On the cold wet morning of the 25th of January, RUMSBC tried to remove the last remaining bit of Tour from our systems by taking to the Tideway once again to show what we are made off and take on the other UH crews in the last sprint race of the season; Winter Sprints.
With limited training due to busy schedules and really rather miserable weather on the day; it literally was going to be survival of the fittest.
The heroes of the day were the Men's Seconds and Men's Novices who were able to win their categories and keep RUMSBC in top position of the UH cup.
A call for a pre-race outing initially seemed like a stroke of genius from captain Alex Cowan, as M1 pulled off 5 of the best sprint pieces we'd done all season and we went into the first race against Barts with our confidence high. Unfortunately footplate issues left us unable to capitalise on a solid start, as Barts pulled ahead when we were forced to row without 5 or 6 seat. This spell of misfortune proved to be a big scare, and one that was too much for us to overcome. By the time our repechage race came around, we had psyched ourselves out, eventually producing a nervy display which ended in us losing to the Vets by less than a length. All in all, a day to forget for M1, but we look forward to the Head season, where our proficiency in land training gives us high hopes of winning medals.
Aubrey Capern-Burgess - M1 rower
Overall winter sprints was a good (if chilly) day for the women's squad. We may not have brought home the medals this time but with outings before and a strong effort from both crews in the races themselves it was a worthwhile day of training nonetheless!
W2 were up first against George's and after a slight wobble at the start they settled into a good pace and only narrowly lost out by a canvas. Excellent effort by all the girls and Greg for coxing his first sprint race!
W1 were also up against George's for their first race. After a strong start there came some confusion with the two boats getting a little too close to each other for comfort! This led to a slight mishap in the middle of the race, but W1 cox Hannah did such an excellent job at keeping calm and keeping us focused that we gained on George's all the way to the end, finishing less than half a length behind. Had the course been a little longer the win would have been in sight! W1 went on to have a further race in the repechage against RVC; which, after a well fought out start we went on to win by plenty of clear water.
Overall a great day which left us all excited to get into training for the next big race of the year and next chance at medals - UH Head!
Joy Schmidt - W1 Captain
After a very successful first term of rowing, the RUMS Men’s second VIII were eager to show that they were still the crew to beat in UH events. The crew welcomes in Tom Duggan, Tom Hughes, Jack Illingworth and Fabian Uys, as well as our cox, Julia Negreskul, entering her first ever RUMS race. Despite having only three outings as a set crew before the weekend, the boat was moving nicely and we were excited at the prospect of proving our dominance over the other UH crews. After some last minute repairs on the boat, we took to the water to face King’s College London. A strong start saw the RUMS boys take an early lead and we were soon half a length up. The pressure told, with King’s catching a crab and RUMS extending their lead to two boat lengths. Julia quickly used this lead to claim the fastest part of the stream and it was always going to be too much for King’s to come back into contention. Due to the tight timetable, we were soon back on the river to race the final against St. George’s. Another strong start saw us claim an early advantage and when Julia called for a big push, St. George’s were unable to respond and we moved a length up. A strong rhythm set by Tom Duggan made sure that the gap was maintained and a very determined effort by the entire crew ensured that we were crowned winners of UH Winter sprints. It was an incredibly rewarding win for all involved, especially seeing as none of us had ever won a UH event before. A massive congratulations to the whole crew, everyone gave it their all and the win was fully deserved.
Sam Jackson - M2 Captain
There was a strong sense of rivalry in the W2 camp on Sunday morning as we prepared for our first race against our main rival George's, who pipped us to the post at the last sprint race by a mere canvas. As we readied ourselves on the start line, you could feel the tension and anticipation in the air...and then we were off!! After a slightly shaky start from a strange choice of alignment we were off and leading, just like last time, by halfway. However, despite some brilliant rowing it wasn't quite enough, as George's overtook at the end, and beat us by a canvas again! They went on to win the competition so a big well done to George's, but they had better watch out for UH head!!! Special mention goes to our fantastic cox Greg, who absolutely smashed his first ever race. We'll get them next time girls!!
Laura Cousins - W2 Captain
Having not raced in over two months, and having not rowed over the Chirstmas period nerves for the UH sprints were running high. After all that Christmas turkey we didn’t quite know what the result would be, however we trained hard in the first two weeks of term, and managed to pull it off. Due to there only being three boats in the race, we were entered into a draw to see who would automatically get to the final, and the result saw George’s sail straight in to the final heat. This meant our first race was against the Vets. With tension running high due to the re-race at the Allom cup, we had to prove that we were the stronger team, and that we could beat them with no questions asked. We successfully managed this by respectfully giving Beth their number 4, and winning by half a boat length.
So in to the final. Racing a team we were yet to beat. The excitement was high as we got the Dilworth ready to row one last time. Out on the starting line we knew it was now or never to prove that we were the best UH Novice Boys Team, and that’s exactly what we did. Not only did Beth get to their number four, by the end of the race she easily had a boat length of clear water. To continue the tradition from the Allom Cup, we paddled back with “Shake It Off” on good old radio Dilworth. It was a great day, and are appreciation goes out to Beth, for all her support and encouragement, to Simon, for all the training he does with us, and finally for Captain McLay, who has helped us achieve two medals in four months of medical school. Without this great team behind us none of this would have been possible!
Rob Wescott - MN rower
The first sunday after tour it was safe to say none of us were feeling top of our game... but mild mental scarring, liver cirrhosis and respiratory trauma aside, it was exciting to be back racing! With ICSM out of the running due to their own 'crazy' tour antics there were only 3 other teams and we were up against GKT in our first race. It was a shaky start with what could be described as 'not the best' timing, but Kings caught a crab giving us time to settle into a steady rhythm and then we were flying to a strong finish with a decent amount of clear water. Through to the final we faced our nemesis RVC, who we were desperate to beat after losing to them at Novice sprints (and amusingly almost ejecting their cox from their boat). It was a better start than the first but after some messy blade clashing we fell behind and sadly couldn't pull it back to victory. Despite earlier threats, at least Tom Hughes generously decided that it would not be necessary to re-initiate us.
The novice girls are now more desperate than ever to get some medals, bring on UH head!
Tahlia Spink - WN rower
Sprints are now behind us and UH Head is in sight. With training camp happening this weekend and only a few weeks to go until the big day now is the time things get serious.
All erg playlists are set to 'hardcore rap'. Training is being stepped up. Circuits is full to bursting with sweaty rowers. People are even doing burpees for the entire minute. There is steely determination in the eyes of all and an eagerness to prove once and for all that we are the best UH team on the Tideway.
RUMSBC are getting ready.
4 weeks to go.