I left Princethorpe last year and started at Nottingham Trent university studying pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry. While at uni I have taken up rowing and have seen some great success in the last five months, so much so that my crew and I were due to take place in the Head of the River Race London at the end of March.
Our crew along with 398 others were to row on the Thames from Putney to Chiswick (the boat race in reverse). It is a 6.8km race. Fellow crews competing were the Oxbridge crews, international teams from the likes of Czech Republic, the the Olympic German team and rumours of the GB national team!
The race was scheduled to commence at 14:15 as this was the time at which the tide were the change direction and therefore the stream would be the fastest. Over 400 boats entered the race and Nottingham Trent were positioned 363; many people think that being positioned here means that you're considered "poor", however when you look at the boats that had entered i.e. Leander, German National teams and all the top rowing universities such as UCL, Durham, Newcastle, this wasn't a bad position!
When rowing up to the start line, the tide was fairly choppy but this was to be expected as the Thames is the only Head race that is a Tideway. However, once we were passed Hammersmith Bridge, the tide settled and the conditions were perfect for rowing in. The marshall instructed us to 'park' ourselves along the bank with the other countless number of boats and gently 'tap' our way up to the start line. (The race had already started by this point).
The first 100 boats went down, with Leander heading off first and Mosley shortly after. After they had all gone down, this was divisions 1 and 2 over with. We were venturing ever closer to the start line.
The bad news then arrived; "The race has been abandoned, please do not move". 4 out of the 100 boats that went down had sunk due to the choppy conditions under Hammersmith and Putney. The race was then deemed unsafe for other competitors. This was saddening news as for the last 2 weeks prior to the race we had trained endlessly, averaging around 16-18 hours a week, most of which being early morning sessions starting at 5:30am! It had also been calculated that in the run up to the race we had rowed just shy of 90km, both on and off the water.
In spite of this, having the experience to row on the Thames and go past famous landmarks such as Harrods depository and Fulham football ground was amazing. Thankfully the race is every year, so hopefully we will have the opportunity, no doubt of rowing it again.
In other news, my coach is putting me up for GB trials later this year. This has meant that my scheduled three week easter holiday was shortened to one week as I had to go back to Nottingham to train. in order to qualify for trials, my 2k time needs to be 6:17. This is a split time of 1:35/500m. My current 2k time stands just shy of 6:30. Additionally my 5km time needs to drop to 16:30. Currently my time is 16:54. The gap may be small, however this won't be easy. Upon achieving many of my PB times, I have come off the ergo and either fainted, had an asthma attack or vomitted. The extremities to which you have to push your body to achieve such goals can sometimes be dangerous. Having said that, I always get back not on the ergo to try and improve my times.
I will keep you posted as to how I do!