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Second Trinity Challenge Sculls 2018

Tuesday 13th March

Previous event: Head of the River Race - Following event: Cardinals Regatta

Jon Swain / Tom Hilbourne (Men's Double Scull A)

11:43.2, fastest double/pair, 3rd overall.

Tom Hilbourne reports:


It is said that a star that burns twice as bright, lives half as long; which probably explains the longevity of Jon's rowing career. Nevertheless, all good things must come to an end so it was with a drunken heart that he agreed to row a double with me in the most prestigious race of the year: the S̶e̶c̶o̶n̶d̶ ̶T̶r̶i̶n̶i̶t̶y̶ ̶S̶c̶u̶l̶l̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶C̶h̶a̶l̶l̶e̶n̶g̶e̶ Second Trinity Challenge Sculls.

Our first outing was last Monday and, such was the physical exhaustion and lack of organisation, the succeeding one was on Saturday. It was a steep learning curve if I’m being honest. For me, how to get both blades in the water at the same time and then apply some power and then take them out at the correct time (or two of the three). For Jon, the realisation that this was the climax, the pièce de résistance, the cumulation of 7 and a half years of rowing. I don’t know which one was harder.

We were joined in the latter two sessions by Stella and Gripper to see if something could be salvaged. Miraculously, things were feeling good by race day and even Gripper thought we would be OK (high esteemed praise from my experience).

We rowed down which was, in my opinion, enough exercise for the day but I was informed that we would have to race back. Jon massaged his ego by talking to the trialists who would be sculling in the same race and Gripper tried to top up his tan as we waited for any visible sign of any authority. They eventually arrived and the race was underway.

The tactic was high rate, low power as Grip reckoned our forearms would go instantly if we tried to use them. The man speaks the truth. The start was good and we got 500m down from the motorway bridge to then observe the Jesus pair behind us crash into the bridge (the first of ~8 crashes they would perform en route to the finish line). So with them in the distance, it was a remarkably solitary race. We crossed the line and then both instantly cramped up.

So there we have it. Jon’s last rowing race until he decides to come out of retirement for the fifth time. The boat club won’t see the same level of hair/bad-chat/gingerness for a some time to come.

Uploaded Wednesday 14th March, 18:54


Photo of the Men's Double Scull A: click to view full size.