We pushed off from the boathouse in bright sunshine and high spirits, but turned our focus to the boat as we rowed up to marshall for our first race against LMBC. We anticipated tough competition and used the warm up to concentrate on technique and prepare ourselves for the race. At our marshalling station, we made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed watching the races come down from the previous division. All too soon, we were told to get back in the boat and prepare ourselves for the final row down to the start.
Nerves ran high as we came to front-stops and lined up side by side with LMBC at the starting line, but as the umpire shouted GO and Georgie began to call the draws, they were quickly forgotten in the heat of the race. We were not as quick off the start as we would have liked, and began to fall slightly behind from an early stage. We were determined not to be beaten that easily though, and gave a huge push into and out of the railway bridge, making the most of our corner, and suddenly finding ourselves no longer three-quarters of a length behind, but drawing level, and, eventually, pulling away from the other boat. Gaining new found energy from the prospect of actually winning, despite having initially fallen so far behind, we pushed hard into the finish, and ended up winning the race by a length. Needless to say, we were all extremely happy, and more than a little surprised that we had managed to pull it back. There was little time to celebrate however, as we were quickly told to spin, and row back up the course to marshall for our second race against Fitz.
Back at our marshalling station, we re-fuelled on Haribo, and tried to forget the fact that, while we had just had a tough race, Fitz would be rowing fresh… About 40 minutes later, after a motivating pre-race talk by Alex, we found ourselves back on the starting line. This time we planned to do a faster start, but as Georgie called the draws, and then the winds, we could already feel ourselves slipping behind, and by the time we were lengthening, Fitz were starting to pull away. Keeping focused and determined, we pushed on through the course, but this time, our push through the railway bridge was not enough, and while we did manage to reduce their lead, we could not pull back the distance we had already lost and over take them.
As it later turned out, however, Fitz went on to come second to Downing in the final, so we went out losing to an excellent boat, and a picnic of Reana’s amazing race baking at the boat house soon dispelled any feelings of disappointment.
Emma Jones (Stroke)