The Head of the River Race

The day that the men had been training for had arrived. This was the race that would see if the winters training and rowing in the eight had paid off. Would the cold nights down the rowing club for some and not so cold sessions in the gym for others show that it had all been worth it? Would the plan of rowing in eight’s at weekends benefit the crews or would another method have worked better.

The crew that had been picked for the first eight was Sam Dixon, Jeremy Fisher, Adrian Ablitt, Tony Moule, Tony Hogsbjerg, Kevin Last, Aidan Dunn and Samuel Hogsbjerg, with Claire Everest coxing. The river during the warm up had looked ideal for us, as it had been calm and flat. Oh what a surprise we had as we cleared Chiswick bridge. It wasn’t rough by tideway standards but it caught us unawares.

We knew that we had to get off to a good start, as we would be able to get into a strong rhythm and have a good row. It was the best start we had done in a race but not the best we could have managed. The choppy water unsettled the crew and so it took until after Barnes Bridge before a rhythm could be established. The biggest problem that the crew had faced was setting up a stable platform from which to work from. We worked through the middle part of the race (being overtaken by Mortlake Anglian and Alpha who finished 51st pushed the crew a bit). As we approached Hammersmith Bridge the boat started to pick up. As we were getting round the bend at Harrods we got another pick up as Pete Gostling and his Leander crew shouted for us. The boat was running smooth and I could feel the send at the finish.

All in all this was not the best row we could have produced and the result showed it, a finish position of 245 with a time of 19.48.7. I am disappointed with this result as I did have a target of 150 in mind. We could not complain about the boat as this was the clubs new 8 and so we all felt that this would make us go faster.

I do need to say a well done to Claire for her coxing as she steered an excellent course. We new that we must have been in the right part of the river when the cox of the Mortlake crew overtaking was shouting for us to move over and let them back into the stream, I feel that when a tideway crew wants you to move over you must be in the right place. As this was her first time steering on the tideway she did a fantastic job and I just wish we had rowed well enough for that to have really paid off.