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Metropolitan Regatta 2014

Saturday 31st May

Previous event: Nines' Regatta - Following event: X-Press Eights' Head

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Richard Gunning, 2: Ed Oughton, 3: Chensong Gao, 4: Ross Buckingham, 5: David Hardeman, 6: Jordan Ward‑Williams, 7: Callum McKenzie, Stroke: Ben Evans, Cox: Esther Momcilovic

IM3 8+: 3rd in the Heat; 1st in the Repechage; 7th in the Final

Callum McKenzie reports:

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Heats: 3rd

We were looking forward to putting down a solid 2k to see where the crew were at and how our training was translating into racing. The day hadn't got off too swimmingly (reference referred later - 2nd para) for one of our oarsmen (Mr Gao), as he had spent the night boozing until the early hours of the morning, which subsequently entailed him sleeping at the boat house, to ensure he didn't miss the journey to Dorney, and a rather unexpected, and premature, exit from the car two minutes into the journey for a tactical chunder. Thumbs up. Despite this, 8 out of 9 of the crew were still pumped to race. In the race we had a good start and were positioned amongst the crews by the first 500. As we stretched to 750 we were sitting in 2nd, fighting off a crew behind. As we got past the 1000 we had moved into 3rd as we came off the power slightly, allowing the other crew to come past. We held this position until the end of the race, with the Essex/Liverpool Uni composite biting at our heels in 4th. Overall, a good row - probably could have done with more power... any thoughts, Gao? 1st and 2nd went straight to the final, we had to race in the repechage to fight for our place in the final.

Waiting for the Repechage race, watching fellow Clare oarsman, Andy Hunt, in the IM1 single sculls

We weren't using our full crew as Andy was boshing out some racing in the single. We weren't too downbeat as we had good old Dave H to fill in, and we were excited to see how Andy got on! The atmosphere was electric, anticipation was high. The race was off. We eagerly look down the course waiting to see Andy leading the field. Small specs from our point of view at the finish, tension was mounting. How was Andy fairing? Leading by a length? Then... the following was announced, 'Hunt has capsized, I repeat, Hunt has capsized.' (speech may be slightly modified for added effect) What!? Could it be? No, surely not... Yes, disaster had struck! It looked like Andy decided to take an early shower. Better luck next year, chap.

Repechage: 1st

Only first place guaranteed entry into the final. All other positions resulted in elimination. After looking at the times for the non-qualifying times, we find out we were the second fastest crew not to automatically advance to the final. Worcester RC were 3 seconds quicker than us in their heat. We had to gain up those seconds to win. The warm up row down to the start was feeling a lot more together and powerful. We were in lane 3, right in the thick of the action. We line up. Come to 3/4s. Boat names called. 'Attention... beeeep'. We were off. Our start was clean and quick. Our first 500 was really powerful and tapping it along really nicely, and had established 2nd place, behind Worcester. Learning from the first race, we kept the power on in the second 500 and kept the rate up there around 36. Worcester started to creep away, edging out to half a boat length in front. Going past 1000m we had some great calls from Esther to keep our heads in and rowing strong. The boat was feeling really good. Stroke by stroke we edged closer back up to Worcester, gaining half a seat every 20 or so metres. Going past 1500 we were still behind. If we wanted to get to the final, we had to go, NOW. Again some brilliant calls by Esther and the response was electric. The crew just picked it up and just kept laying down the power, and as we hit the last 250 we edged our nose just in front. All we had to do was just keep in front to win. Last 100m and the pain was really set in, Worcester daring to come back at us. Last few stokes it was hard to tell who was in the lead. Beep, Beep. Who had won!? Took a quick glance to my left and saw that we were a couple seats up on them!! We had done it! Made it to the final! The race was the best 2k piece we have done. The boat was feeling very good and kept on the limit of what we could have produced. Great show chaps.

Final: 7th

We were elated with our row in the repechage race, but it came at a cost to our fitness. We had an extra 2k race under our belts compared to the rest of the guys racing in the final, but we were still determined to put in a solid row. Our start was again really powerful and moving nicely. By the 1st 500 we were around 4/5th and the boat was tapping along. However as the race panned out we were just ever so slightly off the pace and slipped from 5th to 6th around 1000m. By this point, although we could have been at a pip or so higher (currently rating 34 ish), we had a really nice rhythm in the boat with what felt like some really good blade work going into the water. However, rhythm alone doesn't win a race, and as we approached the line we were in 7th about a length of the guys in 5th and 6th. If we were fresher, we could have probably put in a more competitive race, however that shouldn't distract us from what was a solid race in itself. We as a crew gained so much from today. We produced some of the best racing we have done all term, and can really use this as a good catalyst for future sessions. Roll on bumps in just over a weeks time!!

Uploaded Sunday 1st June, 20:16

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