After a thorough warmup that had W3 feeling limber and ready to fight for our place in the bumps, we were making our final preparations when we saw that we were lucky enough to have the college president, our very own Dame Barbara Stocking, as our cheerleader! With this encouragement we felt sure that we would bump, and were as prepared as we had ever been. As we sat there on the bank, the distant thump of the cannon marking each passing minute matching the thumping of our hearts, feeling a cocktail of anticipation and adrenaline running through our veins, we thought back to all the hours of preparation that had built up to this moment; the brutally early starts, the back-breaking work and the nail-bitingly close qualifier.
W3 entered the race with high hopes – having witnessed Lady Margaret III have a spectacular altercation with a tree the day before, and now being behind them, we could not help but wish for a repeat spectacle. Sadly, this was not to be, as throughout the race they remained tantalisingly, frustratingly close to us, by the end less than a foot away. Though we pumped at our oars with the power and regularity of machine pistons, rapidly outpacing Queens’ III and leaving them in our wake, ignoring the pain in our screaming muscles and the pent-up fatigue threatening to overwhelm us, try as we might we simply could not close the gap.
Then, almost as soon as it had started, the race was over. Another hundred metres and we would have bumped, I later learned from my coach. As we rested, shivering in the February wind, allowing our bodies to at last acknowledge the aches that come from such exertion, we were not swayed. Perhaps we did not make this bump, but I believe that victory awaits us on Thursday! To quote Dame Stocking, as she had been yelling at us throughout the race:
“COME ON MURRAY EDWARDS!”
Zoe Ye, bow