It was the third day of Bumps for W3, and there was a feeling of apprehension amongst the crew. Our inability to catch King’s the previous day before they caught Anglia Ruskin meant that we now had to face the possibility of being bumped by Darwin from behind if once again we were not speedy enough in bumping. Four of our crew met for a crew lunch at the Fort Saint George, where we discussed tactics with Ying and Reana – essentially, we had to ‘fly or die’.
Our row up went without problems. Theoretically we could pull this off, as we had almost caught King’s, who had caught Anglia Ruskin; therefore, we could catch Anglia Ruskin too. However, as we marshalled, the Darwin coach approached us, asking if we were intending to bump today, and to clear the river quickly after our obstruction of their crew on the Wednesday. Odd.*
Our start was very strong – we got a shout out on Cam FM for best start in the division, in fact – and as the race began our chances looked good. We took a tight corner on Grassy and gained three whistles on Anglia Ruskin, but we were not quite able to seal the deal, and a wide corner later, Darwin came out of nowhere to bump us out of Ditton. However, this was by far the best rowing we had done as a crew, and I was very proud of us.
Clara Percival, 2
*N.B. It would seem that Darwin had been planning to overbump once we had caught Anglia Ruskin, to put them at the top of the division, as they clearly had been holding back on power; this was further emphasised the following day when they caught Anglia Ruskin in under a minute.
It was the second day of our Bumps campaign. We were motivated by the success of the previous day, when we had bumped Fitzwilliam’s W2 in fewer than fifty strokes. Now we were chasing King’s W2, and we knew that this boat wouldn’t be easy prey. However, we were ready to give everything we had to catch them.
The weather was nice, sunny and warm, though there was a head wind blowing downstream and against the direction of the race, thus making our job more difficult. Two of our alumnae, Reana and Ying, followed us to the start and supported us during the whole of the race. The start was nerve-wracking. We waited for the first cannon, then the second, then the third, and then started with our first draw and wind strokes. After a powerful start sequence, we went off at a very firm rate, cutting the first corner, then being very risky on Grassy Corner, going very fast, hearing whistles all the while. Our cox shouted that we were so close, and I wondered how close we actually were. Our power was dropping with each stroke, until we were asked to hold it up. After a moment of confusion, we realised that King’s had bumped Anglia Ruskin, who were at the top of our division. We were so close to bumping them that we had to stop as well, and we were awarded a technical row over.
On the way back to the boathouse, we were not able to calm our racing hearts, or our coughs – the kind of cough that appears after a sprint and which makes you feel like you are tasting blood. Even though we did not bump, it was an unforgettable racing day for me.
Lisa Al-Faradzh, 3
W3 arrived at the boathouse on Wednesday, nervous but excited for the first day of our Bumps campaign. We were bolstered by the sight of alumnae Reana and Ying, whose experience and wisdom were reassuring for our crew, composed of still relatively new rowers! Stocked up with sweets and water, we made our way down to the P&E in plenty of time. We watched the first couple of M5 boats come down, but unfortunately then heard that there had been an incident in the division that would delay ours significantly. Not to be deterred, we took the opportunity for a quick photo shoot with the President Dame Barbara, who had arrived to bank party us.
Eventually, it was time to make our way down to the start, and after another slight delay, the one-minute cannon was fired. Pushed off the bank and coming forward to front stops, we anticipated the start cannon. Off it went, and the crew began our new start sequence developed by Gen, our coach this term. Albeit slightly messy, we held the start together and then settled into a nice, if slightly fast, rhythm. Before we knew it we heard, one, two, three, and then continuous whistles – we had bumped Fitz W2 in no time! We pulled into the far bank at first post corner – which somewhat awkwardly was full of Fitzwilliam supporters! Nonetheless, we celebrated a successful first day, and rowed home with smiles on our faces, ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Jules Thompson, 5
It was W3’s first race of the term, and as we warmed up on the ergs and practised our start sequence, we were feeling confident and ready to go. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed a leisurely row up to Baits Bite Lock before marshalling just upstream of First Post Corner. Having arrived with plenty of time to spare and being one of the last crews in the division to race meant we and could sit back enjoy the sun. As the division started, we made our way up to the starting buoy (following a heated discussion with coach Gen about the pronunciation of the word buoy). After coming to frontstops, we stormed out of the blocks with the best start we’ve ever managed as a crew, and this gave us the confidence to put the power down and keep the rating up. We approached the finish line with a strong power ten and finished in 4th place in our division, a result we were extremely pleased to have achieved, and which puts us in a fantastic position for Bumps at the end of term.
Issy Pearce-Mason, stroke
It was the last day of Bumps and, actually, the first time during the campaign we rowed as a complete crew. The race results table showed our record as a straight line which meant that we were not bumped but also that we did not bump either. This time we definitely wanted to catch the boat in front of us and all the augurs were in our favour.
Rowing to the starting point, the boat was sat and moved so smoothly that we were all much encouraged. I thought that being with the crew with which you spent so many hours on the river and off it really makes a difference. While waiting for the starting canon, we went out of the boat, ate lots of sweets, made photos…and felt a bit nervous when the shots rung out marking the start of the men’s crews race.
Our starting sequence was effective and very soon our cox, “the queen of the corners”, begun to tell us that we are very close to our rivals. The only thought I had was “How close is this very close?”. Before the start we decided that our coach, Paivi, will shout “Tequilla” to call upon all our power to push the boat harder and bump. Even if I did not hear this call, I pushed with all my might, hearing the whistles, people shouting from the bank, but I did not understand what was happening and where we were, I was just pushing hard. Everything happened very quickly and we bumped Lucy Cavendish/Hugh Hall W3 just after the Newnham bridge. “That is it?” was my first thought after Paivi called us to hold it up. After some minutes of confusion, we moored to the bank, made photos and felt very happy and proud.
Lisa Al-Faradzh, 5
It is the third consecutive day that we row over. Some of us were somewhat tired after rowing 2K at a rate of about 35 on two consecutive days. However, we kept encouraging one another and kept the morale high.
The short delay before the start of the race added to the suspense of the wait. After having only nearly missed the chance to bump Maggie yesterday, we were determined to bump them today. Initially we did gain on them by about a quarter length but they kept the distance constant. Some of us started panicking when Queen’s started gaining on us but we got it back together soon afterwards. It was quite nerve-racking when we heard the sound of whistle which we were not sure was for Jesus gaining on Queen’s or for Queen’s gaining on us. It was not before long when Jesus bumped Queen’s and Maggie bumped Lucy Cav/Hughes, leaving only us and Clare which was three boats ahead of us. We didn’t stop putting pressures down our legs in case Clare accidentally crashed. Unfortunately, we had no luck of bumping Clare although we caught up with them slightly.
We are resolved to bump Lucy Cav/Hughes on Saturday with a full crew!
Katherine Wong, 6
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
I think it’s safe to say W3 felt surprised and scared to have made it onto Bumps – a new experience for us all!
After the success of our races this term in the Newnham Short Course and naturally the Getting On Race there was a certain expectation amongst us for our first ever Bumps.
We were racing in fourth place in our division: Lucy/Hughes, Maggie and Clare in front, Jesus and Queens behind. As we were lining up the tension was rising; we had only practised Bumps starts that morning and the weather seemed to be (quite literally) turning against us, as the wind became fiercer.
We heard the cannons sound and suddenly it was the final countdown and then we were off! Jesus seemed to be gaining on us at first, but caught a crab and the rest of the way were fending off Queens for as long as possible before they were inevitably bumped. So the pressure was off in that respect…. However with continuing calls from Emily and Païvi that we were approaching Clare quite quickly we put everything we had into our strokes. Unfortunately Maggie had crashed into a tree allowing for Clare to bump them too, leaving only us in the race to row over.
It was an exciting but terrifying first experience of Bumps. Hopefully we’ll catch up to Maggie tomorrow.
Clara Percival, stroke
The anxiety and excitement surrounding the getting-on race had been building ever since we had achieved a good time in the Newnham Short Course race – we had even surprised ourselves. This time, we couldn’t see a term’s worth of intense training go to waste. We had something to prove – W3 are a serious and competitive crew. We were coming back with a vengeance.
We have never raced in bad weather before and the sun certainly didn’t disappoint. However, the closure of the river the previous day due to storm Doris had left its mark in high winds for our race. Nerves were building.
In our paddle up to marshalling we were rowing reasonably well. An encounter with a rather narky bank party put a few of us off before the big moment but this only added to our determination; we wouldn’t let that crew catch us in the race.
We were really together in our standing start but the high wind and pressure gave us a few tricky patches. We stooped down to a rate 27 but we had been working on bringing this down for weeks. In every single stroke we all gave it our all and finished off with 2 power tens that brought us speeding through the finish line.
We were exhilarated to have finished but for some reason this race had seemed so much harder than the others – we were all in pain for the final few strokes. We had no idea how well we had done, other than that we had done our best and were proud of each other.
The wait for the result was worse than exam results, but now we’ve got on, the River Cam better watch out for our W3 – we’re getting stronger every day.
Bethany Cross, 4
The Newnham short course was the first race for some of us in a senior crew in W3. We were all very excited to see how much we have improved since novice term. Although one of our crew members injured her back earlier in the week, we managed to find a sub in order to race.
The weather was sunny and warm for February- a perfect day for rowing. We were off to a strong start once the race began, with a great start sequence we had tried to perfect many times during training sessions. We maintained race pace at rate 31 spm throughout the first part of the race. Halfway through the race, some of us were starting to get tired, but with persistence and continued encouragement from our cox and coach on the bank, we maintained the pace and finished strongly with a power ten. This was certainly the best 2km we as a crew have ever done, and even managed to beat a few W2 and one W1 crew in total racing time!
We were all cheering and smiling happily rowing back to the boat house, knowing all the training and fitness sessions have paid off. Special thanks to Päivi for coaching us this term and giving us so much invaluable advice and tips. We are now looking forward to other races happening this term, having the confidence that we can do well.
Vanessa Cheung, 2