UH Winter Sprints proved to be a resounding success for RUMSBC, with MN, M2, W2 and W1 all securing medals, and all other crews coming close to enough to victory to keep there competitors wary of loss right the way up to the finish line. With UH Head just a few weeks away, this is marvelous display of rowing prowess bodes well for another day of RUMSBC domination. But until then, we have a number of other events to keep us going, including training tour and BUCS Head, not to Quintin Head, in which the Senior Men's squad will be showing what they can do in the first head race of the new year.
Men’s Novice VIII
"After rising bright and early, the Novice Men anxiously awaited our first race. It was RVC, whom we’d beaten before, but that only gave us all the more determination to win again. Despite setting off with possibly one of the worst sprint starts we'd ever performed, we swiftly took up a rhythm and stormed ahead of RVC by at least a length and a half.
Feeling more confident, and after an encouraging word from our cox, we now felt prepared for the next race, and our nerves were settled. Unfortunately, it was so soon after our first race that we only had time to line up for the next race and shiver, at the severe risk of developing hypothermia, given that we had no jackets. ICSM finally showed up, late as they were, grinning at us in our horrific state; but despite their significant advantage, they were thoroughly smashed by us with a lead of almost two boat lengths.
After this, we had well deserved rest in the boat house, which largely consisted of eating and sleeping. Our third race was less successful with an unfortunate loss to a non-medical King’s team, whose status as novices was certainly questionable… despite this, we were still ecstatic at our win in the UH Novice Men category, and afterwards enjoyed a well deserved drink." - Finn Norris, Seat 2
Women's Novice VIII Boat A
"We approached the start line with optimism following the recent success at Novice Sprints and confident with the effort we had been putting into our training as a boat. Consequent to a strong start, we powered ahead of the opposition establishing a clear distance between us. It was then that the race which initially appeared to be fairly promising took a turn for the worse. Numerous technical difficulties ranging from an open gate, to a foot plate coming loose meant that we continued the large remainder of the race rowing as a six. Nevertheless, we proceeded with determination until the finish with the help of Kelly’s motivational chants meaning that we held onto our lead up to the last few seconds of the race, despite being two rowers down. Subsequent to our defeat, we fully enjoyed winning the two repechage races which we used as an opportunity to build on our race experience. Drawing from how good the boat felt after these and the narrow margin by which we lost our first race, we go forward taking from the positives that the day had to offer and channeling our experiences into each bit of training we do to spare us on in preparation for our future races - all of which we await with anticipation." - Ceyda Oral, Seat 4
Women's Novice VIII Boat B
"Through rain, sleet and snow, the RUMS Novice ladies battled it out on the Thames for the first race of the new year: The UH Winter Sprints. Dressed to impress in our brand new unisuits, our ladies sat tall and proud, ready to drive with our legs to cross the finish line. Sadly, it was not meant to be with our first race against GKT, but not that loss nor the torrential rain could dampen our spirits as we prepared for our second race against none other than our own Novice Women’s A boat. At the start line friends became foes, but not for long as we burst into action. After gaining headway from our opponents, an unlucky crab drew our boat to a stop allowing our opponents to take the lead. Still determined, we powered on to the finish line, closing the distance between the boats to a mere length. Despite the unfortunate results from the races, our team remained proud of how much we have improved together. As a team, we rowed back to the boat house with our heads held high, all while our cox serenaded us with songs by legends such as The Beatles and Queen – thanks Kelly. More driven and determined than ever before, we eagerly await races to come to show off what RUMSBC women can do." - Sophie McWilliam, Seat 3
"The novice girls have put in many winter miles on the water and hours on the erg, and we were very excited to show off our power and technique to the other crews. The WN A boat (Eve, Laura, Hannah, Annalise, Ceyda, Melissa, Serena, Fiona) unfortunately experiences a few technical difficulties and did amazingly considering - they only lost by half a boat length to the crew they met in the finals of Novice Sprints last term! The WN B boat (Federica, Alex, Yemi, Alisa, Gracie, Sophie, Riya, Jade) also faced challenging competition, which lead to a RUMS v. RUMS race. Instead of pitting the A boat against the B boat, we matched the crews so that no one could predict the outcome! (Eve, Laura, Yemi, Alisa, Gracie, Serena, Fiona) v (Federica, Alex, Hannah, Annalise, Ceyda, Melissa, Riya, Jade). Unfortunately one of the crews caught a boat-stopping crab, but there was still a RUMS victory! Eight girls (Federica, Alex, Hannah, Annalise, Ceyda, Melissa, Serena, Fiona) then braved the snow and rain one last time in order to win repechage final." - Nicola Skajaa, Women's Novice Captain 17/18
Men’s Second VIII
"The men of M2 had thought Allom cup would be a perfect opportunity for redemption following our out of character display at Novice sprints, which saw us fall at the first hurdle to LSE. One week on, soul searching done, and we were ready to go. However, on the morning of the regatta we were informed Allom had been cancelled, and so we re-set our focus on Winter sprints.
5 weeks of training followed, and with the crew slightly altered following the Christmas break, early January really saw us beginning to gel. Our new stroke man Martin, and our new German recruit Timo slotted in seamlessly. Side by side training with M1 was really getting the best out of us on the water, and a team bonding trip to Birmingham the weekend before the race put the icing on the cake. We were prepared to prove that our performance at Novice sprints was not a true reflection of us as rowers.
We were in for a long wait to race on the day as the men’s intermediate category was to go to a straight three way final between us, George’s and Bart’s. Down to support the rest of the RUMSBC crews, we waited in the pouring rain until our race was due to start at 3:55pm. Eager to get going, we boated and rowed up to Chiswick Bridge where we waited with our competition. The marshals quickly got us into position: Bart’s on Middlesex, us in the middle, George’s on Surrey. We floated up river until Jerry had us in position opposite Quintin boathouse. And we were off.
A powerful, measured start had us take seats from Bart’s straight off the line. Our first 35 strokes, which we had practiced so many times in training came off perfectly. It saw us quickly chunk through seats on the Bart’s crew until we had clear water on them. Now to deal with George’s. We’d taken around half a length on them by this point, coming up to a third of the race gone. Holly called for a big power 10, yet we didn’t gain significantly on them. This is where all the side by side rowing we had done in training came into it’s own, we stayed calm and our rowing remained tidy. By the time we had passed half way we began to creep past a tiring George’s one seat at a time, until we had clear water on them too. 30 more “big boy strokes” and we were over the line listening to the RUMS contingent cheering for us. We’d won, made amends for Novice sprints, and laid down a marker for the biggest race of the year; UH Head." - Jack Illingworth, Seat 6
Men’s First VIII
"On Sunday the 21st of January, RUMSBC senior men took to the tideway for the very first time as a senior 8 this season. With months of hard training on and off the water under our belts, we were keen to kick the year off with a strong performance against our UH counterparts. Our first race came against a Kings boat fresh off a victory against ICSM, and through the first half of the race there was little that could split the two crews. However, the crew dug deep and our proved enough to come out on top by half a length. This victory put us through to the final against a Barts boat we knew would try and win the race off the start. Both crews flew off the line, and over the first 100m the race seemed to be in the balance. Unfortunately the middle portion of the race belonged to Barts who slowly chipped away, seat by seat, and despite a slight resurgence by RUMS they ended up winners by a length. Despite this loss, we take confidence from a strong day of racing, and look forward to a successful Head season where we can build on this solid foundation." - Alex Lane, Seat 5
Women’s Second VIII
"With winter sprints being W2's first and last sprints competition of the year we were all eager to put our hard work to the test. Although our first race against George's started with a near miss of crashing into our mens novice VIII's boat, we didn't let that phase us out. We came together and won by a considerable margin. The final against LSE was a lot tougher than we expected and after being soaked through by the typical January weather it was hard to keep positive. Despite this, we kept our eyes in the boat and gave the race everything. At points LSE would catch up slightly but we pushed harder and with Chris' motivational coxing and cheering from the boathouse as we came up to the finish we smashed the final race and were awarded medals" - Charlotte Withers, Stroke
Women’s First VIII
"The UH Winter Regatta always proves to be a challenging race for RUMSBC due to its timing being the weekend after social tour. Combining that with a forecast of snow, wind and rain, the women’s spirits were not their highest. However, an impressive start against George’s in the heats left us a length up after the first 30 strokes, which the crew continued to build on throughout the race, leading to a comfortable win of 2 and a half lengths. We headed into the final against the infamous KCL, apprehensive but determined. Another powerful start, and this time the women settled into a strong and steady race rhythm. At half-way we were holding our own against them, and with Preena’s exemplary coxing we began to gain on them, seat-by-seat. With medals in sight, and a long-deserved victory over King’s just 30 strokes away, W1 emptied the tank for the last minute. Winning by 3/4 of a length, W1 were thrilled with their their first medals of the season. The women hope to keep up this strong performance as we move into training for Head season." - Claire Shadwell, Seat 7