IWL D February 6th HT2022

In the second IWL race this term, Hertford entered a M8 crew placed in Division 6, and a W8 crew in Division 3. With incredibly gusty conditions, Div 1 and Div 3 were given a hard time of it but received a good amount of OxRow praise! With the M8 coming in 6th out of all the men’s crews on the river, and the W8 making it into the top 20 despite the wind, HCBC was very happy with the progress shown this term.

IWL D – M1 – Isaac

Sunday: IWL. We came, we saw, we came sixth (out of 65 men’s crews, I might add). Not a bad result for our first race as an M1. 10 seconds off the leaders, Keble/ Wadham. Considering big fin added around 4 seconds with his Olympic tier racing line (he wanted us to enjoy the painless bliss of racing for as long as possible), we’re in a good place to build for this Torpids.

Thanks to an absolutely SILKY stride into a comfortable r34, we were the fastest crew in the first third. However, we soon after realised that we aren’t Olympic athletes, and paid for it in the second third, which was ever so mildly excruciating. My personal highlight was hearing our six seat, Sam, quite literally moaning in pain behind me. If only he erged as much as he recovers from nights out…

The final third was brutal, and we emptied the tank to the slightly maniacal shouts of my grandmother, Val, chanting ‘HERTFORD HERTFORD HERTFORD HERTFORD’ in an odd crescendo. Univ boathouse was terrified, and if I’m honest, so were we, and we pushed it to the redline and beyond in a brilliant final push.

We finished the race on a high, and for our fledgling M1, fiercely determined for a comeback this year, the result filled us with confidence. From IWL on, we put our heads down and trained hard, the possibility of bumping up keeping us going through the term. FTD!!!

IWL D – W1 – Sophie

IWL D was one of my favourite experiences with the W1 crew this term, although it was not without its stresses. Earlier in the week, we had lost one of our senior rowers to a back injury (a term-long hiatus) and at times it felt that we were just taking it in turns to test positive for COVID, leaving the crew with a new rolling absence each weak as someone new isolated. Given that Torpids are only a few weeks away, this is hardly ideal!

As we rowed down through the gut to the starting line, we were hit by the intensity of the conditions, which were incredibly gusty and prevented us from doing our early squares, much to our coach’s frustration. As we began to row on and started settling into a rate of 32s/m, the wind became an even bigger problem and continued to buffet us backwards, which slowed us down particularly when we exited the gut and came out opposite Hertford boathouse. However, we could hear the men’s crew cheering us on, and with new determination we continued to row and recovered our rate.

As we reached boathouse island though, a new threat appeared; a University college crew was approaching us from behind and was coming close to overtaking us. Our cox Ned capitalised on this opportunity to show us the intensity of bumps racing, and thanks to his ferocious calls we managed to find a final burst of speed, holding off the enemy boat until we heard the ‘clack’ from the finish marshalls at the coxing stone. The mood in the boat was overjoyed – we had completed the course! Three cheers were given to Univ for putting up such a solid fight, and we paddled home with big smiles, despite the horrible but unsurprising February weather.

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