After weeks of intense training, the LUBC women’s squad were keen to qualify and compete in the Aspirational Academic 8+ at Henley Women’s Regatta on the 21-23rd of June 2019. They had hopes of placing within the top 16 qualifying crews and making themselves known amongst performance universities. After successfully coming first in Tier 3 Academic 8+ at Metropolitan Regatta and winning the 8+ category in Chester Regatta against local competition, the girls were feeling confident and excited to compete at HWR.
On the weeks leading up to the big day, the girls’ training consisted of 3 sessions a day; often entailing two water sessions and 1 land session. A few days prior, they tapered their training to enable full recovery. Training also consisted of some side-by-side racing pieces with the Grosvenor girls 4+ who were also training for HWR.
On Friday morning they completed their 1400m time trial, with cox Catherine Oliver, and it’s safe to say it wasn’t the cleanest of rows due to the head wind and wash left from the pleasure boats - typical of the conditions of the Henley course. They came off the water with mixed emotions and a sense of uncertainty as to whether they had done enough to qualify. After a long wait for the results the girls were ecstatic to hear that LUBC (race number 23) was the last crew to be called out on the list of Aspirational Academic 8+s that qualified to Saturday. The draw was pulled randomly - they knew they would have a hard race against the US crew – Kent School Boat Club. Race footage can be seen on the YouTube stream of HWR Friday races.
It was a very intense 1500m race: LUBC had the US team off the start line and pulled away from them, leading in the first 750m. However, they certainly didn’t let us get away with it, as they managed to catch us and even pulled off us over the second half of the course, resulting in their win of about 1.5 boat lengths. Their race strategy was clearly different as they settled at a much lower rate of 34 (strokes per minute), compared to our high settle of 37 SPM. But, after the immediate devastation of losing such a close race, the girls were overall pleased with their efforts and were happy with the fight they put up. Congratulations to the Grosvenor girls 4+ and their two singles’ who also managed to qualify and continue to race on Saturday and Sunday.
Thank you to coaches: Patrick Stephens, Jordan Simons, Patrick Home, and Chris Hudson for their valuable coaching advice on the lead up to the race. Sadly, for several of the girls in the 8, this was their last race with LUBC – of which they will be greatly missed. Also, a big thank you to Charlotte Siddoway for leading the Women’s Squad through a successful academic year – what a way to end it!