Peterborough Regatta 2013 : From novice to IM2 to one weekend

How to describe racing at Peterborough? For some of us, it’s been the best racing weekend of the season so far and what a weekend it was! We went from Novice status to IM2 in our 4+ in less than 24 hours.


We arrived at Peterborough on Friday afternoon/evening ready for the weekend, which was going to be fairly busy, with the mad racing schedule the coaches had in place for us. We had probably the largest number of boat combinations that Sons’ ladies squad has taken to PEBO in recent years, due to the increased number of rowers in our squad.

But focusing on the WN4+ that had raced at Putney Town, we went in on Saturday with a lot of energy, a fair amount of nerves and a huge desire to win a regatta. The coaches kept the same boat combination: Stroke – Babs; 3 – Lucy; 2 – Josie; Bow – Sandra and Tash as our Cox. We had been training as much as we could and we knew we had a fairly good chance to win. We went into our Heat on Saturday morning with one goal in mind: do our own race – this has always been our motto. And we did, we won the heat to move to the semi finals with clear water between us and the other 3 boats. 

The semi final was more complicated, maybe we let the nerves get to us, maybe because we had another Sons crew racing us and we got caught up in the emotion of competing against some of ‘us’ but we got through, again, ahead of our opposition. When we got out of the water, we had a little chat and told each other: relax, we can do this. Our coaches, Cat and Paul told us: ‘Go out there and, no matter what the end result is, make it your best row, leave it all out on the water. Don’t come out thinking you could have done more or better’. We told ourselves in the crew: Let’s show ourselves what we are made of.

We have a little tradition, maybe the same as in other crews, but we always “pass the good luck” up the boat, from stroke to cox (in a bow loader) or from cox to bow (in a stern loader). It’s always been my way to calm my own nerves but it’s also a way to assure our team that we are in it together. We all loved our final on Saturday. We pushed from the start and we settled into OUR race, never giving up, OUR rhythm flowing from stroke to bow and back. We couldn’t hear much of what Tash was saying as we lost the cox box early on but we knew what had to be done. We could hear the cheers where our squad and coaches were based, less than 250 metres to the end. We had clear water between us and the other 3 crews and we just kept our rate up and power down in the water.

When the buzzer signalled the end, I remember looking to the sides, looking back towards Lucy behind me and screaming!! We had won our 1st regatta and what a race it had been. We were so relaxed, no rushing, no frustrations, pure enjoyment! We were helped out by our squad friends and hugs all around. We were tired but no one could stop us from smiling!! Group hug, 5 very happy rowers and cox! We put the boat away, had a debrief chat with Cat and Paul to go over what we had done and celebrate that we were no longer novices. That also meant that the next day we would be racing in IM3 and that was a bit of a scary thought.....

Bruce Maclachlan