To celebrate the end of term, the CUWBC open-weights decided to hop in the mini-buses and make the trek to London. This year marked the 75th Women’s Eights Head of the River Race and it seemed like a great chance to test things out on the full Tideway course. The weekend brought surprisingly calm conditions and even a few glimmers of sunshine.
With over 300 crews entered in the race, both the CUWBC A and B lineups were lucky to start 52nd and 55th respectively. These starting positions will be even better next year, since the crews finished 5th and 15th overall, with the A crew winning the University Pennant.
The A lineup started between two Great Britain composite boats, but ended up rowing most of the race seemingly alone on the Tideway. Ahead, crew #51 was a star-studded lineup, which just kept inching away to win the headship. Behind, crew #53 consisted of an assortment of U23 contenders from across the UK.
Ashton Brown (2 seat in the A lineup) describes the race:
“After a quick start, we moved steadily away from the crews behind and settled into the race rhythm we’ve been refining in the past few weeks. Although we didn’t have to pass any crews, we stuck to our race plan and executed some of the technical focuses we have been working on. It was exciting to be able to race the whole course, even though it was in the wrong direction!”
The B lineup especially enjoyed some exciting side by side tussles with overtaking Leander and Molesey crews and pushed on well through a choppy middle section of the course. A solid and consistent piece resulted in a time of 20:54.5, 15th place overall and first university B crew by 15 seconds.
CUWBC A – Hannah Evans, Ashton Brown, Caroline Reid, Claire Watkins, Melissa Wilson, Holly Hill, Hannah Roberts, Fanny Belais, Rosemary Ostfeld (c)
CUWBC B – Valentina Futoryanova, Evelyn Boettcher, Sarah Gibson, Rachel Elwood, Gabriella Johansson, Holly Game, Izzy Vyvyan, Catherine Foot, Katie Klavenes (c)