Peterborough Regatta 2013: Day 2 - Racing at IM3

Day 2 at Peterborough was more relaxed, we were going to race IM3 level to see what it was like. None of us was going for the pot. But we were going to do our best because you don’t go into a race to lose. There were 3 heats, our crew in Heat 1 and the other Sons crew in Heat 2. A victory would take us to the final, 2nd place would lead to repechage. This time we had Paul, one of our coaches, as our cox and we rowed in Jo Frost, a stern loader – a new experience for me in a Four, up till then, we always rowed in a bow loader. But Paul is an experienced cox and the 4 of us went through our own strategy with him so he was aware of how we like to row, what calls work for us. Paul took everything on board and relaxed us on the row up to the start. We had some time before we were called to line up and got to see some of the other crews start. We did our ‘luck shuffle’ up the boat from me to Sandra but then the girls remind me that this time we had a stern loader so we passed the ‘luck’ around once more and Paul took it but look at me as if I was mad...

The Marshall then called the crews to line up for the 1st WIM3 4+. We went to our lane and, for one second, we all thought Paul had lost the plot and the sense of the race, because our bow was almost at the stake boat. I did turn to him and say: Paul, you realise that the race is the other way round, right? But this was all part of Paul’s plan, we spun and we were in place quicker than any other crew.

We won our heat after a good race against Churchill College and we were off to another final in 2 days. The other Sons crew also won their heat in a tight race against Loughborough. We were going to have another Sons vs Sons race, this time in a final. Churchill College won the repechage and we met them again in the final. We went to rest because 2 of us in the boat were also racing WIM3 8+, which went to repechage. An hour after the repechage, we had our WIM3 4+ final and we tried to relax, get into 4+ spirit. Cat and Paul had a chat with both crews and to us, they told us to enjoy it, see how it went as it was going to be our 1st final as IM3 and it was going to be harder than the day before. 

We were relaxed, we just said (again) to each other, let’s do OUR race. We didn’t think for one minute that we had a chance. We wished good luck to the other crew and got the boat on the water and went up to the start. We practiced just one start and, at that point in time, I felt extremely tired. I had already raced 3 other races that day and wondered if I still had any more energy in me. But I thought that it had to be done and other crews had raced just as much.

We lined up, race faces on but we were relaxed, ready to get the last race of our weekend out of the way. The Marshall on the bank called all the boats, followed by ‘Attention... GO’ and off we went. We kept our rating steady from start to finish and kept our eyes on the boat... most of the way... I know that I kept checking Churchill’s crew to see where they were to see if Paul was going to call for a tactical move to push us away. But I shouldn’t have worried, we were pushing off from the other 3 crews and we were ahead. Paul told me to look at him, he was in control. When we reached 800m, where our squad was cheering for us and the other Sons crew, we had clear water but we kept pushing till we could hear the buzzer. Paul’s voice also told us what we already knew because the level of excitement on his voice was telling us we were winning. When Paul called to ‘easy’, we looked to the sides and then at the each other and it dawned on us what we had done: we had won the WIM3 4+ final! Let’s say that I screamed yet again because I couldn’t believe it! We loved our NOV final the day before but the final on Sunday came in par with it because it was so relaxed, proof that you can have fun while rowing. We gave 3 cheers to the other crews and came off the water shaking because, yes we were so exhausted but also we couldn’t quite grasp that we had won 2 more points. A member of Peterborough Rowing Club took a photo of our crew hugging after we won our 2nd race and it was one of those Kodak moments we are glad someone was there to register it. It symbolises what we felt the whole time we’ve been rowing as a crew.

We can’t thank the coaches enough for their time, help, (wonderful) quotes and trust in us! We couldn’t have done any of this without them.

On Sunday, Sons of the Thames won 3 pots in total and most crews that raced that day made it to a final. The WNOV4+ won their 1stpot and point as well. I think there’s nothing like seeing your friends win their first pot and we were all cheering/screaming for them!

All in all, a very successful weekend for Sons of the Thames Rowing Club.

Babs Pinheiro

Bruce Maclachlan