On Saturday 28th January, over 230 crews marshalled ahead of the 12:15pm start of this year’s Quintin Head, three of which representing KCLBC. Our entries included one WIM3 crew and two crews in the Women’s Novice category. Quintin would be our first head race of 2017 and therefore an excellent opportunity to see how we measure up against our opposition as the season builds.
The first of our eights to begin was the IM3 crew (left). The crew of Emily Thomas, Dani Wilcock, Steffi Stone, Amy Kilby, Molly Hackett, Ali Meakes, Cat Taube, Amber Simon, and coxswain Manuela de Mendonça set the bar for the year ahead as they came away victorious with the WIM3 pennant.
Next up was the Second Eight (right), a composite consisting of five senior squad members and three fresher rowers. Despite only having trained as a full crew for a week they were confident that they would perform, and placed comfortably within the top ten Novice crews in ninth place. The crew was made up of Zana Ajeti, Jess Southwell, Esme Milton, Nicole Seredenko, Jess Woolley, Justine Denis, Rosie Noonan, Juliet McQueen and coxed by Teresa Nip.
The final crew to start was the Third VIII (below). Jasper Couper coxed the crew of Emily Brothwood, Di Cooke, Emily McHarg, Lucy Hutton, Sophie Taylor, Molly Connington, Vicky Griffin and Georgia Heaver-Wren. They fought hard throughout and we can’t wait to see how they progress as racing picks up in the next couple of months.
The First VIII, Ali Meakes
The senior 1st 8+ were racing IM3 heading off at number 173. The paddle up to the start left little room between them and the crews in front and behind and they came through Hammersmith Bridge at r35, hot on the heels of the Auriol Kensington crew in front with Bristol Uni chasing them down. A strong start meant the crew had taken AK within the first couple of minutes but Bristol were putting on a push threatening to overtake. Down the island straight the crew pulled out a strong performance in the rough water, responding well to the cox’s calls, and started to put some distance back between them and the crews behind. The girls put in another push at Barnes Bridge, spurred on by supporters, taking them to the final wind up under Chiswick Bridge. A strong finish led the crew to an IM3 win, the first win for several of the crew who only started the sport last year. A big thank you to all who came to support us especially the men’s squad, Professor Gleeson and our coaches Kieran Clark and Jack Carr. Onwards and upwards to the next race!
The Second VIII, Jess Southwell
We waited quietly in the marshalling area, bobbing up and down in launch wash, nibbling on jelly babies and secretly sizing up other crews as they rowed past us. We were a crew that had only been together for a week, composed of 3 freshers and 5 senior girls, so we knew that the race would be a tough one for us, but we were confident anyway. We spun rather hastily, and got ready for the row. Our cox, Big T, gave us all a few final words to focus us in on the race, before our engine four (Esme, Jess, Nicole, and Justine) set about laying down some power for the first few strokes to get the boat speed up. The first kilometre stretch was strong, although the boat was still finding its rhythm. Stern pair Zana and Jess wound the rate up to a steady, manageable 28, backed up nicely by middle four, whilst bow pair Rosie and Juliet kept the bows up out of the water. As we came past Chiswick Eyot, the bad water struck us hard. A mixture of launch wash from the marshals and a small element of wind against tide, the newly formed crew struggled through the rough water together. Once we saw UCL on our tails, with the IC crew coming up on them, a new lease of power pushed the boat through the bad water. Barnes Bridge was soon in sight. A big ten on the legs through the bridge pushed us hard away from the UCL boat, who were still caught in the bad water that we’d powered through and left behind. Legs and lungs screaming, the power increased as we heard the cheers from the bridge above. Coming past TSS, entering that final sprint, we struggled to get the rate up above 30, but we still made distance between ourselves and the other crews, coming up close to Lea who were ahead of us. The final 200 were a blur, and we finished strong, secretly incredibly happy that the row back to TSS was to be a very short one.
Race report for Third VIII to follow