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Henley Qualifiers 2016

Friday 24th June

Previous event: Marlow Regatta - Following event: Henley Royal Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Tim Tito Rademacher, 2: Jon Swain, 3: Stephen Kindness, 4: James Henderson, 5: Quentin Gouil, 6: Ben Evans, 7: Callum McKenzie, Stroke: Riccardo Conci, Cox: Rosemary Ostfeld


Quentin Gouil reports:


Henley Temple Challenge Qualifiers: qualified

We met at 7:20am sharp at the Clare boathouse (well 7:24am) for the same drive as three days earlier. The radio was stuck on some comedy show; the British have a knack for the absurd. We went for a short outing in the morning to tune bodies and brains to the boat and conditions. We paddled down the course, rehearsing calls and landmarks. It all felt very solid and we were excited for ourĀ 4pm time trial.

Whetherspoon once again provided a home for our team, and some even managed to get a nap in before being told to sit straight by an unimpressed staff, ''there is a hotel upstairs''.

Finally it was time: Gripper and Andy once again found the words to fire us up (plus ''don't forget the catches'', thanks Ricky), and we arrived in good time at the start. Given the strenght of the wind (16-21 mph) and stream, clams were affixed to the blades, letting us rate much higher in the practice starts. Rosemary bought us some time before setting off behind Cardiff to avoid their dirty water, even as the stern-pair-half-slide tapping left the umpire very unentertained.

Good start, finding rhythm, the barrier arrived quickly. Then it was on to Fawley (the tree house roughly halfway). The discrepancy between what the legs said and what the Stroke Coach said (1:45 split) was annoying! But the conditions were the same for all crews and Cornell B, a strong contender for qualification, were not making much ground on us. They also made the bold choice of racing the entire course on the side with the fastest stream, but I guess in Ithaca they train on a lake, and there aren't as many nice houses to look at when you row.

As we reached the enclosures we prepared to wind it up in three stretches of 20 strokes. That was certainly the intent, but the extra power was impossible to summon and I don't think we gained any speed. It's always good to finish a race knowing there was nothing more you could have done.

The one-hour wait between the end of our race and the results was agonising. However when they came, thanks to Clare/Hughes appearing early in the alphabetical order we were the first crew to learn about its qualification! We are officially racing at Henley, with all the trimmings, next Wednesday! Loving nothing more than direct competition, we are super keen to get through the first round and will train well in Cambridge over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Uploaded Friday 24th June, 23:05


Photo of the 1st Men's VIII: click to view full size.