Promising signs at Wallingford Regatta

The women’s eight races under a beautiful sky late afternoon, while it all got too much for coach Iain.

With a much earlier training camp this season, the Town’s senior squads had longer to prepare for the first multi-lane regatta of the season than in previous years. Both the men’s and women’s squads entered a range of crews to test different combinations.

Claudia Holledge reports on the women’s entries in Club and Challenge Women’s Eights: 

We headed down on a beautiful morning to Eton Dorney to compete in Wallingford, one of the major Regattas of the season. We were full of a mix of excitement and nerves, especially the girls who just joined the senior squad from the development squad. For some of us It was not only the first time we would be racing together but the first time to race a regatta at all, so we were entering unknown territory.

Our first 2000 meter race in the morning was in club 8+ division against Agecroft, Vesta, Llandaff, City of oxford and X-press.  Although we were racing against a much higher category than ourselves, that didn’t dampen our spirits, and we raced a good solid race, working well together as a team, and putting into effect lots of training technique we had been learning throughout our time at camp and since we’ve been back.  Although the competition pulled away from us, we were happy with getting sub 8 minutes, and took a lot of lessons from the race to go forward into the next one, the main one being the need for a bit more aggression.

So with that in mind we went into our second race in the afternoon in challenge 8+ division against Headington, Marlow , St.Pauls and Curlew.  By this time the  conditions had worsened, and the water was very choppy with a strong cross wind.  Three boats pulled away and left a race between us and curlew  We rowed better this time together with more determination, focusing more on power than high rate. We had edged ahead by a fraction at the start and held that for most of the race, and then the final 750 meters they attempted to give a final push to get ahead of us, which we matched and pulled further away from them to beat them by a 7 second gap.

It was a great end to the day and left us all on a high and looking forward to what the rest of the summer had to offer!

Sophie Bluff reports on the women’s entries in Club and Challenge Women’s Coxed Fours: 

WChal4+: This was a straight final, and we knew that it was not going to be easy, with the likes of Thames, Wallingford, Godolphin & Latymer and Haberdashers all assembled on the startline. We drew lane 6, with Godolphin next to us.This was the first time we had raced as that crew, and we knew that it felt strong, but didn’t know how we would rate in comparison. We came strong off the start pipping up to 41, and managing to hold and draw ahead of Thames. We settled into a strong rhythm and although Thames did a push at the 1k mark and stormed into the lead, we were still fighting Wallingford for second place all the while opening the gap between ourselves and Godolphin & Haberdashers. As we pushed through the final 500m, Wallingford put on an extra squeeze and pipped us to second place. Final results saw us a mere 2 seconds behind Wallingford.

WClub4+: We knew this would be a tough heat, with the likes of AK, Vesta, City of Oxford, Furnivall and Thames. To make it through to the final, we either needed to win the heat or come within the fastest three losers over three heats. We drew lane 6 with furnivall next to us in lane 5. We came off the start and straight into a side by side battle with Furnivall. It was tough, with Furnivall giving it everything but we managed to walk through them as we passed through the halfway mark and then focussed on pushing away from them and starting to close the gap between ourselves and the City of Oxford. As we approached the last 500m, we stepped up the pace to keep our lead and crossed the line in 4th, although we had been hoping for at least 3rd. Results from all three heats saw us missing out on qualification to the final by one second as the fourth fastest loser (top 3 qualified)!

Overall, very strong performances from both crews, and a promising start to the Henley Women’s campaign!

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