Saturday saw the final and longest Head race of the year for the women, Women's Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR). This gruelling 6.8km race is the highest profile race that we at RUMS regularly compete in with 300 boats entered including many GB rowers. Racing at number 208 and 214, W1 and W2 were more interested in beating their UH competition than worrying about GB.
Cox - Leah Rosenbaum
Stroke - Izzy Goldrick
7 - Joy Schmidt (C)
6 - Eimear McKavanagh
5 - Claire Rowden
4 - Katie Westbrook
3 - Matilda Williams
2 - Daisy Newberry
Bow - Tintin Larsson
Cox - Grace Navin
Stroke - Georgie Lloyd
7 - Laura Cousins (C)
6 - Livi Drewett
5 - Gloria Smith
4 - Jenny Budden
3 - Lucinda Conder
2 - Elizabeth Sinclair
Bow - Meg Hollands
And so the day of the longest and biggest race we row on the Tideway arrived - WeHoRR! With stomachs still recovering from crew meals the evening before, a last minute coxing change with Leah in for Hannah who had been caught by illness, plus a 6:30am start... We were ready! One thing was for certain, we were setting out with a point to prove - that we were consistently the fastest UH women's crew!
After what seemed like endless hours in the marshalling zone (the only pro being we got to see the GB boat cross the start line which caused us all to get a bit starstruck, naturally..) we were off!!
A good solid start led to us quickly start gaining on the 2 crews ahead. This called for some shouting from Leah, who proceeded to handle an exciting double overtake beautifully just before Barnes Bridge! Our heads stayed in the boat and focused on only one thing - taking a seat off them every stroke until we were past.
Then the unpredictable conditions took a turn for the worse and we hit some rather choppy water to say the least. After a few hesitant strokes we were right back on it, reminded by Leah that we are a tideway crew - whilst these conditions would make most crews falter, we knew the challenges of the tideway well - and we powered through not giving the pesky Thames an inch. We could see the crews we'd overtaken fall behind which only gave us extra fuel to keep pushing on.
Drawing close to Hammersmith Bridge we dug deep to give a big push off the back, encouraged by big cheers from our supporters up on the bridge and the knowledge that we were well over half way! With some big pushes on the legs we also carried out our third overtake of the race, leaving another crew behind.
The second half of the race really allowed us to come into our own, making the most of the (slightly) calmer water we settled into a strong solid rhythm to power us on.
As we approached the final kilometre we could see a crew pushing up on us and trying to overtake, but spurred on by the sight of their backs and Leah's calls to hold them off we made them fight hard for it and proved to be the stronger crew, holding them off all the way with our final build and push for the finish!
Absolutely knackered after crossing the line, we all felt it was a race to be proud of and we had certainly given it our all.
Next came what we all dreaded the most.... The long and painful row back and it's fair to say, it met our expectations. However, it was improved greatly by tales from Leah in the cox seat which kept us distracted from our aching muscles (and bursting bladders)!
A fantastic race, a performance to be proud of and a great result! 3 overtakes, we moved up 50 places and most importantly were the BEST UH WOMENS CREW! A big well done girls!!
Special mention goes to LEAH who saved the day once again (how RUMSBC will manage when she's not around I really don't know!) by stepping in to do a fantastic job coxing us down the course and allllll the way back!
Brilliant racing all round from both our RUMSBC women's crews, we have certainly shown again that we are the ones to beat! A great end to our head race season - next up, BUMPS!!
From a very proud captain, Joy Schmidt
W2 did not quite know what to expect from WEHoRR, as over half our crew - including the cox - had never raced it before, or in some cases never been to Putney at all! The day was quite gloomy and the water choppier than we are used to, but we set off with same determination we have had all year, and managed to use that nervous energy by settling into a nice punchy rhythm. A big push at Hammersmith bridge helped us through the last bits of the race, and before we knew it we were over the line! As ever, the row back was long and arduous but some music into the cox box saw us through. We returned to hear that we had a commendable time of 24.04 and had moved up five places! Well done to everyone for a great effort and a really enjoyable day, bring on bumps!
- Laura Cousins, W2 Captain
W1 finished in position 158 with a time of 23:23.3
W2 finished in position 209 with a time of 24:04.1
Full results can be seen at http://www.wehorr.org/results.htm