After Tideway we turned our concentration to strengthening and expanding our squad. Four new rowers did our Learn to Row sessions with two following on to join our main squad outings. In April we run our annual coxing school outings where all our squad are encouraged to give coxing a go which has expanded our pool of coxes. And as the Spring Head races and regatta started some of our more Novice rowers had the opportunity to race with our more experienced rowers in the Radegund Mile and Champs head to give them good quality race experience. Our first crew supported by the rest of the squad won the Women’s Novice VIII in the Spring Head to Head and Champs Head some winning their first On-Cam pots. It was pleasing to have two VIIIs enter the City Sprints and for many of the second crew it was their first regatta. The first crew won their heat and semi-final but missed out on winning by a canvas to Champs Junior Girls in the final. At the Nines Spring regatta a crew representing the whole squad won their heat and went straight through to the Final against the Cantabs IM3 Dev Squad this time missing out by half a length but a very pleasing result given the mixed experience of the crew.
The Off-Cam crew started training for the National Masters and the Peterborough Regatta. Unfortunately we didn’t secure a place at The National Masters as the event was over-subscribed.
On the Saturday we raced on the Women’s Novice VIII. We won our heat confidently and so secured a place in the final. In the final we were up against Warwick Uni, 99s and City. The times in the heat had between within a couple of seconds so we thought we were in with a chance. However, in the final Warwick Uni got it together and won. We came second ahead of 99s and City so a good result although mixed with disappointment of missing out on the elusive Novice pot.
On Sunday we entered a Women’s Novice IV . There was a large field of 10 other crews from all over the country so we had no idea how we’d do. We won our heat and were 11 seconds faster than all the other crews so we entered the final with nervous expectation. It was good solid row and we led the field from the beginning and finished comfortable winners 8 seconds ahead of our nearest rivals 99s. Winning our Novice pots and two points due to the size of the entry.
So as we turn our attention to Bumps Chesterton Women enter the dark and scary world of IM3…
We went to Peterborough Spring Regatta. You may talk of your "Met" or your "Henley" but for us, Peterborough is the Big Time. Adding spice to the mix this year, our ladies were an VIII on the first day and a IV on the second, whilst we men had an VIII in the second day and two renegades rowing with City on the Saturday.
Dun good. They put a spirited performance on the Saturday, winning their heat (beating Nines, City and U Coll London) but coming second to Warwick U in the final.
More excitingly, on the Sunday they won their heat easily, and put in clearly the fastest time; the final was no different and they won by 8 seconds over their nearest rivals, Nines. Since it was a large field, they even got two points apiece for this feat and the long dearth of points in the ladies club is now over. The only rather minor irritation was that, had they entered the Saturday VIII, they'd have likely won that too.
Here's most of us, relaxing on the Saturday:
Its a hard life at regattas: 5% wild excitement mixed with 95% relaxation. Fortunately the weather was kind.
Well, we were heroic, obviously. On Saturday Paul Holland and I (responding to an anguished mid-week email from Tom) joined the Nahorski City boyz for an IM3 VIII. We got there bright and early - 8 - towing our trailer and ready for a paddle on the Nene to settle us into the crew. Which was just as well; they're big and powerful but perhaps a fraction rougher, or perhaps just different, to our style; and anyway its ages since I've not stroked a boat; so we settled.
For the race, we came second in our heat our heat in 3:13.4, a fairly comfortable 3 seconds ahead of number 3, one of the Putney eights. The semi, alas, did not go so well: we dropped down to 3:16 and came third to Broxbourne (3:05, the winners) and Warwick U (3:12). And we'd have come fifth in the final, had we got into it.
Here we are with them. I'm rubbish at faces and names, but I think Nahorski is on the right. Strangely, this pic makes us look smaller than them; how odd.
Started well: we beat De Monfort, Champs and a Putney crew to win our heat in 3:15, thus avoiding the Rep, and giving us nothing to do except lounge around in the sunshine all day, which was not burdensome, and watching the ladies, which was fun.
Some of us had come well prepared for lounging:
But I'll spare you the Great White Whale. Alas, the final was not to be ours: indeed, we came last in 3:17. Such is life. We consoled ourselves with the thought that we'd get better and come back for the Summer Regatta.
Oh, and who were we? Me / Ian / Andy S / Chris W / Paul H / Dave R / Will W / Dave I; ably coxed by Mr Tidy.