There were some funny sights on the Cam as Ariel, Murray Edwards’ NW1 boat, rowed up to the start line of Emma Sprints – many colleges had put as much effort into their fancy dress as their training. Cox Alicia Caunter was dressed as Santa and the 8 rowers as her reindeer. As we made our way amongst pirates, Crayola crayons and Dalmatians, we tried to remember the techniques which would give us extra speed required to win – squaring our blades early, sitting tall, and level hand heights to sit the boat.
The race begins from a stationary start, and we were told that many sprints are won and lost in the racing start. We knew we had to focus but nerves were high. As the race began, we were out of time but not looking too bad. Then, disaster struck and Darwin blades battered our bow-side blades and even Santa Claus herself. We managed to pull away from the other boat and set up a good race pace which re-focussed our crew as we crossed the finish line in first.
The next heat was against Christ’s College, and we knew it was going to be tough from the off. We had a good start but unfortunately it was not as strong as Christ’s, who quickly took the lead – by less than a boat length. We refused to let that dishearten us and kept pressure on the legs and focussing on techniques and timing. We could feel the other boat slipping away from us and unfortunately we crossed the line in close second with only a length between the two boats.
It was a different style of racing to what any of us had done before and we found it a lot of fun. Onwards and upwards to Fairbairns!