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Cambridge Spring Head to Head 2016

Saturday 30th April

Previous event: Head of the Cam - Following event: City Sprints

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Tim Tito Rademacher, 2: Jon Swain, 3: Euan Beck, 4: Matt Simpson, 5: Quentin Gouil, 6: Ben Evans, 7: Callum McKenzie, Stroke: Riccardo Conci, Cox: Esther Momcilovic

Overall winners! 1st leg: 6:17.6, 2nd leg: 6:29.5 (combined 12:47.1)

Callum McKenzie reports:

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First leg

With Downing starting behind us, we wanted to put in a strong first 2k to see how our times compared. We built up the start quickly hitting 38, and settling down to 36 along the reach. There was good connection through the water and the boat was moving nicely. Going around Ditton corner was very well managed and from first looks it appeared that Downing had went off very strong and had gained on us slightly. Unperturbed and trusting of our fitness, we carried on the technical focuses making sure to hold the finishes in, which went off every now and then. We had some good pushes out of all of the corners and as we rounded first post corner we started our sprint to the finish. There is still ~400m to the finish at this point, so we didn't want to go too mental, but we certainly gave it some stick and moved away from Downing, finishing 6 seconds ahead at the end.

Second leg

Happy with a solid row down we were really keen to test our fitness on the second leg, knowing we had a good technical base to draw from. We started well, striding onto a very comfortable 36 up first post reach. The rhythm translated very well down the boat and we were tapping it along comfortably, maintaining 35/36 the whole course. We committed to pushing hard out of each corner and didn't let up as we rounded onto the long reach. By this point we could see we had pulled away quite well from Downing, and kept our heads in the boat and maintained technical calls against the head wind present. As we got to the last 200 metres we really wound it up hard and just went balls out, which paid off as we finished 13 seconds ahead of Downing. Although we were slower in the second leg, there was better commitment and drive. Overall, a good showing, however it is noticeable as we get tired that our finished slip off, and at r35/36 we need to make sure we finish off each stroke before starting the next. Now to crack on with training.

Uploaded Monday 2nd May, 17:47

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1st Women's VIII

Bow: Anna O'Brien, 2: Robyn Hamer, 3: Edith Ross, 4: Lydia Price, 5: Claire Watkins, 6: Anna Peel, 7: Charlotte McGarry, Stroke: Ada Krzak, Cox: Julia Kelsoe

Fastest women's boat! 1st leg: 7:19.0, 2nd leg: 7:45.6 (combined 15:04.6)

Anna O'Brien reports:

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Impatient with the number of strokes in our regular start, we'd made a few subtle changes, which included abandoning the start sequence entirely in favour of Andy's new approach: "one-stroke-and-GO!" Well, at least now we don't have to worry about counting.

As Esther put it, "it's not a Head to Head - just a Head". With bumps in mind, our goal was to empty the tanks on the first leg, and just try our best and see what we could do on the way back. With James' calls from the bank giving us flashbacks to last year's Lents, we took off at a high rate and focused on attacking the first piece. As we'd practiced, Julia called for length around the corners, and we built out of every turn, determined to keep the rate up. With pressure calls from the bank and good responses from the crew, we made good time, but found ourselves shortening up as we got tired. The result was a quick but slightly rushed row. No matter - we had the second half to try it all over again.

We settled into the second leg with a more solid stride, going for length and power. Despite being tired, the crew brought on the pressure when it was called for, and we maintained a better ratio coming onto the reach. From there, we focused on putting down the power together and making full use of our rock back, and lengthened again into a solid power call over the finish line.

Overall, we were the fastest W1 crew by two seconds, the fastest women's college by nine seconds, and we walked away from City with shiny new pots. (And, initially, the shiny pots for City Sprints - bit keen, but it turned out we weren't separated from them for long).

In a bold and unpredictable move, we celebrated with race cake.

The Short Version:

"It was long. And wet." -Lydia

Uploaded Thursday 5th May, 18:33

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2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Gabriel Bliard, 2: Rory Fairhead, 3: Alistair Brown, 4: Robin Elliott, 5: Stephen Kindness, 6: Yihan Pei, 7: Fred Benham‑Crosswell, Stroke: Adam Harrison, Cox: Clement Chan

9th overall (Winners Mays 3rd division) 1st leg: 6:42.5, 2nd leg: 7.08.0 (combined 13:50.5)

Robin Elliott reports:

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We head down on the sunny Saturday morning, knowing to give the first 2k our all and forget about the second race for now. This was perfect training for being sandwich boat on day one of bumps. We glide into the first race under the railway bridge, hitting a consistent rate 32 which we maintain for the rest of the race. We pass Ditton. At this point Ben, bank partying us, makes a full-speed emergency dismount of his bike into the hedge. A few of our crew, who were looking just enough above Adam's blade to catch this spectacle, crack a smile. Luckily we had myriad bank party and we were spurred on by Jon, Callum, Euan and Gripper each of whom decided to stay on their respective bikes for the entirity race.

Having completed the first race well, we banked up by the motorway bridge to feed before the next race. Gripper reckoned we pulled a 6.42, which was a huge increase compared to M2's time last year, and hot on the heels of our M1. We knew we'd have a tougher time on the way back, with the stream and wind against us, but our hopes were high.

Starting the second of the 2ks, we glided into our usual rhythm and took the corners fantastically, making ground on Sidney in front of us. After some patches of really smooth, clean rowing we hit the long reach and were immediately buffeted by a nasty headwind. Staying tall, we fought through it and managed a fantastic lift past the railway bridge. We ate into the last few hundred metres of the race with more determination than any piece we had done in training, and finished on a tidy 7.07.

Overall, we won the division and finished a hell of a lot faster than the crews around us in Bumps. Bring it on!

Uploaded Saturday 7th May, 21:52

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Freddie Benham-Crosswell reports:

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We turned up not that hungover to this one, which was a change. Incentivised by the promise of a beer for each M1 we beat with Gripper on top of our general desire to look sick at rowing, we stormed off. It was a bloody long way bit we went balls out and managed to keep it going. We had a pretty large fan club actually with ever supportive Gripper and Captain Swain on the bank as well as injured Ben and his mate and Euan, presumably on a captaincy election drive, as well as Callum. Don't know what his motive was but he's good at shouting encouragingly so was nice to have him. People kept shouting numbers and wondering how well we were doing when we stopped at the other end but I wasn't really listening beause I was too busy eating Adam's food that he had ingeniously brought with him. Refueled on some bloody brilliant shortbread and ready to go balls out once again we pushed off, resigned to a long, sweaty slog. We started out with a bloody brilliant rhythm and kept it going. By the plough much was aching but that's what rowing's about so we kept pushing. By this point the shitty crew behind us, I forget which, had completely disappeared and as we thundered up the reach it did start to get a bit scrappy. Clem brilliantly responded with a 'lift' call but we were so knackered that for the first time, I think in M2's history, the lift call didn't miraculously make everything better but we kept going nonetheless to a glorious finish and our third M3 division victory in 3 weeks.

Uploaded Saturday 7th May, 16:52

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2nd Women's VIII

Bow: Els Alsema, 2: Hannah Templeman, 3: Rozalie Ryclova, 4: Philippa Slay, 5: Ariane Dupas, 6: Emma O'Hare, 7: Rosie Boxall, Stroke: Harley Evans, Cox: Joel Adams

7th out of 8 Mays 2nd boats. 1st leg: 8:01.2, 2nd leg: 8:49.5 (combined 16:50.7)

Rosie Boxall reports:

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As per, Clare was one of the keenest clubs on the river, arriving to marshall 45 minutes before the most of the other clubs showed up. Banking up was a nightmare for poor old coxie, who was bullied into playing 'pick the most attractive rower in the boat' by his stern pair while we marshalled (obv while thinking really hard about our race tactics), and looking over at Newnham announced 'YEAH I'D PICK THE BLONDE ONE AT THREE', straight into the microphone. Good show Joel, luckily we're nowhere near them for bumps this year. After another half an hour of avoiding eye contact and drifting into the middle of the river towards them (pretty sure we backed it down at least another 2k) we put in a really gritty first 2k. It wasn't our best time and our second 2k was significantly slower, BUT in the last two weeks we have all improved so much and really started to get our head in the game. Post-race we headed to the Fort and supported our amazing W1 in spirit while downing our sorrows in burgers and lager.

Uploaded Saturday 7th May, 22:57

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3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Ollie Dutton, 2: Jamil Mustafa, 3: Will Broadbelt, 4: Jason Delp, 5: Ben Jennings, 6: Jamil Jami, 7: Harry Perkin, Stroke: Toby Roeder, Cox: Izzy Rudd

6th out of 13 Mays 3rd & Lower; 1st leg: 07:21.3, 2nd leg: 07:44.0 (combined 15:05.3)

Tobias Roeder reports:

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Head to Head Race – who came up with that? It is basically as much fun as a double 2k test, just on the river. But obviously that did not deter our valiant M3 (or more like M2.5). When we had banked up for marshalling, Ollie Russell, Lord Treasurer of the Boat Club, laid out the race tactics. Push as hard as if there is only one race and don’t think about the second leg. Apart from that, we spent the waiting time discussing innovative tactics for Bumps, including armed boarding of the other boats, lobbing grenades into the stern or just doing it like Ollie (who is also the nemesis of Sidney Sussex M1). Coming to the actual race, we started off strong with rate 35 and then settled into a good rhythm at 32. While we were gaining on the Robinson M2 in front of us at the beginning, they slipped away after that. The school boy crew from Bedford behind us was on the horizon and only just distinguishable by the Stroke because he brought his prescription sunglasses. After a strong row down the reach, Izzy steered us nicely around the corners with only a slight pressure drop. We took it right back up from First Post Corner and finished it off with an ‘Empty the Tanks’-call by Izzy, which we did. Banking up for the race back, we were listening with some amusement to the Bedford coach telling his boys that they will ‘now crush them and crush them’, pointing first at the boat behind them and then at us. When we set off again, they, admittedly, kept their distance with us at the beginning (having also started a bit closer to us than on the way downstream); not for long, however. We mostly concentrated on our own rowing, which was actually cleaner with a slightly slower rate than on the first 2k. We put the pressure down with our cox calling power builds at various points, the last one on entering the Reach. Deadly determination took us down the first half of it; with the knowledge of being close to the Bridge, a Power 10 and another emptying the tanks (true to the 2k test motto: You won’t need your legs after this!) we finished off the race.

The result: we beat any other M3 crew and anyone behind us in Bumps (incl. last year's bladers Wolfson II by nearly half a minute). We were also only 5 seconds off Robinson II, who are actually firmly placed in the Mays division above ours. Therefore, the path is laid: to Glory!

Uploaded Sunday 1st May, 3:34

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3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Betsy‑Ann Ward, 2: Sabine Hallamasek, 3: Rosie Vince, 4: Miriam Gordon, 5: Josie Newman, 6: Rachael Young, 7: Jess Lindley, Stroke: Katie Wilkinson, Cox: Jing Jin

5th out of 7 Mays 3rd & Lower boats. 1st leg: 8:33.9, 2nd leg: 9:06.3 (combined 17:40.2)

Katie Wilkinson reports:

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After having complained a suitable amount about the early division time that deprived us of our Saturday morning lie in, it was actually wonderful to set off rowing in the early morning sun, a luxury that the later divisions wouldn’t get to enjoy. Going into the race our crew’s plan was mainly (as it seems everyone’s was) to give everything in the first leg, and then survive the row back while trying to maintain the technique. Although we were slightly late to marshalling after a confused Sabine was dragged out of bed, there was still plenty of time for us to enjoy the chaos; stern pair became more used to backing down than rowing by the time we got to start. We had no rate counter for the race, but the rate felt high enough and after a bumpy start we settled into a strong rhythm to the lock. Jing steered us masterfully around all the corners, only losing her composure once as we skimmed past Grassy Corner. The way back was mainly just painful, but the crew put in a strong effort to try and push us away from a gaining W1 boat, although we were overtaken a few metres from the end :(. After making it home we enjoyed an amazing chocolatey race cake (thank you Jing!).

Uploaded Sunday 8th May, 12:25

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