It was a very busy Saturday for the club racing at three separate regattas, although Thames Ditton was cancelled in the end to the disappointment of the junior section. The Senior squads and Start were up at Nottingham City Regatta for their first chance to see what speed they have got from the long winter training whereas the masters groups were closer to home at Putney Town Regatta.
The morning racing at Holme Pierrepont was fierce and saw our Start athletes racing one and 2 years their senior to reach the final of the J18 2x against some stiff competition. The women's novice coxed four led the final though the first 500m marker but were rowed through in the middle 1000m to pick up 3rd position on the line against a strong Thames RC crew. The men's IM1 coxed four placed 5th in the final with a combative row in a scratch line up.
During the break, we heard great news from Putney Town Regatta, where TwRC had picked up 3 wins so far for Robert Bailey in the H 1x, Jamie Wooller in the IM2 1x and our D/F 4x with Sarah and Jacqueline reaching the final of the double event (they were unfortunately slightly overpowered in the final to miss out on the pot).
Charley and Meghan from GB start began the racing in their singles and much like in the morning, both girls came off the blocks with good starts. Charley seemed surprised by the initial pace of the race and slipped into 5th however had a very good final 750m and managed to take a solid fourth position. A positive and strong row but not enough to qualify for the final. Megan had a solid middle 1k which saw her row through two competitors and comfortably take second place, a fantastic result considering the other girls were two years her senior. In the final Megan struggled to find the pace that she had in the heat and the competitors got away from her. She tried a number of times to get herself back in the race but ended up coming sixth.
The women's novice eight set off in their heat and within 700m settled down into a straight bow-to-bowball fight for the final qualification throughout the middle 1000m with both boats exchanging the lead and responding. Over the line, the verdict went against us - a disappointing result especially since we would have come 1st in the other heat! Quite a lot of the crew made the classic 1st novice race mistake of forgetting to breathe whilst being caught up in the excitement of their first 6-lane event - they will remember next time! The women's pair on the other hand were in relative no man's land with crews several lengths behind or in front but they dutifully consolidated their 3rd position in the final.
The men's eight raced in the IM1 category against some stiff competition including Eton College who won in a time of 5.50 in neutral conditions. We had a last minute change in the crew in the week prior to the race with Dritan "The Mania from Albania" Bakalli fighting his way into the line up after only taking up sweep 6 weeks previously. They got off to a terrific start placing in the middle of the pack through the 1000m mark. They didn't quite get into rhythm caught up in a combative row with the rest of the field and hence the pushes didn't cause enough damage as we would like. It was a promising row though to cap off a good day's racing and a lot learnt at the beginning of our regatta reason for the club with the senior squads at Twickenham Regatta, Met, Reading and Henley qualifiers for the remainder of the season.