Last weekend saw a first – the Women’s, Men’s and Schools’ Heads of the River all taking place on consecutive days over the same 6.8k Tideway course in London. 12 Cantabs crews took to the water, coming home with some good results.
With 4 crews entered, Cantabs were amongst the most represented clubs at WEHORR, which had 300 entrants.
After last year’s 14th place finish and win of the Provincial Pennant, the A crew had a great race, where they were pushed hard for the first half by a crew from Newcastle University which contained multiple athletes who have represented GB at the U23 World Championships, whilst gaining on a crew from Headington School, who last year won the School/Junior Pennant.
The crew put in a brilliant performance and finished 20th overall. Unfortunately their time of 20:00.7 was a mere 1.5 seconds slower than Nottingham Rowing Club’s GB-funded High Performance Centre, resulting on Cantabs narrowly missing out on retaining the Provincial Pennant. WEHORR 2019 should certainly make for an exciting race, where Cantabs will start directly behind Nottingham!
The B crew were the strongest B crew that Cantabs have ever fielded, and were aiming for a top 50 finish. Unfortunately, they suffered a blade clash with a slower crew in the opening minutes, with the slower crew steering into them, resulting in the Cantabs 7-girl catching a boat-stopper. However, the crew had an excellent row once restarted and finished 60th overall despite the loss of around 20 seconds earlier in the race. Their time put them faster than crews from large university programmes and Molesey BC’s C crew.
The C crew had a good race to finish 128th, with cox Sayana Turpin-Aviram doing well in her first ever race on the Tideway. Their time was 4th fastest from all Cambridge town clubs, behind Cantabs A and B, and only 10 seconds behind Cambridge 99’s A crew.
The D crew from the Intermediate Women’s Squad finished 209th with another coxing first for Izzy Ng, who put in a good performance despite suffering cox box failure along the course. The crew fended off a sustained challenge from Hertford College BC, who they fended off until just o the line. Both crews enjoyed the battle which ended with 3 cheers all round, with what breath was left..!
Cantabs A – Fi Macklin, Ellie Darlington, Andrea de Bruin, Megan Lloyd-Palmer, Anna Suchánková, Emma Dalrymple, Jessie Spivey, Georgia Vann, Esther Momcilovic (cox)
Cantabs B – Anita Holender, Bailee Stratton, Hannah Stewart, Anna te Water Naudé, Ce Collins-Taylor, Valentina Sassow, Helen Fishwick, Eve Beere, Isabel Nimmo (cox)
Cantabs C – Gill Cooper, Judith Weik, Emma Fowler, Christina Woolner, Debbie Morley, Bea Watts, Hana Lango Allen, Hannah Tattersall, Sayana Turpin-Aviram (cox)
Sunday saw 2 men’s crews from Cantabs race at the Head of the River.
Despite coming together relatively late, the A crew finished a creditable 126th and will now be keen to build on that performance for summer racing.
Many of the B crew from the Intermediate Men’s Squad had never raced on the Tideway before, and for some it was their first ever ‘British Rowing’ event. Going off 2nd from last, the crew nonetheless enjoyed their race, overtaking 4 crews along the course to finish 235th overall.
Cantabs A – Nick Rice, Guy Fiddian, Tom Hetherington, Andrew Marsden, Tom Wordsworth, Sean Collins, James Wood, Jack Goode, Sara Russo (cox)
Cantabs B – Sam Bray, Derek Rutter, Meelis Lootus, Ben Hanson, James Lindsay, Xi He Jiao, Sebastian Manhart, Petr Arnold, Natasha Michael (cox)
Topping off a weekend of racing was the Schools Head of the River Race on Monday. There were 6 entries from Cantabs and Hills Road, many of whom were racing their first ever Tideway race, including two J16 crews. The conditions were much better than at last year’s event, which had to be shortened to just 1.7k.
The boys’ 1st 8+ broke the Hills Road record with a time of 19:11.4, which sets them up well as they turn their attention preparing for National Schools Regatta in May. The boys’ 2nd 8+ and girls’ 8+ also performed well in what for the majority of them was their first Tideway experience.
The J16 Performance Squad raced and produced some further promising results. The girls have turned their focus away from the 4x- and onto sweep as they hope to compete in an 8+ over the coming regatta season. They came 8th in their category, and will next race at Champs Junior Head where they will race the 8+ to get a time for the JIRR competition, in the hope of progressing to the next round. The boys came 12th in the J16.4x- category, putting in a strong row to finish in 19:59.0.
Finally, the W.J18 squad decided to challenge themselves and switch from sculling to sweep for SHORR. Having had success in the 4x- last season, coming 4th at the British Junior Championships, the girls worked on producing an 8+. Despite facing challenges in training, the crew came together on the day to put in one of their best rows in their 8+, beating the Hills boys’ 2nd 8+, despite their time not being quite as quick as they had hoped.
- Girls’ Sch 1st 8+ : 10th, 14th
- Girls’ J16.8+ : 8th
- J16.4x- : 12th
- Sch 1st 8+ : 17th
- Sch 2nd 8+ : 11th
To all the coaches, welly-catchers, supporters, trailer drivers and race organisers who made the long weekend a success including (but certainly not limited to!) Adrian Boyle, Andy Johnson, Carrie Frazer, Debbie Morley, Gary O’Shea, Gill Cooper, Jon Winch, Maureen Donnelly, Mike Hunter, Nick Siragher, Oli Frazer, Phil Gunning, Sam Hardy. And of course special thanks to Women’s Head Coach Tom Copeland, who was unable to make it to WEHORR as he was ill, but who made their success possible. Get well soon, Tom!