 seconds", our eight won the women's category (but only by 3.5 seconds, to John's chagrin). The two fours came 1st and 2nd in the W4+ category, with the second four beating our nearest contender, Wolfson, by 6 seconds. All this despite having to overtake in each race meant a very strong performance indeed!
We entered Henley 4s and 8s on the 13th of February, but the event was sadly rained off, as was IWL D the same weekend. Cue another crew trip to Dorney, for some productive water time and some pieces against Balliol W1, to get us ready for Torpids!
There were high expectations for our performance in Torpids, and we fulfilled them in the first two days, with two quick bumps on Teddy Hall and then St John's, both before the gut. However, on the third day, a rapid Christ Church W1 managed to bump us just as we left the gut, with a very fast start, and as Pembroke bumped Wadham ahead of us, we were left to chase the overbump. Despite our best efforts, we only managed to close on Wadham by a length, and couldn't make up the three for the overbump. The next day we had a solid row over, with Wadham bumped quickly by Christ Church ahead of us.
Although slightly disappointed by our Torpids result, we all had a great time at Torpids dinner celebrating M1's blades, and turned our thoughts to the Women's Head of the River, which was on the next Saturday. John's coaching had prepared us well for this long race, and the prospect of racing on the Tideway was very exciting for all of us. Disaster almost struck, with Suzanne Angliviel injuring her back during a Torpids race, but luckily Hannah Baddock was able to step in, and with one outing and the long row up to our marshalling slot to practice, rowed at 2 for us! With both Hannah Baddock and Dora Amos racing their first Women's Head (and for Hannah B her first race on the Tideway), it was a momentous day!
With rough weather before the race, marshalling was tough, and we were all cold by the time we raced. However, as soon as the race started, it was all focus from everyone, and we put in a clean and powerful row, overtaking 9 crews (including 3 at once . . . twice!), to place 39th. Although John says he wasn't surprised, the result exceeded what we had hoped for, making us the fastest Oxbridge college, and beating a number of University crews. Lunch in Hammersmith with our favourite supporter David Hunter put the cherry on top of a great day, and it is a result we will all be very proud of in years to come.
Back to Oxford, and the Henley Boat Race trials were on Tuesday, where we vied with Christ Church and Oriel W1 to be the college to represent Oxford at the Henley Boat Races on the 19th of March. With Hannah B subbing in for Jennifer Firman this time, we didn't manage to repeat our success at Women's Head, with both us and Oriel timing 5:08 over the course, while Christ Church rowed 5:00, taking the prize. Although we would have loved to represent Oxford, it was good to race an undoubtedly fast Christ Church in different circumstances. On that race, over flat, clear water (no wash for once!), we finished the term, although training is continuing over Easter so we can be ready for Eights!
Thanks to all those who helped us this term, especially coach John Ewans, David Hunter for his support at Torpids and Women's Head, and the subs: Jojo Bowman, Hannah Baddock, Katie Hammond, Sophie Wicken, Hannah Hendry, Holly Metcalf, and Stella Kremer (and Katie Beckingham for almost subbing in only for the flag to change at the last minute!).
Posted on Apr 19, 2016
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