An alarm clock going off at 5.30 is not uncommon for rowers and in this respect last Saturday was no exception. But on this Saturday RUMSBC weren’t making their usual pilgrimage to Chiswick, no they were heading to the Bloomsbury Theatre to jumps on a coach to take them to Cambridge for the annual Cantabrigian winter head. The coach journey was very uneventful with most falling asleep as soon as they touched down on the chairs but rest is always required before a busy day and the journey was soon over.
The first order of the day was division of the Men’s 1sts and 2nds, this meant that as soon as we arrived the whole club had to work together to make sure their boats were ready and rigged for winning, that having been done the men’s crews grew a little lax and were nearly late for their race luckily this only resulted in a telling off from the marshal.
The race for the 1sts by Louis Robertson
“I would say that it was a good, if unpolished row, with our crew working together and putting power down well but sometimes failing to hit all the technical points. Our start was scrappy, and we also had some trouble going taking the corners due to the length of the Hudson, but I’m very happy with how we rowed, if not with the final race time we put down.”
The 2nds race by Thomas Morgan
“In many ways Cambridge Head was typical of RUMSBC men’s seconds. Firstly, our organisational ‘skills’ lead to us boating late and being chased by a launch all the way up to the start. Then, we crashed into the bank before the race had started. But after this less than perfect row up to the start we span the boat, got focused and shot through the start line. What followed was 2.5km of hard work, pain and good rowing. Marcus hit the corners with cool precision and all of us gave it everything. Being chased by a senior boat (who were, it was admitted after the race, built like tanks) from Robinson College we all knew we had our work cut out for us, and we held them off admirably until right on the line.
We gave it everything, and were rewarded when the times were published: we had beaten the firsts! A quite remarkable result, and thoroughly deserved by all the crew. We finished second in our category, far better than we had hoped for. A promising sign for the season ahead.”
The women’s senior crews were up next, their turn to get their boats in working condition before hitting the water. Disaster nearly struck the women’s 2nds when their unfamiliarity with boating from a solid bank nearly cost them their fin, sharp eyes and fast as light responses from the cox, Naomi Gostelow, managed to avoid a potentially sticky situation. Both women’s crews set off looking happy and ready to row.
How the Race was for the 1sts – Jess Rankine
“After several weeks of training the women’s firsts were excited to see what we could achieve at the first race of the year. As we got on the water a few nerves were showing but these were quickly blown away by a strong warm up. Before we knew what was happening we were spinning onto the start line and building for the race. The first half was about setting up a good strong rhythm which we somehow managed to do better than in any training! There were no boats in sight behind to push off but we kept the pressure up as we raced down the course. By the time we rowed passed the supporters on the bank Alex called for a ‘middle four lift’ and we flew past onto the final straight. A few slightly rushed strokes at the finish just showed how much effort we’d all put in and by the time we crossed the line no one could row another stroke! We managed to finish ahead of all other UH crews which is a fantastic result – a really strong performance from everyone involved and a great place to work off for the next race!!”
How the Race for the 2nds – Katarina Westbrook
“The women’s 2nds had an eventful race to say the least! With a solid start off the motorway bridge we rapidly gained on George’s and went to overtake them on the stroke side corner. They tried to resist the force of RUMS and pushed us into the bank; but that couldn’t stop us and we powered past them on the straight. After all that excitement we reset the rate and the rest of the race went more smoothly as we pushed on to the finish line. The results reflected our hard work as we were the fastest UH 2nds crew. We’re now looking towards Allom cup and another chance to destroy George’s!!”
Celebrations reached a fever pitch as the club made the walk down to the familiar supporting spot 500m before the finish line where the cheers reached such a level as our women swept past that other clubs were shocked into silence and dumb stares. RUMSBC is renowned for supporting as hard as we row and this is a quality we really showed on Saturday.
Not long after the women had boated the provisional results of the 2nd Division were released. An unexpected result was to leave some over the moon but others disappointed. The Men’s 1st’s had completed their course in a time of 9min25s and they were happy with their time, that is until the 2nds discovered their result of 9min18s, put them faster as well as it at the head of their category this sent the crew into an understandable frenzy of celebration.
Next up in a division where they were a lone RUMS representative were the Men’s Novices. When I say they looked nervous as they set off it is most definitely an understatement, but under those nerves you could clearly see that they were excited for what lay in store.
The Novice Boys Race by Marcus Ghosh
“With a broken cox-box, a delayed start and numerous bladder problems the build up to the Men’s Novice VIII’s first race was far from idyllic. Our draw stroke however, set the precedent for the race to come; long powerful strokes sent the boat flying through the start line, the early corners proved no problem and soon, as we rounded the final bend onto the straight we were hot on the tail of UCL Novice 1st VIII who were themselves catching a IV. Mid double over take we came to a juddering halt due to a remarkable 4-man crab – we however reassembled, and, urged on by the entirety of RUMSBC and some manic coxing managed to drive past them on the final straight; finishing with a good three boat lengths to spare.
Special thanks go to Ben Jacobs for his composure and technical stroke separation in the face of a cox looming over him”
In the final division of the day the Women’s Novices and the Men’s IV were all RUMS had left to offer, as the division before had been running late the rest of the club had yet to return from supporting the Novice boys this left these two last crews to prepare alone. Thankfully the club returned last minute to give the crews a proper send off with a cheer as they pushed off the bank.
How was the Race for the IV – Tom McLay
“The nerves in the IV were definitely showing in the row down to the start line, having had a very short training period, forming a month previously and with only one outing a week, they did not have their sights set high. Traffic on the water way meant they had a very stop-start row down, but this was a blessing in disguise as with every stop came improved rowing. The start of the race went off well, nerves however meant we moved up to a higher rating than planned but we were able to take it down steadily and as a crew. Watching the boat behind always coming towards us gives no chance to slack and that was how we remained, pushing as hard and as fast as we could maintain. It was a truly wonderful race, we may not have had the best time, but as a crew we agree that we had never rowed better together and the time we got and the race we had was far better than we could have ever hoped for.”
How was the Race for the Novice Girls – Kit Hunter
“Starting with an amazing pre-race chat was a good omen of things to come, Beth (stroke) had some unusual song games?in an attempt?to psych out all competition!
It was a bit of a shaky start with a few crabs through the corners, to be expected in a nervous novice crew, but it came together beautifully?coming out of those tight corners when the girls really started to put the power down.
Some really strong rowing down the straight allowed us to push forward and overtake the men’s crew in front of us, then wall of noise cheering us on from the rest of the club gave a huge lift and everyone coming together as a crew?to find a new gear pushing us through that final stretch.
Unfortunately there was one final crab through the finish but this was unable to ruin a good row all round.
One happy cox, one tired crew.”
“After a rather shakey row up to the start we all pulled together to overtake two mens novice crews and hold off UL womens novices, a fantastic first race and day out with RUMSBC, can’t wait for the rest of the seasons races!” – Beth Welch, Stroke for the Novice Girls boat.
Watching the girls come in I don’t think anyone could say after looking at them that they didn’t put in 100%, every member of that 9 strong crew looked exhausted, red faced and gasping for breath, especially the Cox.
As the last two crews were coming off the water the novice boys were able to see their results they, like the men’s seconds, were in utter shock. They had pulled an absolute scorcher of a time; the second fastest of their category beating our friends (and occasional rivals) UCL and behind the winning crew by only 5seconds! A great way to end the day.
With only a short time remaining before the trailer had to be off the common we had to rapidly de-rig the boats and get them back on the trailer before it could depart back on the short journey back to London. The happy athletes knew it was time to head back to London and the Huntley and get celebrating, karaoke style.
Statement from the Men’s captain
“I think that the day went extremely well for the men’s squad, with the second eight coming second in their category and the development four performing well. The general standard in terms of fitness, ability and commitment is very high and following “Crew Optimisation” we are going to put in some impressive performances in the races of the next few months.”
A Final Word From Our President
Big thanks to both the captains and those that made sure our boats got there (and back) in one piece. Too a massive well done to all rowers and coxes; a very proud President!
The Final results
Men’s 1st came 22nd in their category and 39th overall with a time of 9min25s
Men’s 2nd came 2nd in their category and 33rd overall with a time of 9min 18s
Men’s Novice came 2nd in their category and 107th overall with a time of 10min49s
Men’s IV came 5th in their category and 94th overall with a time of 10min 31s
Women’s 1st came 5th in their category and 85th overall with a time of 10min 19s
Women’s 2nd came 6th in their category and 137th overall in a time of 11min11s
Women’s Novice came 6th in their category and 203rd overall in a time of 12min39s
Full results available here