Men's Squad Report
Quintin was our first proper head race of the season and our chance to see how we faired against the other UH crews as well as many of the other university, school and club crews in the region.
Although m1 didn't quite hit the intensity we wanted to off the start we settled into a good rhythm and had an otherwise very solid race going a whole 1 minute (adjusted based on winning times) faster than last years performance, finishing 7th out of 18 in the IM3 category and most importantly beating our rivals at Bart's and both UCL men's senior crews.
This was only M2s second session together as a new crew and so there was a lot of interest to see how the new combination would work. They set up a good platform and had a pretty clean race, finishing 8/13 in the Novice category. Although it was not a fast as they would have liked, they are a very new crew and the platform is there to build on over the next few weeks in the build up to UH head.
Rory Shadwell- Men's Captain
W1 faced off to UCL on Sunday, with a buy into the semi-final of Allom Cup. Once on the water, we headed straight for the start line. We had a rocky start, but managed to stride out into an excellent rhythm and started to make gains on UCL. An ocean of wash hit us in the middle of the race, throwing off the boat slightly but we kept pushing through it all. Once past the wash, we had the final 200m left of the race. The boat started flying with Georgie’s coxing driving us to our limit. Sadly, we didn’t manage to make up for the seconds lost earlier in the race, finishing a length and ¼ behind UCL. A disappointing performance on the day, but we know we have what it takes and will be bringing it to UH Winter Sprints in January.
On a beautiful and very Instagrammable day in December, W4+ were ready to remain unbeaten and retain the title of the best women’s senior 4+ in UL. It was going to be a long day with “best of three” races organised against the only other competition in the category, Queen Mary, along with the Senior 8s races. Queen Mary, an unknown entity due to them not being UH turned out to be absolutely lovely and were as equally keen as us (aka not at all) at the prospect of racing two to three times for the title.
Having rowed as a crew only twice beforehand we were keen to have a bit of a pre-race paddle in order to get out the jitters and remember how to row. We set off and had a great paddle although unfortunately due to a slightly incorrect watch, we ended up slightly delayed to the start line. Jerry wasn’t too happy and we ended up with a warning. This, along with a questionable angle at the start line lead to a rather frantic start to the race however we weren’t going to let this faze us. Settling on to the rhythm we managed to pull ahead and finished the race with a strong 3.5 length lead.
The next race was after the eights race and so tired but determined, we headed to the start. This time we knew we were racing for medals and we knew that although we had raced an extra race compared to the Queen Mary girls, there is no way they could possibly be as competitive as we are. A much better start than the first race, we again pulled ahead and or cox Lucy with her fantastic calls, encouraged us to push to the finish which we did with a 3 length lead.
Collecting our medals from the Olympic Gold medallist Paul Bennett was a true rowing highlight, and if he ever wanted to see how we celebrate winning, we’d be happy to welcome him to join RUMSBC.
Allom cup was the first regatta for m1 and after a slightly disappointing result at Cambridge head it was time to see if our step up in training had paid off- especially in the final week where we made great progress in our sprints pacing, finally learning how to get the intensity high enough. Our first race was against ICSM, a crew that had beaten us by a substantial 30 seconds at Cambridge head so we knew we had a big challenge on our hands. After a solid start from both crews ICSM had the better of us and were half a length up after the first minute. We then improved our length of stroke and began to close the gap however, a further push from ICSM meant they crossed the line half a length up again. Despite this defeat we were very pleased with our performance and to close a gap of 30 odd seconds down to half a length means we're heading in the right direction and are well in contention for UH head and placing well in HORR next term.
After their loss against George's in Novice sprints M2 were very keen to have another shot at the Intermediate title. In their heat they had drawn UCL who were a bit of an unknown as they had been doing matched eights so far this season. Having looked down the UCL crew on the day and seeing several previous Henley Royal qualifying athletes in their crew we realised we were no doubt the underdogs. Nonetheless the boys gave it their everything and had a good row, unfortunately the power and experience of the UCL boat showed and they came away with the win. Despite the unfortunate result the boys know that it's all to play for next term and with the right attitude and training UH head is their's to win for the third year running.
After last weekend's disappointment, a fresh Novice men's crew set out to Chiswick to avenge the injustice they had suffered. Up first: the Barts crew that were victorious at Novice sprints. A stern test if ever there was one, and one that proved slightly too stern despite an excellent row by our boys. A good start and a big push into the middle of the race left them neck and neck with Barts, with both crews having to fight tooth and nail to try and drop the other. In the end, only a couple of hundred metres before the finish, something finally gave in our crew and the boys just couldn't quite hold on to the end of the race and were defeated. After a rallying cry from myself during their absurdly short 45 minutes between races, the novice men went out determined not to slump in the repechage like last weekend. But fate threw them yet another curveball and drew them against an enormous Royal Holloway crew that had only narrowly lost to UCL in the main event. Despite what Coxswain Lucinda described as 'possibly their slickest sprint piece yet', it simply wasn't enough, with fatigue already burning bright from the previous race against this crew of giants. A weekend without a medal, but that doesn't mean to say we're disappointed with how the weekend went. The sprints showed increased consistency and excellent attitude, and against other opposition the results could have been very different indeed. Hope the boys are looking forward to their 12 ergs of Christmas, UH Head training begins now!