With Cambridge Head out of the way, the Novice and Intermediate crews turn their attention to the first UH-organised sprints race of the year. Hosted on our boathouse's very doorstep the crews race over ~750m with the stream. Sprinting rewards the precision of a well-drilled crew and also the raw power that monster quads can put in the water.
Read below to find out how we got on.
The first novice sprints race of the season is always an exciting day for them (and often an amusing day for those on the bank watching the spectacular crabs unfold). UH Novice Sprints 2016 was no different.
RUMS WN1 - It was another freezing cold morning at the boat house as we arrived for novice sprints; after a preparatory circle (of the squat variety) we went on to race against - and much to our surprise, win against - both GKT and George’s. Then the time came for our ‘grudge match’ against RUMS B. Despite their tough competition, we managed to come out the victors, placing us in the final.
We were to race against Bart’s who had put in an intimidating performance throughout the day; however a good start gave us an early lead, and we crossed the finish line as the winners of the UH Novice Sprints 2016, giving us our first (and hopefully not last) medals of the season!
RUMS WN2 – UH Novice Sprints promised to be a very exciting day of races, particularly as it was our first experience of a sprint race, a faster paced and more exhilarating prospect than the Cambridge Head. Our first race, against KCL, ended in brilliant victory, which despite our respectable start and good commitment to the race, was somewhat due to some unfortunate circumstances on KCL’s part, with multiple crabs. Even so, our crew progressed safely into the semi-finals, and this first race proved a useful warm up and practice ready for our next tough competition, the RUMS Novice Ones. Our semi-final race had a unique atmosphere, as it was RUMS vs RUMS, and since we were against our first team counterparts, the pressure was certainly off for our crew. Despite this, we were still driven to improve on our previous race and show full dedication and commitment, as there was a very high chance of this being our final race of the day. Even though we were defeated by the other crew, we gave the race our all, and were incredibly proud of both our performance in the race, and of our first team, who went on to win the event. To have been knocked out of the competition by the eventual victors, and to have had the opportunity to race against our RUMS peers was a fantastic experience in itself, and overall it was an unforgettable day of which both crews will always be proud.
After some promising sprints training sessions, the novice men woke up raring to go for the first sprints race of the season, and the first head to head against other UH crews! Despite losing a key rower to the cruel clutches of Virgin Trains (Alex Lane, you are an idiot) and getting a last minute sub in the form of Adam Jones, the boys got onto the water with a renewed hunger to leave their mark on GKT. Or so it would have been, had KCL not rocked up at the start line after they 'accidentally' put that boat against us. An excellent start left them slightly up on KCL, but eventually the size of man and rigorous training regimes that KCL possessed were enough to bring it back halfway through the race and leave our boys feeling an injustice had been done to them. Their repechage race against RVC seemed winnable, but the boys struggled to regain their focus after the disappointment of the first race and put in a performance they knew wasn't representative of what they can really do. A disappointing day all round, but the novice men know now that they be competitive with bigger University crews and I hope that buoys their spirits going into the races ahead.