On Saturday the 9th March, 315 boats took to London’s River Thames for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race, the most prestigious and significant of all Head races of the season. Crews from all over the country and, indeed, the world race at WEHoRR, From Olympic gold medalists to novice rowers who only started the sport in September. UCL Boat Club had four women’s eights entered this year with hopeful expectations for a successful day.
Racing at number 41 were the Senior Women, a crew which had trained together consistently since their first race at Basel Head in November. Though anxious, the nine girls crossed the start line with confidence and drive and finished exhausted but happy that the race had gone well, having overtaken two crews and knowing they had put every training session into every stroke of the race. Having placed 67th out of 315 crews in a time of 20.15.96 meant the girls missed out on improving on last year’s position by just 4 seconds. A 13th place finish out of 120 in the IM3 category and placing one of the top 10 university crews is certainly something to be proud of, putting the girls in good stead for the summer season.
The first of the three novice boats had to wait their turn before going off at number 289. After a difficult start which saw the girls out of the stream trying to avoid a mass of five other crews, the Novice Women’s 1st VIII settled into a solid rhythm and finished 178th; 19th in the Novice Academic category (30th out of all 93 novice crews). The second VIII followed at number 310, finishing strongly at 260th (35th in the Novice Academic category), UCLBC’s fourth eight raced excellently finishing 297th (51st Novice Academic boat) in what was for a few their first ever race. As the first year that the club has sent three novice boats to WEHoRR, the girls showed that UCL have four competent eights that have trained hard together throughout the year, to end the season with some impressive results at the Women’s Head.
Despite some disappointment, all in all the day held many successes for the girls of UCLBC. As WEHoRR gets bigger every year, the competency and strength of every boat steps up and competition intensifies. UCL strive to remain amongst the top university boat clubs in the country, certainly proving to be so at the Head. And with little doubt I can say that the summer season will bring even more for the girls squad of UCLBC.
Athena Mellor, Fundraising & Publicity