This weekend was the 142nd Burton Regatta. I personally competed in 5 events over the weekend. Saturday’s course was 1100m and Sunday’s a much more civilized 450m.
Perhaps I should start by explaining the title of this post! Because it has rained quite heavily pretty much all day friday, the river has risen quite a bit. In fact all but one or two buoys were not submerged. Also, the landing stages were partly under water. So, we soon developed a routine for landing. We would stop just before getting to the landing stage and all take our socks off.
I was in the Senior 3 Eight, Senior 4 Coxed Four on Saturday and the Senior 3 Eight, Senior 4 Coxed Four and Senior 3 Coxed Four on Sunday.
So, the first race of the day just happened to be mine! We were up against the Senior 4 Coxed Four of Churchill College. They powered off the start taking an early lead within the first 5 strokes, but we stayed with them. Once we got into our rhythm we powered through them taking a lead of just over a length after 20-30 strokes, which we then sat on for the rest of the race. They did start coming back at us at one point but we responded keeping our lead comfortably. So, we were through the the Semi final, and I’d won my first race!
Next up was the Semi final. This time we were up against John Snow College. Again they powered off the start gaining a lead of about half a length, our start was terrible, but our opponents didn’t move away from us. Which I think spurred us on to tidy things up, once we did we went through them pretty quickly and kept pulling away. There were a few man-grunts as we heard the commentator announce that we were 5, possibly 6, lengths up. Still, we kept pushing away and crossed the line comfortably in the lead to put us into the final.
A change of boat for my next race. The Semi final of the Senior 3 Eight was up next, with us being up against our local rivals Burton Leander. Both crews pushed off the line hard and the rate kept building throughout the race. It was a really close race, I think they took a lead from the start. But we kept our heads and our shape and got ourselves back into the race. With the rest of Trent Rowing Club screaming at us from the bank we came through and won by a canvas. An awesome row by the whole crew, considering it was only our 2nd or 3rd outing as a whole crew. I think we shocked our rivals with that win.
So, at my first Burton Regatta I’d managed to get through to two finals by winning three straight races. Unfortunately, that’s where my winning streak ended. We lost the final of the Senior 3 Eight to Burton Leander by a couple of lengths. To be fair most, if not all, or us had been racing all day and the other crew were still pretty fresh. For the majority of the eight crew members it was their first race of the day. We also lost the final of the Senior 4 Coxed Four by a couple of lengths. I gave my all in that last race, squeezing with everything I had left on every stroke. But, I was pretty much running on empty by that point. It may not seem a lot, but 1100 metres is a very long way, especially when you’ve already had 4 hard races before hand.
So, on to Sunday…..
I was hoping to lose my novice rating as the distance was a measly 450 metres. I was in three events, Senior 3 Eight, Senior 4 Coxed Four and Senior 3 Coxed Four. The first race was the Senior 4 Coxed Four, our competitors had to withdraw, but we still had to row the course. So, we used it as a training piece to try and get ourselves sorted for the coming “real” races. Because one of the crew was also in the Senior 3 Coxed Four on the Saturday and won the event, there were now too many points in the boat for that same crew to compete at Senior 4 level. So, someone else was subbed in, and that “row over” was our first session on the water together as a crew. Anyway, it paid dividends, as we also won the semi final in a close fought race by a canvas. We just managed to hold on until the finish line, accompanied by the usual “screaming” from the river bank. It just wasn’t to be, getting rid of my novice status that is. We lost the final, it wasn’t particularly tidy or powerful, but we’d done ourselves proud by getting through. There is definitely a pot winning potential in that crew.
Unfortunately we lost our heat in the Senior 3 Eight and in the Senior 3 Coxed Four. I was subbed into the latter on the day because of that same guy winning the previous day and tipping the boat into the Senior 2 category. So, I was pulled in to drop the points back down so we could race at Senior 3 level. It was a big ask for me to just drop into the boat with no training or practice. I did my best but it was all a bit messy if I’m brutally honest.
Still it was a really good weekend, very tiring, but promising for future regattas.
The club won 13 events in all, which is a record, so that was pretty cool.
I finished the day off by rowing a Four back with one other guy and someone coxing it. That was a very wobbly affair, but I even enjoyed that.