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Women's Eights Head of the River Race 2017

Saturday 11th March

Previous event: Lent Bumps - Following event: Second Trinity Challenge Sculls

1st Women's VIII

Bow: Abbie Currington, 2: Philippa Slay, 3: Tamsin Bell, 4: Robyn Hamer, 5: Edith Ross, 6: Jamie Fox, 7: Ariane Dupas, Stroke: Anna Peel, Cox: Harry Ellison‑Wright

106th in a time of 20:51.2, 4th fastest Cambridge college

Ariane Dupas reports:


For this race, we welcomed 2 new crew members – thank you Jamie and Abbie! Ada and Katie, we miss you loads, good luck with exams.

So the Thames. Mainly, it’s big, really big, when all you’ve ever rowed on is the (now I realise tiny) river Cam. And it’s also quite long. Going through the amazing racing plan wrote by Harry, we were trying to convert the distances in Cam units: it was definitely not a good idea. But after that, we had a vague idea of landmarks along the course to situate ourselves during the race.

The sun shining on the Thames, on our re-rigged and ready to go Filippi and on our lunch bench kept our spirit high. Marshalling and racing in those conditions was going to be ideal. Most of the spare kit brought was going to stay in the bags. Our race number was very low -295- so we saw all the other Cambridge crews we came with leave before us. When it was finally our turn, we crossed the river to join the long file of boats heading towards the start. Having have never taken part into such a big race, it was very exciting! Marshalling was long and required a lot of focus from Harry not to crash into other boats. Getting our bow number knocked off by Anglia Ruskin 5 mins before the start didn’t help our nerves. The start felt good and quick. Building out of the bridge, Harry made the ritual legs call to bring the rate down to 34. We overtook a Cardiff university boat about a minute after the start. Chiswick pier came a lot quicker than I thought it would and after a much-needed leg call to keep the ratio, Harry was pointing our bow to the Hammersmith lamp post. Throughout the race we overtook 7 boats, I genuinely can’t remember who. The stream considerably run out while we were rowing and we could feel the difference but Harry kept a perfect racing line.

We stormed it pass Sons of Thames and Hammersmith bridge. Then we started to get tired. The technique started to go slightly but a few good calls from Harry got us back on track. By Fulham FC, the legs were not following any more. We fought to still kept our finishes in. We pushed it into the 500m and really tried to push it again into the last 250m. After what felt like a pretty long but quite enjoyable row back, Gripper’s happy smile welcomed us. Being lower than Downing by about 150 boats, we still managed to beat them by 0.5s!

For a crew that had had 2 outings together, with a new stroke -thank you Anna you were fantastic- we did pretty well! Mainly, I think everyone enjoyed it a lot.

Thank you very much to Garrett Kelsoe for the speedcoach, it is amazing!

And thank you so much for everything Gripper!

Uploaded Wednesday 15th March, 21:31


Photos of the 1st Women's VIII: click to view full size.