All properly carbed up, we gathered bright and early at the boathouse, knowing we’d be there for quite a long time, since we were marshalling on the hard and were last but one in our division. We thus just stayed around with our first boat, waiting for the bank to be clear to get Owen out. This gave us plenty of time to become more and more nervous as we wanted to do our best considering we were a very fresh crew and had very few outings to get ready for the race. The initial plan was then to close the gate on the men’s VIII that was to follow us and to make it as hard as possible for them to overtake us. But as we pushed for the start and settled into a nice rhythm, it soon became obvious to our cox Nadia that she will have to change the race plan. It was clear before Chesterton that we were gaining on the St Catz boat ahead and that we will have to overtake them. Yet, I was not aware of this and was thus quite worried when as we were pushing the railway bridge away, I started to hear, on top of the loud shouting of Ying and Watson, the calls of another girl. My first thought was that something had happened to one of bow 4 and it was only when Nadia asked for repetitive pushes for ten that I realised it was the voice of the coach of the St Catz boat we were actually overtaking!!
We were all very happy to have overtaken one boat but this would not satisfy Nadia. When we were steering along the corners and pushing away from St Catz, she set her mind on catching up with the Sidney boat ahead! Sending the corners away and pushing for the last stretch under the motorway bridge, she called for more and more power until we overtook Sidney on the finish line and under the eyes of our W1! That was overall such an epic race – “like Bumps, but longer” to quote Ying – and I cannot tell how proud I am of this fresh crew quickly coming up together to be, after four only outings, the fastest college senior second VIII in Fairbairn’s! WELL DONE W2 AND BRING ON LENT!
Pauline Pilote, W2