Womens' Head of the River Race 2013

Some energetic tweeting today brings us the news that Sons B came 160 from 203 in 21:12.99, Sons A 203 from 167 in 21:38.56. Both boats contained a number of women who had only started rowing in the summer which underlines the excellent progress many have made. We're grateful to two of them - Sandra and Susi - for this account.

When we started rowing eight months ago, it seemed like such a great idea, paddling in the sunshine…. BUT soon Cat, Emily and Paul showed their true colours, which included 5k tests, ergs, loooonnng ergs, relays, pieces, training diaries, weights and some more ergs. However, after our very first race experience in Kingston the WeHORR sounded like something fun.

As time came closer reality kicked in; crew selections, fights for seats and boats. The final selection was set in stone one week before the big race. As the last days passed nerves started to take over, the sleepless nights and vivid dreams began..

Luckily there were lots of crew emails, support and inspiration from the coaches. Craig supported us in his own way by drinking “so much alcohol that there was none left for us to drink before the race” J

The night before the race, we had a massive carb loading session, crew bonding and serious creative nail painting. These final touches for the race, helped us to calm our nerves (some needed it more than others (Susi) not mentioning any names )

Paul was prepared for every weather condition, handing out “hand/core/feet/…” warmers, which was highly appreciated during the marshaling.

Now it was time to ‘sit up UP UP’ and be proud ‘Sons of the Thames’.

During the marshaling Boat B had a very inventive stroke who tried to distract the competition by stripping, but it also threw off the cox (Tony B) slightly. Last minute candy was passed around for a good sugar rush and then it was time to de-kit (not strip) and spin the boat.

Passing under Chiswick Bridge, the start of 6.8k, felt good, we settled in our rating nicely and reached Barnes Bridge before we knew it. The coxes picked us up when needed (and we needed it!) By the time we reached the club legs were numb, arses sore and arms heavy, but all the “C’mon Sons” made us forget and we pushed just a little harder through Hammersmith Bridge. Then the “fun” part started, the long haul to Putney Pier. Somehow we managed to finish and finally the cox call we’ve all been waiting for “wind down” came across the cox box. Extremely tired, but happy we survived, we came back to the club were we could finally have a warm shower and cold beer!

When the results came in we were very proud of our women’s squad, since most of us had only started rowing during summer. It’s good to see all the hard work from our coaches has paid off! Now we’re looking forward to enjoy a nice paddle in the sunshine, or win a pot J

Susi (Boat A) & Sandra (Boat B)

Bruce Maclachlan