Podium finish at Nat Champs
Putney Town women’s squad have brought some impressively shiny National Championships medals back to Mortlake after clinching bronze in the lightweight coxless four.
The crew started as a bit fun on training camp in Hazewinkle, Belgium, when coaches Tom Evens and Paul Keane decided to race the smaller four girls from the women’s first VIII (the skinnies) against the slightly bigger crew members (the heavies).
In a triumph against the odds, the skinnies took a win after finding an early rhythm. Thus the lightweight coxless four was born, both stroked and steered by Emma Wells, backed up by Hazel Tyldesley, Laragh Walton and Suzie Fairley.
Training for the Nat Champs began after the crew raced in the VIII at Henley Women’s Regatta. The lightweights tried to build on the race strategy acquired from competing in the larger boat, while striving to find the rhythm and fluidity that had come so easily in the coxless four on training camp. It was a challenge that was made harder by the need to adopt a low-fat, weight-loss diet in order to meet the 57kg average crew weight required to compete as lightweights.
On race day at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham, a brutal headwind made for painfully slow times. In the outside lane, Putney Town were buffeted off the start but kept control and soon found their rhythm, going through 500m in a very close third place.
By 1000m, the Molesey crew, who had been disqualified from HWR, took the race between their teeth and pushed out to take the lead. As Putney Town pulled away from Tideway Scullers, MAA produced a big push to keep their silver spot. In the final 1000m, all crews spread further apart, and even the final sprint perfected by PTRC women this year was not enough to catch the experienced MAA crew.
The bronze medals awarded to the Putney Town crew were nevertheless a welcome reward for a season of hard training.
Emma, Hazel, Laragh and Suzie would like to say a big thank you to their coaches Tom and Paul, to the PTRC women for their brilliant support, and to anyone who had to listen to their diet-related whinging for those four long weeks!