LENT BUMPS 2017: DAY 1 W1 RACE REPORT

Wednesday was the first day of Lent Bumps for W1. It also was their first Bumps race for three of our crew members, making the day even more exciting. We arrived at the boathouse full of positive energy and determination. We knew it would be a tough day, but we were ready to fight! After a confident warm-up, a few decent practice starts and encouragement from President Barbara, we were finally ready for the race. After the canon went off, we had a solid start that propelled us at a good race pace, keeping Churchill W1 away. However, Churchill constantly reminded us every stroke counts by slowly gaining on us, getting one whistle on us after the first post corner. In the meantime, the distance between Girton W1 in front of us and our boat didn’t seem to shorten. We had a good rhythm and lengthened our strokes to try to reduce the gap. Suddenly, as we approached grassy corner, Christina said in the cox box she was about to overtake Girton! Everything went very quickly from there. As there have been no whistle for us, we were very confused to see Girton’s cox surrender. We then realised they made an unforgiving bad line on grassy corner and crashed their boat. Christina’s perfect steering finished them off: it is a bump!

Emma Roth, 7

LENT BUMPS 2017: DAY 2 W3 RACE REPORT

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

LENT BUMPS 2017: DAY 2 W2 RACE REPORT

W2 arrived at the Boathouse on Wednesday afternoon keen and ready for their second day of bumps, with some nerves present for those of us crew members who had been unable to row on the previous day! Being keen beans, we pushed off with plenty of time to spare, and were the first crew to make it to the P&E to marshal. Having had a moment to stretch our legs, we were soon back in the boat and doing some good practice pieces on the way to the start. At this point, we heard that Eddie’s, the sandwich boat, had failed to turn up! This meant that the head boat, Clare, would be awarded a technical bump, provided they could get past the first post, and so Hughes/Lucy in 2nd would be rowing the full course – unless we could bump them first! The cannon sequence soon started and we got going. We made a strong few starting strokes, however we seemed to struggle with our rhythm and ratio, and soon this translated into our power output. Although we pushed up and got a whistle on the Hughes/Lucy boat, unfortunately Queen’s W2 were very hot on our tails and ending up bumping us around Grassy Corner. We were disappointed, as we know how well we can row together. We hope to come back on Friday after our rest day with renewed focus and prove to ourselves and our supporters the true extent of our abilities!

Jules Thompson, 3

LENT BUMPS 2017: DAY 1 W2 RACE REPORT

It was the first day of Lent Bumps, and W2’s first race since our brilliant performance at Pembroke Regatta a couple of weeks previously, and I think we were all simultaneously excited and terrified! As third in our division, behind Wolfson and Clare, it’s safe to say we were all feeling the pressure, but I endeavoured to keep everyone calm and collected (or as close to that as we could get, because after all, it is Bumps). We had some brilliant subs with us, who hadn’t rowed with us and almost certainly had no idea what to expect, but they were all amazing, and we’re very grateful to them!

Most of us hadn’t rowed (or in my case, coxed) in Bumps before, but we had been practising standing starts and doing plenty of pieces in anticipation. This certainly paid off on the row down, as we managed to get in some good rowing, and our practice start outside the Plough was also great. However, the nerves that had ebbed and flowed since getting into the boat made themselves known again once we were parked at our station; this was probably not helped by the weather, which had begun to deteriorate between marshalling and finally reaching our station, and would eventually descend into rain on the row home. The adrenaline seemed to kick in, though, when the four-minute and one-minute guns were fired, and when the start gun eventually sounded, we made a strong start, gaining half a boat length on Clare pretty quickly. Unfortunately, Clare then pulled away, and we had a very strong Hughes Hall/Lucy Cavendish crew bearing down on us from behind. W2 gave it all they had, though, and we managed to pull away from their overlap three times before we were eventually bumped! We then had an excellent row home, with some particularly nice timing when squaring and at the finishes.

I’m so proud of W2 (and again, so grateful to our subs), and hopefully we can take our lead back against Hughes Hall/Lucy Cav tomorrow!

Alice Levin, cox

LENT BUMPS 2017: DAY 1 W3 RACE REPORT

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

PEMBROKE REGATTA: W1 RACE REPORT

Having had a few more weeks of training since the Head to Head race that started the term off, W1 arrived to the boathouse in good spirits, ready for a solid race against Churchill in the Pembroke Regatta. The paddle down was promising, and the crew remained positive and cheerful as we marshalled at the P&E, then by the railway bridge. There was some excitement as other boats raced past us, but as we paddled up to the railway bridge the focus was back in the boat, and we had an encouraging practice start.

The nerves started to kick in as we lined up next to Churchill at the beginning of the reach – as a relatively inexperienced crew this was the first time a few of us had raced alongside a crew, but we were determined not to let that faze us.

After what seemed like a very quick line up, we were off. Our wind strokes were not as quick as they might have been, but we settled into a solid rhythm, which with lots of encouragement to sit up and “put some spring in our step” from the banks we managed to maintain all the way. However, try as we might, it was not quite enough, as Churchill inched away from us up the Reach to finish just over a length ahead of us.

Although ultimately a disappointing result, the whole crew came away from the race with plenty of individual points to work on, safe in the knowledge that we can do better – and that we will do better- when it comes to Bumps.

Lily Stratford, stroke

PEMBROKE REGATTA: W2 RACE REPORT

Pembroke Regatta was the first race that the full W2 members made together in this term. Everyone was excited about the race and the sunshine. We parked under the railway bridge where we got the chance to watch the races among other crews. We had a nice warm up and cheered for the racing crews passing by and then headed to the start line of our own race. After the “Attention…Go!” order, we put all our efforts together and quickly built up the speed. We took the lead after a couple of strokes and extended the advantage in the following course of the race. We kept pushing hard on every single stroke and maintained the lead until we passed the finish line. Yes, we WON! Everyone was excited and motivated from the first win and headed back to the start line again for the second race. Our second race started with some small clashes of the oars with the other boat but we managed to get our pace back. We were behind the other boat but we kept pushing hard and gave it a beautiful finish. We made it to quarter final and we all enjoyed the experience. I am so proud of my crew and now we are looking forward to the Lent Bumps.

Yue Zhang, bow

GETTING ON RACE: W3 RACE REPORT

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

NEWNHAM SHORT COURSE: W3 RACE REPORT

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

NEWNHAM SHORT COURSE: W3 RACE REPORT

Now we were officially in a senior crew, there was a lot of pressure to do well in this race and as we got the boat ready there were nerves tingling everywhere. Having practiced those 2k sprints and pieces, we were determined to give it our best and make the rest of MECBC proud.

As we headed up the river, we were a bit shaky and our strokes weren’t quite in time, however we put our best smiles on and focused on our target: “Come on guys, we can’t come last”. As we nibbled on our Haribo, (we got an extra packet because they forgot to print out our number) with the determination of coming at least second to last, we watched all the boats ahead of us start their race with anticipation.

We started with a steady rolling start and increased speed once we were past Newnham bridge. Our initial aim was to row at a steady rate 27 to avoid getting too out of time, however with effective calls, adrenaline, skill developed after all that training, and maybe a bit of a sugar rush from that extra packet of Haribo we rowed in time at rate 32 most of the way. Exhilarating! Päivi cheered us on as we powered along and we ended the race on a high.

We found out later in the day that we had come second place and were beaten by just a second, ONE second!!! We were all over the moon considering our initial target. Päivi has been a great coach and we have all improved significantly with her coaching. W1 and W2, watch out!

Emily Larcombe, cox

Rowing and sculling club for Murray Edwards College (founded as New Hall)