A crew story – racing at Henley Womens Regatta


Finally Henley!

Yes – our moment of glory had arrived.  All the months of hard work, outings in all weathers, training camps, step tests, 2k tests, hours of endless ergs, emotional ups and downs, a total lack of cheese and wine (ouch)… all led us to this weekend.

Our Henley dream started with the qualifying time trial on Friday morning… this was a good start – literally. We stormed it down the course, gaining on Wallbrook who started in front of us, and we seemed to get a good time as it looked as though from the draw, we were seeded.

This gave us some confidence for our first race on Saturday morning against Reading.
Again, the start was good, we pulled away from them with relative ease… we heard them make a couple of pushes along the way… not really gaining on us.  They stayed relatively close for the entire race, but clearly not close enough – we beat them by half a length and matched the course record of 5.04.

Our second race we knew without a doubt would be close one.  Agecroft, our long standing rivals were our competition.  Nerves kicked in – but also a dogged determination that we would not let them walk away winners – at least not without a darn good fight to the death.

Matthew Pinsent himself started our race… a good omen we thought.  Even though Agecroft have a cracking good start as a team we held our own and gained a few seats on them.  500m in and we were side by side.

You could not have gotten a closer race the whole way down.

We gave a VERY good push near the end, even gaining a couple of seats on them – but they came straight back at us, and led to Agecroft beating us by a mere foot, a photo finish, and a joint course record for the day of 5.01 for us and Agecroft.

Agecroft went on to lose in the next race to Mortlake Anglian Alpha by one and a quarter lengths.  The final was won by Thames Rowing Club with a time of 4.58.

We were all of course devastated that we did not get a chance to race on Sunday which was our aim but to finish on such a close race has made all the hard work worth it.

And besides…….there is always next year………………..

Emma Drew Seat 5 City of Bristol womens eight 2010

During our race against Agecroft I remember thinking that if I didn’t have a Coxmate SCT things would have ended up very differently.

I know we lost the race but the Coxmate kept us in it until the last foot.

As we came off the start I noticed that we were overrating Agecroft; a quick look at the Coxmate and our splits were too high. So I called for more length and in a matter of a couple of strokes, the splits started to come down.  We were coming back.

Unfortunately we lost.  But I doubt that we would have been there, fighting until the last foot if we didn’t use the Coxmate.  Not only during the final race but especially during all those hours of training trying to tweak every movement to get closer to reproduce that perfect stroke.  Having such an immediate feedback helped us improving at each stroke.

I’m sure that our next Henley campaign won’t start without a Coxmate!

The Women’s Squad first VIII of the City of Bristol Rowing Club

  • stroke: Katie Handford,
  • 7: Jihan EL-Labany,
  • 6: Bekki Kedward,
  • 5: Emma Drew,
  • 4: Lucy Imeson,
  • 3: Vicky Weare,
  • 2: Hazel Fullman,
  • 1: Caroline Barker,
  • cox: Diego Colantoni

We would like to thank Rebecca Caroe and Nic Bourne at Rowperfect UK: without you and your constant support that foot would have been much longer!

Diego Colantoni – Cox City of Bristol Rowing Club/p>


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