On Sunday 9th June 2013 I travelled to Trentham Gardens, near Stoke-on-Trent to compete at the regatta. I would be competing in 2 events, the IM3 coxless quad (IM3 4x-) and the masters coxless quad (
The first race of the day for me was at 13:10 against Leicester RC. Our crew had never actually rowed together before as a quad. We’ve rowed together in other boats, but never as a crew. I say never, we may have in the dim and distant past!! It was pretty close all the way down the 750m course, we managed a win by a length or two. It was hard work, but very nice to get a win at my first regatta since August 2009.
Trentham operate a “winner stays on” system, so we paddled back up to the start for the final of the event. The boat was moving well, we’d got a good start in the semi-final and we decided to do a few more exercises on the way back up to the start. Things were looking better than I’d expected for what was effectively a scratch crew.
We came up against a crew from Agecroft Rowing Club in the final. They got a slight jump on us at the start, but we pulled level with them quite quickly and we starting to row through them. But, they came back at us and we ended up in a mad sprint for the line apart from a small section at the start! We made 2 or 3 pushes, but so did they. We crossed the line and both crews looked at the other, neither of us knew who’d got it. Unfortunately we didn’t get the usual quick announcement from the officials, so we hung around waving arms and shouting at the officials for 5 minutes!! Eventually we found out that Agecroft had won by a foot. I was sure we’d won as when we looked over after the finish we were the faster boat at that point. But, I guess Agecroft took their final stroke just before the finish line and nudged in front of us. If we’d done that we’d have got it.
We were all gutted as we’d given our all. Oh well, there is always next time!
The other event for me was the Masters Quad. We’d got a bye into the final, which was scheduled for 18:19. So, I had plenty of time to kill and spent a while sitting with Team Trent watching some of the other races and getting very hot under the baking sun. The setting for Trentham is beautiful, and there are plenty of shady spots to cool down in.
By the time our race time arrived I was actually quite chilled out, so a short warm up run was called for to wake myself up!
We’d rowed together for the first time as a crew the previous day and it had gone really well. During some “up 2s” we’d done the boat was really shifting and we’d figured out a good start that was smooth and fast. We were optimistic. However, as the other crew were Masters D and we were only Masters C, they were entitled to a 5 second head start. That 5 seconds probably equates to 3 or 4 boat lengths. So, we were always chasing them. I think we got to within a length of them but they just had too much of a lead and too much experience to let us young upstarts take the lead. We finished about 2 seconds behind.
Unfortunately we didn’t row as well as we had the previous day in training. We were scheduled to be the last race of the day but as things turned out we were 2nd to last. So, the banks were empty apart from Trent supporters. All in all a very enjoyable day which gives promise of more success in the future.