Peterborough Regatta 2013

Glancing back at James' write up from Peterborough Regatta last year, recalls a really enjoyable weekend from 2012 - and it seems this year was more of the same. His Daviness the Smith scored another win in MasD 1x but with the men's eight racing at the Metropolitan Regatta, the spotlight was on the girls.The squad looks to be in good shape at the moment with some new athletes joining and many of those who have learned to row with us showing the benefits of all that hard work over the winter. With multiple wins the gentle clank of pewter tankards accompanied the girls' progress home. Thanks to Clare Sachs for this write up - and to Cat, Paul and Craig for coaching the squad and Les for towing the trailer up there. 

From the women's (used to be) novice IV+

It's 6.30am on a Wednesday morning (when normal people would still be in bed), the Tideway is calm and it’s suprisingly warm for such an early hour. Despite the sleepiness of the crew we are all excited as this is our last outing before Peterborough Regatta; the next time we will get in a boat together will be for the first heat of the novice fours.

Sunday arrives, sunny and warm, and we all get to the lake bright and early. The butterflies are fluttering in our stomachs and nerves are high. All four of us had put in the hard work, done the training but hadn’t had much practice on the water in this combination. Therefore, we all felt that this four had potential but weren’t sure whether we could get it together on the day. We had all reached the final in the Eight the day before but this time there are only four of us. The day before Bab's four had triumphed but would we be able to do the same?

Up to the start we paddled and Paul, our cox, got us attached to the stake boat. 'Twickenham, Sons of the Thames, De Montford, attention, go!' And we were off into our start. After settling into our race pace I allowed myself a quick glance either side and could see both boats which just kept getting further and further away!

After winning the heat so comfortably we knew the final would be tough. We kept our focus and executed another good start, getting our bow ball in front. However, Derby weren't going to let us have it all our own way and started to come back. Paul called for a push and we pulled it back. We managed to hold them off in the last 500m as Miyesse remembers thinking ‘this is hapenning!! This is happening! We are winning this!" and then " don't let them to catch us up! Keep pushing!".

Thank you to everyone who helped us win our Novice Pot - to Paul for coxing and coaching us, Cat for her coaching and organisation on the day and for all the women's squad for supporting and cheering us on! We are still smiling like idiots almost a week later!!

Clare, Miyese, Amy and Jess

From novice to IM2 to one weekend

How to describe racing at Peterborough? For some of us, it’s been the best racing weekend of the season so far and what a weekend it was! We went from Novice status to IM2 in our 4+ in less than 24 hours.

We arrived at Peterborough on Friday afternoon/evening ready for the weekend, which was going to be fairly busy, with the mad racing schedule the coaches had in place for us. We had probably the largest number of boat combinations that Sons’ ladies squad has taken to PEBO in recent years, due to the increased number of rowers in our squad.

But focusing on the WN4+ that had raced at Putney Town, we went in on Saturday with a lot of energy, a fair amount of nerves and a huge desire to win a regatta. The coaches kept the same boat combination: Stroke – Babs; 3 – Lucy; 2 – Josie; Bow – Sandra and Tash as our Cox. We had been training as much as we could and we knew we had a fairly good chance to win. We went into our Heat on Saturday morning with one goal in mind: do our own race – this has always been our motto. And we did, we won the heat to move to the semi finals with clear water between us and the other 3 boats. 

The semi final was more complicated, maybe we let the nerves get to us, maybe because we had another Sons crew racing us and we got caught up in the emotion of competing against some of ‘us’ but we got through, again, ahead of our opposition. When we got out of the water, we had a little chat and told each other: relax, we can do this. Our coaches, Cat and Paul told us: ‘Go out there and, no matter what the end result is, make it your best row, leave it all out on the water. Don’t come out thinking you could have done more or better’. We told ourselves in the crew: Let’s show ourselves what we are made of.

We have a little tradition, maybe the same as in other crews, but we always “pass the good luck” up the boat, from stroke to cox (in a bow loader) or from cox to bow (in a stern loader). It’s always been my way to calm my own nerves but it’s also a way to assure our team that we are in it together. We all loved our final on Saturday. We pushed from the start and we settled into OUR race, never giving up, OUR rhythm flowing from stroke to bow and back. We couldn’t hear much of what Tash was saying as we lost the cox box early on but we knew what had to be done. We could hear the cheers where our squad and coaches were based, less than 250 metres to the end. We had clear water between us and the other 3 crews and we just kept our rate up and power down in the water.

When the buzzer signalled the end, I remember looking to the sides, looking back towards Lucy behind me and screaming!! We had won our 1st regatta and what a race it had been. We were so relaxed, no rushing, no frustrations, pure enjoyment! We were helped out by our squad friends and hugs all around. We were tired but no one could stop us from smiling!! Group hug, 5 very happy rowers and cox! We put the boat away, had a debrief chat with Cat and Paul to go over what we had done and celebrate that we were no longer novices. That also meant that the next day we would be racing in IM3 and that was a bit of a scary thought.....


Day 2: Racing at IM3

Day 2 at Peterborough was more relaxed, we were going to race IM3 level to see what it was like. None of us was going for the pot. But we were going to do our best because you don’t go into a race to lose. There were 3 heats, our crew in Heat 1 and the other Sons crew in Heat 2. A victory would take us to the final, 2nd place would lead to repechage. This time we had Paul, one of our coaches, as our cox and we rowed in Jo Frost, a stern loader – a new experience for me in a Four, up till then, we always rowed in a bow loader. But Paul is an experienced cox and the 4 of us went through our own strategy with him so he was aware of how we like to row, what calls work for us. Paul took everything on board and relaxed us on the row up to the start. We had some time before we were called to line up and got to see some of the other crews start. We did our ‘luck shuffle’ up the boat from me to Sandra but then the girls remind me that this time we had a stern loader so we passed the ‘luck’ around once more and Paul took it but look at me as if I was mad...

The Marshall then called the crews to line up for the 1st WIM3 4+. We went to our lane and, for one second, we all thought Paul had lost the plot and the sense of the race, because our bow was almost at the stake boat. I did turn to him and say: Paul, you realise that the race is the other way round, right? But this was all part of Paul’s plan, we spun and we were in place quicker than any other crew.

We won our heat after a good race against Churchill College and we were off to another final in 2 days. The other Sons crew also won their heat in a tight race against Loughborough. We were going to have another Sons vs Sons race, this time in a final. Churchill College won the repechage and we met them again in the final. We went to rest because 2 of us in the boat were also racing WIM3 8+, which went to repechage. An hour after the repechage, we had our WIM3 4+ final and we tried to relax, get into 4+ spirit. Cat and Paul had a chat with both crews and to us, they told us to enjoy it, see how it went as it was going to be our 1st final as IM3 and it was going to be harder than the day before. 

We were relaxed, we just said (again) to each other, let’s do OUR race. We didn’t think for one minute that we had a chance. We wished good luck to the other crew and got the boat on the water and went up to the start. We practiced just one start and, at that point in time, I felt extremely tired. I had already raced 3 other races that day and wondered if I still had any more energy in me. But I thought that it had to be done and other crews had raced just as much.

We lined up, race faces on but we were relaxed, ready to get the last race of our weekend out of the way. The Marshall on the bank called all the boats, followed by ‘Attention... GO’ and off we went. We kept our rating steady from start to finish and kept our eyes on the boat... most of the way... I know that I kept checking Churchill’s crew to see where they were to see if Paul was going to call for a tactical move to push us away. But I shouldn’t have worried, we were pushing off from the other 3 crews and we were ahead. Paul told me to look at him, he was in control. When we reached 800m, where our squad was cheering for us and the other Sons crew, we had clear water but we kept pushing till we could hear the buzzer. Paul’s voice also told us what we already knew because the level of excitement on his voice was telling us we were winning. When Paul called to ‘easy’, we looked to the sides and then at the each other and it dawned on us what we had done: we had won the WIM3 4+ final! Let’s say that I screamed yet again because I couldn’t believe it! We loved our NOV final the day before but the final on Sunday came in par with it because it was so relaxed, proof that you can have fun while rowing. We gave 3 cheers to the other crews and came off the water shaking because, yes we were so exhausted but also we couldn’t quite grasp that we had won 2 more points. A member of Peterborough Rowing Club took a photo of our crew hugging after we won our 2nd race and it was one of those Kodak moments we are glad someone was there to register it. It symbolises what we felt the whole time we’ve been rowing as a crew.

We can’t thank the coaches enough for their time, help, (wonderful) quotes and trust in us! We couldn’t have done any of this without them.

On Sunday, Sons of the Thames won 3 pots in total and most crews that raced that day made it to a final. The WNOV4+ won their 1stpot and point as well. I think there’s nothing like seeing your friends win their first pot and we were all cheering/screaming for them!

All in all, a very successful weekend for Sons of the Thames Rowing Club.

Babs Pinheiro