25 Feb Fixture No 1 : CUWBC v A.S.R. Nereus
Fixture Season starts for CUWBC with A.S.R. Nereus
We were excited to welcome A.S.R. Nereus women’s eight to the Tideway. We were pleased such a high calibre crew would make the trip over to race us. It was a huge vote of confidence for CUWBC, our international reputation and our speed.
The racing was split over two pieces. The first was from the Boat Race start (just after Putney Bridge) to Chiswick Steps (~4 kilometres).
The starts were clean from both crews but Nereus, on the Middlesex station, moved ahead by a few seats as we passed the line of boats. They took some more water and made good use of their early bend advantage to lead by a few lengths coming towards Hammersmith Bridge. From this point, however, we managed to match their speed well and ended up with a length of open water at Chiswick Steps. I’m not sure on the exact distances as I couldn’t see much from the four seat, but this is what I am told! We spun the boats and had a debrief with our coaches,Chief Coach Robert Weber and Guest Coach Miles Forbes-Thomas. The aim was to improve our performance for the second race.
We kept our heads up and the loss of the first piece proved to be the kick we needed to find our racing rhythm. We attacked right from the start of the second piece which went from Chiswick Steps to the Boat Race finish line (~3 kilometres). Our rowing was sharper, more confident and ultimately, more effective than the first race. We moved up to half a boat length lead (in the four seat, I was sitting on their bow-ball for what felt like a long time). Both crews made some big pushes and the lead changed hands back to Nereus as we came under Barnes Bridge and their bend advantage came into effect. We made a push for the line in the last few hundred metres to try and draw ahead of Nereus.
It wasn’t quite enough, however, and we finished about 3 seats down. This was a really encouraging result and proved we could match or exceed the boat speed of the Nereus crew coming around a significant Middlesex bend advantage.
Although we are disappointed with two losses, we were heartened by the second piece. We came back fighting and gave an international level crew a nail-biting race. Lots of lessons learned and I am really proud of the crew!
Thank you to the Nereus crew and their coach for making the trip. It was a pleasure to race and spend time with you.
Also big thanks to our Assistant Coach, Astrid Cohnen, for helping set up the race. We would like to thank Richard Phelps our Umpire and, as always, Thames RC members for making us all so welcome.
Larkin Sayre (Emmanuel College)