CUW Lightweights at Henley Head

Progress Report 23/02

The mornings are getting lighter, and training pieces on the water at Ely are becoming short, fast and very competitive. This can only mean one thing: the Henley Boat Races are drawing close. Since the lightweight crew was announced, we’ve been working hard to produce the only acceptable result on Boat Race Day – a Cambridge victory. The attention to detail of our coach, James Appleton, has already produced significant technical changes, both individually and as a crew. The lightweights work hard – that’s a given – but we’re also determined to get the most out of each leg drive or swing to the finish by maximising our efficiency and focussing on our ‘process goals’.

The merits of this approach were evident in our first race as a crew at Henley HOR on Saturday. We posted a time of 11:51 over 3km, 3 seconds behind Tethys, the Oxford Lightweight Crew. For us, this result indicates that the Boat Race on 27th March is ours for the taking. We were able to identify specific improvements which can be made to our racing performance, and started work on these the very next day, in training on the Henley Reach. The opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the Boat Race course was invaluable, and it was a particular treat to boat from Leander Club, where we appreciated the luxury of heated changing rooms!

As you can probably tell from the Introduction to the crew, we have formed quite a formidable unit over the past few months! Crew meals, 5.55am train journeys to Ely and the hours spent together on training camp have forged strong bonds (as well as some bizarre in-jokes…). Since crew selection, the girl next to us on the erg has ceased to be a rival, and become an ally. While we are an eclectic assortment of characters, we’re absolutely united in our goal, and are taking every opportunity, every stroke of every session, to achieve it.

32 days…