On Saturday 23rd March the lightweight women kicked off a busy weekend of closely fought Tideway fixtures and the historic Lightweight Men’s Boat Race with a match against University of Bristol Boat Club.
Side by side matched racing between two crews forms an important part of Boat Race preparation. Jess Godden (Emmanuel College) and her crew were set to race University of Bristol Boat Club over two pieces along the Championship Course. The fixture was a part of the final preparations ahead of the Lightweight Women’s Boat Race at Henley on Saturday 30th March.
“The Lightweight Women have had a great week of preparation on the Tideway leading up to this with the crew gaining speed exponentially through the week and Coach Astrid Cohnen has been very happy with how cohesive the rowing has become. In the racing against Bristol we were looking to exercise both our race strategy and tactical pushes, and we were able to row as we planned. This has helped developed further self confidence to take to our Boat Race next weekend and we are very grateful to Bristol for travelling down to the Tideway and being our training partners!” commented Lightweight Captain, Jess Godden.
The first piece, from a standing start, began to the roars and cheers of a packed Putney Embankment. Bristol pulled out to an early three seat lead as the crews were warned by Umpire Clare Harvey. The racing was close and tight, with Cambridge pulling back as they came along the Fulham Wall. Cambridge pulled ahead round the Fulham bend, on the Middlesex station to finish the piece with a lead of over ¾ length.
The two crews paddled through Hammersmith before coming side by side again at the end of the Eyot to start a second piece from a standing start at the Bandstand. This time Cambridge had the better start and took approximately ½ a length in the first 500m before moving out to a length’s lead by Barnes. Through Barnes Bridge, Bristol had the advantage of the Surrey station and managed to hold Cambridge at that distance before a final Cambridge burst in the final 500m gave them clear water.
“It was exciting to see the lightweight women race so well against a well drilled crew from Bristol. They rowed well, and their fitness won out. I should think it’s a big confidence boost for them heading into final preparations for the race with Oxford.” said Robert Weber, Chief Coach.
Many thanks to Cameron Kennedy and Ed Bloomfield for bringing their team to Putney to race. Brilliant to have Cambridge alum, Clare Harvey act as Race Umpire for us. As ever, many thanks to Thames Rowing Club for hosting the crew.
Cox Dylan Whitaker (King’s College)
Florence Alexander (Sidney Sussex College)
Lou Brett (Fitzwilliam College)
Gemma King (St John’s College)
Catherine King (Gonville & Caius College)
Jess Godden (Emmanuel College)
Chiara Avancini (Newnham College)
Victoria Walker (Gonville & Caius College)
Laura Stewart (Pembroke College)