Wallingford Head of the River Race Report

Cox: Ettie ‘6ft 8 legs’ Caverly
Stroke: Patrick ‘Phlegm’ Austin
7- Rob ‘the Javelin’ House
6- Hamish ‘Circuits are not compulsory’ Streeter
5- Jack ‘Kill Yourselves” Waterman (capt.)
4- Freddie ‘Baron’ von Kaufmann
3- Harry ‘Single Scull’ Connor
2- Danny ‘90cd’ de Rozairo
Bow- Maciej ‘Take another tap’ Bugala
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After spending a whole term rowing up and down the Thames a lot, M1 decided there could be no better way to finish the term by well, doing just that. With certain members of the squad feeling a little bit worse for wear after the previous night’s Christchurch Regatta Dinner we lined up at St Aldates bus stop for the X40 to Wallingford, determined to show the novices how it’s really done. At the start of Michaelmas this year it was clear we were not really up to scratch as a crew, lacking in experience, fitness and of course, tall people. However what we lacked in genes we made up for in 5:45 starts and Jack’s iron fisted approach to captaincy. Our improvement over the last 8 weeks has been substantial but this was where we put that to the test. We arrived in Wallingford well before our allotted boating time to the smell of bacon sandwiches and enticing looking kit stalls. After reassembling and rerigging the Empacher, a few sunrise lunges and panicked portaloo visits later and we were good to go. With the astutely tactical and highly technical race strategy of ‘go hard for the first k so we don’t get overtaken in the s bends, go hard on the straight, kill yourself at the finish’ ringing in our ears we set off at 12:40 with a brisk paddle downstream to the start line. Starting in front of the University of East Anglia, we were keen to see how we would fare against non-Oxford competition, however we were also up against more familiar opposition in the shape of Queens and Pembroke, having done some pieces with the latter earlier in the term. All it took was a few half pressure strokes for us to find our rhythm and we were off, breaking the start line at pace. UEA followed around 5 lengths in arrears and we knew there was no time to find our feet as it was imperative to get to the s bends around 1k in with clear water between us and them. Our up-tempo start was rewarded with some clear water in which Ettie guided us through the tricky opening section and onto the long wide stretch up into the town where we really started to put some power down. However, by this point UEA had started to eat into our lead on them and were closing fast but this only served to spur us on. As they came up to a length on us, we counter attacked, Ettie calling a few power 10s and we started to eke out a small advantage once again, much to the surprise of their cox. Unfortunately, this was not to last and they soon overtook and started to move away from us. Flagging from our efforts in trying to hold them off, we went through a our worst patch as we entered the final quarter of the race, losing some of our poise and timing at the catch. We quickly recovered though and produced a good last kilometre, emptying the tank on the long wide stretch towards the finish line. Exhausted, we crossed the finishing line in a time of 16:16. Pleased with our efforts we headed back to Oxford for a well deserved post race Spoons dinner. Despite this being our first head race as a crew, we felt we made a good accounting of ourselves and we could not have performed much better on the day. However we are still very much a work in progress and have a long way to go if we are to be competitive with the big boys come Torpids. Bring on that Winter Training Schedule FTD

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