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W1 Fairbairns 2012 (Race Report)By Paddy Alton
When we turned up to the boathouse to prepare for the biggest race of Michaelmas term, the atmosphere was incredible: the sheer number of crews competing, both current and alumni, meant the boathouse was packed, and, as we sent our crews off one-by-one, great cheers were raised from the bank. The flag was flying, the day was cold and clear, and the river was running fast.
The last crew to leave the bank, we all knew how much of a fight we were going to have to put up. Throughout the term our IV had been going well, tasting victory once at Autumn Head and having it narrowly escape our grasp at Winter Head; we knew that we were faster than most of the college IVs from those results, but the women of Caius had been somewhat quicker than us and we were determined to come out all guns blazing.
We had requested, and received, an increased time gap on Emmanuel W1 in front of us; our experiences of being impeded twice last year had not been forgotten and we wanted to make sure that nothing would go wrong this time.
We flew off the start at a blistering pace, gradually settling down to thirty-six, then thirty-five strokes per minute and moving into a really strong rhythm as we ticked the minutes off, one by one. Sitting in the cox seat, I knew for a fact that it was far and away the best the crew had rowed all term. We were still flying as we rounded Chesterton corner, where for a brief moment we were cut off from our sizeable bank party who had to cycle across a bridge and around to Peter’s posts. Motivation from their shouts was replaced by motivation from the sight, not so far away, of Emmanuel; we had made up fifty seconds on them by the halfway mark.
Now came the hard part. The crew had been close to their limit all the way over the first half of the course; now it was up to them to move on and get even more speed out of the boat. This they did, and as we passed under the railway bridge I became certain we would catch Emmanuel. Perhaps some primal memory of racing bumps was ignited in the crews’ minds by being told distances; determination shoved tiredness out of the way and as we passed the railings we moved in to two lengths away and began driving on hard for the finish.
As we rounded Ditton corner, the last bend of the IVs course, we overlapped Emma and they moved to the outside to let us through. The crews thundered across the line together and finally we could stop! There was no doubt in our minds; we had rowed the best we had done all term and there was not a wasted second in the race.
We discovered to our disappointment that Caius had pipped us by four seconds (the next college IV, Jesus, was twenty six seconds behind us), but knew we could not have gone more quickly, and had achieved best result ever posted by a Peterhouse women’s IV. As we discussed the race, thoughts turned to next term, to the Lent Bumps, where W1 are higher than any Peterhouse women’s crew have been before. If we row like we did in Fairbairns 2012, that record will surely be broken.
M1 (A4) Winter Head 2012 (Race Report)Race report for M1 IV
The first IV won the Student Senior division
by Charlotte Coles
Getting up reasonably early on a Saturday morning, M1 were confident as they approached the marshalling area for Winter head. Avoiding the different manners of wildlife on the rivers (swans, ducks, visiting crews), we arrived in our spot above the motorway bridge. Our time before the start was occupied by watching VIIIs spin in close proximity and the boat in front of us trying to bail out a leak with a bottle cap. Sufficiently amused, it was soon our turn to go and give it our best shot.
The start was good, building swiftly to a rate of 35 1/2, which remained constant throughout the entire course, and the guys drove the boat through the water as the bank party yelled encouragement from the bank. We ended up catching up with a boat which was initially far in front of us, shouting at them to get out of our way as they blocked our racing line round Ditton Corner. On the Long Reach, we overtook another VIII, and kept gaining pace on the IV+ which was in front of us. Putting all the power down out of the Railway Bridge, we crossed the finish line, the guys shattered and the cox with a bit of a sore voice from shouting encouragement down the mic. We finished in a time of about 9.35/9.40 (the coxbox decided to reset at the finish) and although we do have some bits and bobs to improve on for the future, we all thought it was a very good and exciting race.
M2 Winter Head 2012 (Race Report)by Henk-Jaap Wagenaar
Four weeks after Autumn Head it was time for the Peterhouse 2nd VIII to participate in the Winter Head, improving on their result. The weather looked grim as the crew approached the boat house at 1 o'clock. After making some last minute adjustments to Sir John and a pep talk from our coach Andrew Muston, we got onto the river at quarter to two.
We let a novice boat, which was originally meant to start in front of us, start after us, which made us first to start in our batch. After some confusing messages from the marshall and bank, we finally set of with a strong paddle. The moment our bow hit the Motorway Bridge we did a wind for 5, after which we set our pace at rate 34.
Coming into First Post Corner, we were pushing away from the Senior University of East Anglia boat behind us. The corners were hard to steer, and we made it to the Long Reach with the boat behind us getting closer and closer. On the Long Reach we slipped off the power and East Anglia moved up on us, but as we came under the Railway Bridge we made a push for ten, getting back up on the power and rate for a strong finish and we pushed away from East Anglia again.
This hard work got us to a time of 10:09 and we remain confident for Senior Fairbairns.
M1-B IV Winter Head 2012 (Race Report)[2nd in IM3 division]
By Michael Wheeldon, M1-b Cox
Despite the early start on a Saturday morning, the M1-B IV had a good row up to the start in plenty of time, allowing us to stretch our legs while marshalling and get in the right frame of mind for a 2.5 km race.
We had a strong start and settled down well down once past the outflow after the start. First Post Reach was strong, but when coming down into the Gut, some of the power and coherency had gone (possibly due to the ever increasing drizzle dampening our spirits), however this was regained to a degree with a push down the Plough Reach. Coming round Grassy Corner and on to the Long Reach, the wind and rain started to pick up even more, once again causing the energy in the boat to drop. After a few collective drives we managed to pick it up, and had a strong finishing piece from the Railway Bridge.
Our final time was 10:11 - although this placed us 2nd in the British Rowing IM3 category, the time was some way off the pace that we feel we can achieve. As a crew we are using this experience to motivate and drive us forward in training with a view to placing a very competitive time in the Fairbairns race in a couple of weeks' time.
Queens Ergs (Novice Women) (Race Report)It was the middle of the week 5 blues. Yet eight bright-eyed novices did manage to pull themselves out of their depression, leave their essay crises behind and, for one night, realise that there was nothing more important than getting the lowest split possible. In the battle of woman versus erg, we were going to win.
There were doubts. Numerous people saying that they weren’t good enough, that they were scared, that they simply couldn’t pull as much as some of the other girls. However, something about that room - whether it be the sheer noise, the smell of sweat, or the desire to prove that Peterhouse do indeed own this river - caused a change in them. With six of the eight girls beasting through their 500m in under 2 minutes, we knew that we really had shown everyone what we could do. Leaving the room, the LBOs with barely any voice left after 16 minutes of continuous screaming, the novices were dealt the bad news: “You did really well girls. You might have made the finals... Which would mean racing again at 10 tonight.”
After coming in 5th in our round we did make the finals. Admittedly, some of the girls were looking a little tired. However, with the promise of doughnuts we were once again able to bolster their spirits. This, of course, increased tenfold upon entering the room, where the novices were greeted by the sight of their first oversized, overexcited Peterhouse bank party (ish). With the cross keys flag hanging from the balcony, and a number of excited seniors shouting their support, the novices grew noticeably more excited and ready to race. Going off for the second time the tiredness of some of the girls was showing, although they still put up an amazing effort. With both LBOs screaming at them to put their legs down (and one even jumping back and forth in time with their strokes), the girls, once again, gave it their all. A little bit of technique may have been lost along the way, but the power and the motivation never wavered!
We finished a very respectable 7th in the finals, with one of our girls ranking 28th of all individual women (with an amazing 1:47.8). The novices were happy, the LBOs were bursting with pride, and, all in all, a very successful day was had for Peterhouse Boat Club. Of course there are still things to work on, but if Queen’s Ergs was anything to go by, we could have some very promising new blood ready to get the club some bumps next term!
Jenny Manning, Women's LBO