With the men's squad away at training camp in Plovdiv, Sons of the Thames Rowing Club still had plenty of representation at Putney Town Regatta. Three women's crews, a men's novice four and one Masters D single sculler, know to us as Dave Smith, left Hammersmith to do battle. Although all four crews fought their way through to the finals, we were denied a win despite some very close racing. After all the interest generated by the Olympics, novice racing seems especially competitive this year, but despite that the crews have demonstrated good boat speed and all are capable of winning this season. It was left to Dave to bring home a pot with a comfortable win in MasD 1x.
From the women's novice coxed four
All the training we did in the winter is starting to pay off… That’s one of lessons we have learnt from Putney Town Regatta.
We took 3 Women’s boat to race, a WN4+, a WN8+ and a WIM38+.
This is the tale of the WN4+’s crew: Stroke – Babs, 3 – Lucy, 2 – Josie; Bow – Sandra and Cox – Tash.
We met early in the morning for a pre-race outing and, as the river was quiet, we managed to enjoy some time with Paul, one of our coaches. Racing starts were on the menu and we tried to go for it, show him what we could do. We kept getting one of Paul’s favourite lines: up, up, UP!!
Yes, we were nervous but a good kind of nerves that gives you butterflies in your stomach because we were so keen on getting the first race out of the way. Our goal: win 1 race. We had BBL ‘A’ Boat in our Quarter-Final and, although we would have to through a Semi to get to the Final, in our heads, that first race of the day, wasour Final. We wanted to prove ourselves that we could do it.
And… we did!! We got to the start with plenty of time to relax, dekit and take on some water (unlike at Chiswick Regatta, where we started the race as soon as we arrived at the start, 20 minutes early!). We watched the school kids race – we still get tired just from the mad rushing of the slide!
We lined up with BBL, the Umpire called up the race and the clubs and ‘Attention, Go’ and we were off! Our start was good, we’re not sure if we had them off the start because we were all focussed on rowing as a crew and doing our own race. We won with, at least, 2 lengths, in a controlled way and we enjoyed every bit of it. We always make sure that we greet our opposition and Tash called for 3 Cheers for Barnes Bridge Ladies.
We couldn’t believe it!! We beat a boat!! So, we spun the boat and rowed up back to Sons for a rest, next race would be 2 hours later and we took a nice paddle back.
Next, we raced Parr’s. We were under no illusions that because we won one race, we would do the same thing again. But, all 5 of us, said: we’re going to row our own race. We had Susi and David from the Novice squads supporting us at the start – thanks, guys!!!
It was hard(er) work, it was an awesome race, and we loved it because we kept going and pushing off Parr’s boat. We kept together and our finish saw us win with at least ½ length. 3 Cheers for Parr’s and we cheered ourselves!! We were going to the final! WOW!! When we got back to the club, the rest of the racing squad was down and Paul came round in the launch to find out the result. We had made it to the Final! Thumbs up, coach!
The final… well, let’s say that we’re still Novice rowers… But no way are we feeling defeated. Our opposition were King’s College and we did our best to stick it to them. King’s C. won with 4 lengths but kept up the fight.
Bring on Peterborough, we’re ready for you!
Dave Smith wins MasD 1x
When the draw for Putney Town was published, I discovered that I had a straight final against a sculler from London Rowing Club. I checked the Scullers Head results and discovered that I had finished 1 place ahead of him, beating him by just 0.3 seconds over 7km! It look as though a close race over 1200m was on the cards. However, the ace up my sleeve was that my opponent was a Masters C sculler, which meant a whopping 11 second handicap against him.
I almost didn’t make it to the race, as I managed to run over one of the shoals just past Barn Elms. Luckily, despite the sickening sound of my boat scraping on rocks as I was 5 strokes into a practice start, it was only the tip of my fin that hit the bottom, and it held firm.
As we eyed each other up approaching the start, I felt a little sorry for my opponent, but I told myself to be ruthless, and attack the start as if we were starting together.
I got a good start, off at about 42, reducing to 35, and by the time of the second ‘Go’, I was a good 5 or 6 lengths ahead. He tried to catch me, but I settled to a good 32, and gradually extended my lead. By the time I passed the Sons girls, cheering me on as they paddled up to their own race, I had a comfortable lead, and let the rating come down to about 28, concentrating on using my legs in the middle of the stroke. So I duly won, and paddled back to Putney to pick up my prize – not only the traditional pewter pot, but also a mounted certificate.
I stayed down at Putney to cheer on the Sons girls in their finals, but sadly there were no more Sons victories today. The women’s novice four came very close, convincingly winning their first two races, and the men’s novice four also won their semi-final but both crews lost their finals, as did the women’s novice eight and IM3 eight. However, the close results show that everyone is on the pace, and it certainly won’t be long before more silverware is being won, and that dreaded novice status will be history.