Fairbairns 2016: Novice crew Cleopatra

1st of December 2016. It was the final race that we had been preparing for all term so it was obviously exciting for us as a crew. However, since some of our own crew members could not make it to the race because of other commitments, the captains had to find other novices to sub for them, and while this meant that we had not had prior training as a full crew before, it was still great because it meant that we had a full crew to race in Fairbairns.

The weather had been particularly chilly the day before the race and most of us had expected it to continue into the day of the race, but fortunately, the weather took a nice turn and the sun came out just as we were about to set off. I rowed in the number 5 position on bow-side, and although I prefer to row on the stroke-side, having rowed on both sides through the term while subbing in other crews made me confident enough to be able to switch sides as needed.

We were off to a great start once the race began – the cox said we were rowing at around 27 spm. However, one of the crew who had not rowed with us before ended up crabbing three times through the race, and since she was not able to get her blade back after continued effort and all of bow four dropping out, we had to stop rowing every time and start over, which meant that we didn’t end up doing nearly as well as we would have liked to. However, the team spirit shown by the entire crew in the boat was incredible, and we pushed ourselves to row on, motivating each other to catch up with the boats around us, and I believe we nearly did.

It was a great experience overall, and while it might not seem like we did well to someone who hadn’t seen us on the river, I know that all of us feel like we gave our best.

Neeraja Bhamidipati