HWR Race Reports

Development Squad IV+

The Development  crew  entered the Academic Coxed IVs event for the Cathy Cruickshank Trophy not knowing what level of competition to expect, but confident in the strong rowing rhythm they had developed over the few weeks they’d been training together. The qualifying time trial gave them the perfect chance to test out their calls over the course and settle into a lower rate, longer length, greater-cover rowing style. They were met with success, one of 16 crews out of 31 to book their place in the regatta.

The first round race was against UEA. Although the CUWBC crew’s start was a little slower, they pulled back the difference quite rapidly and by 500m were half a length up. A strong race rate, spurred on by a commit call just after the Enclosures, enabled them to power their way to a 2 length victory.

In the quarter final, they were expecting to be up against a tough, well prepared
opponent. The wind had picked up, and unfortunately the Berkshire Station bore the brunt of the challenging conditions. The crew held steadfast in their long rowing style, but ultimately the University of York dealt with the conditions better, pulling away off the start and gradually increasing that lead down the course. Just prior to the crossing line, the York strokegirl caught a crab giving cox Harriet Boswell the opportunity to rally her crew to make a huge push to the finish line. It wasn’t quite enough and York just managed to cross the finish line sideways to take the victory.

Harriet said afterwards, “I am very proud of the crew and how fast we came together for Henley. I am eagerly looking forward to development squad in the hope of more good rowing and racing success.”

Photograph courtesy of Gordon Lawrence.

Elite IV-

After an exciting BUCS final at the beginning of the term, this year’s Blue Boat crew resolved to take a coxless IV to Henley Women’s Regatta to compete in the elite category for the Avril Vellacott Cup.

Having arrived on Thursday evening they were able to enjoy a relaxed day on the Friday, paddling in the morning and afternoon, and setting themselves into a strong position to face Boston College’s B crew from the USA, in the quarter-final. Friday also gave them the opportunity to support the development four from the bank, in their race against UEA.

The crew had had some strong outings at Ely, and though Henley provided some greater challenges in terms of steering and wash from other crews, the training paddles allowed them to step on and work on a cohesive rhythm. They were eager to retain this under the pressure of the heat with Boston, and with the gusting headwind they recognised that their finishes would also be crucial. After a start which proved challenging for bow-girl, Emily Day, to steer the crew through, they opened up a gap of two or three lengths over the Boston crew, which was maintained for the duration of the course. They got off the water after the race against Boston feeling disappointed not to have met the challenging conditions as confidently as they had hoped: They were all keen to step on and bring a better quality of rowing to the semi-final.

They knew that only the very best performance would allow them to compete with the next opposition, the GB U23 composite. Although rowing better on the Sunday, and in harder conditions, the GB crew had pulled away from them by the end of Temple Island and were then able to continue opening up the gap. The GB crew duly proceeded to win the final. With three of the CUWBC crew hoping to trial for the GB U23 squad next year, it was certainly a great experience and an opportunity to see the standard of performance to which they will be aiming to match and compete against at trials.

Three girl, Melissa Wilson commented, “The long weekend was a brilliant opportunity for us to compete in a location which means a great deal to any female rower competing for Oxford or Cambridge. Having grown in confidence in our eight, we want to progress a lot further with the quality of rowing we sustain in smaller boats and this was a great chance to initiate that development.”