On Sunday 12th March, the top men’s and women’s 8s not only finished as the fastest men’s and women’s crews at Cambridge Winter League, but both walked away with course records in the event.
Having only got back to Cambridge in the wee hours after their victory ceremony after winning the Provincial Pennant at the Women’s Eights Head of the River the day before, a very tired Millie Perrin, Ellie Darlington, Jordan Bruce, Eve Caroe, Megan Lloyd-Palmer, Bailee Stratton, Harriet Cross, Georgia Vann and Esther Momcilovic completed the course in 9:44, beating their previous course record by nearly 9 seconds in the process. They finished Winter League as the fastest women’s eight, also winning the W.IM2.8+ title, in the process beating City of Cambridge and Cantabs’ men’s 2nd eights.
A similarly tired eight comprising athletes from the 2nd and 3rd WEHoRR eights also had a good row and finished as clear winners of W.IM3.8+. Anita Holender, Cecilia Collins-Taylor, Merodie Rose, Hannah Stewart, Alice Brownjohn, Catherine Watson, Gill Cooper, Judith Weik and cox Leanne Fiddian were also the second fastest W8+ overall, beating all of the top crews from other clubs.
Women’s Captain, Ellie Darligton, said “It says a lot about the mental toughness and competitiveness of both of these crews that we attacked these races despite being tired from racing 4.25 miles less than 24 hours before, and starting with large margins over the second placed crews in our events. There was an audible groan in the first eight when Esther indicated about two-thirds of the way into the race that we were on track for a new course record, when we knew that despite tired legs, minimal sleep and hangovers, we had no choice but to put our foot on the gas”.
The Senior Men’s Squad entered two eights into the event as one of their final race practices before it’s their turn to do a Tideway head at Head of the River in 2 weeks’ time. Keen to get some extra practice, the 1st eight raced in two divisions. The crew of James King, Guy Fiddian, Alfred Jacquemot, Hannes Dinse, Erik Sullivan, Andrew Marsden, Tom Chess, Charlie Cullen and cox Sara Russo, inspired by the Senior Women’s effort at Winter League 2, set out with an aim to break the course record which had stood for many years.
Going off 1st in division 1, they stopped the clock in 8:46, knocking 2 seconds off the previous record, and beating the next fastest M8+ by 38 seconds. The crew’s 2nd race saw them start behind the top crew from City of Cambridge RC, with the crew determined to close the gap between them between the start and finish. The plan proved successful, with Cantabs taking 27 seconds out of City and finishing the course with overlap, clocking 8:42.
There was victory for another eight, with a Hills Road crew winning NOV.8+, and two single scullers – Georgie Plunkett in W.IM3.1x and Andrew Morley in MasBC.1x.
Full results can be found here. There are write-ups of the club’s performance at Winter League in this week’s Cambridge Independent and Cambridge News newspapers.