One For All, All For One

It’s good to be racing again. Success at the Cambridge Autumn Head last month boosted the squad and the fours then moved out to train in Ely, where the river is wider, longer, and free from college boat traffic. The focus then was in preparing for the Fours Head and the Tideway.

Soon enough we were sitting waiting to race. We settled into our rhythm well, and with lots of boats around to push off it certainly wasn’t dull! Our approach to the Fours Head is, I imagine, slightly different from many clubs. We want to perform well in our division but we’re looking also to compare ourselves to our Oxford counterparts for the first time. So, even though we won our division we were still disappointed with our overall results and how we measured up. It was a useful exercise for rowers and coxes alike; an experience to learn from and to build upon.

We’re now onto the next chapter of trialing: rowing in eights. The trusty “ergs don’t float” mantra will soon be put into practice to see how our 2k scores translate into boat-moving ability. That means seat-racing. Two boats are raced side by side and then two rowers swapped over. The boats are then raced and timed again over the same distance. This can be repeated several times in a session in order to build up a matrix with lots of different crew combinations.

While not an especially enjoyable experience, seat-racing is nevertheless an essential part of squad selection and a big step along the way to setting boat race crews. It’s a tense time and in an effort to perform well, it can be easy to forget that we should be working with, and not against, each other. The Fours Head was a useful reminder of the bigger picture, and is something that everyone will be thinking about as we battle amongst ourselves for those coveted boat race seats.

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