Fairbairn Cup 2016 – King’s M1

Written by: Neil Paul

The morning started well, with a solid warm-up paddle from the Boathouse to Jesus Lock.  Every member in the crew was focussing-in and committing to every stroke. We were moving well together – getting in sharp at the front end, gripping and levering the boat past. Around the back end, you could feel the crew rocking over together, allowing the boat to run.

Our marshalling position was just under the Victoria Avenue Bridge. The “thud-thud” of cars passing overhead sounded like a heartbeat. Needless to say, this didn’t help with nerves! I reassured myself by thinking how far this crew had come in 8 weeks of training. Four outings a week, with two training days at Kingston upon Thames, and not a single water session missed. Despite our inexperience at the start of term, as a crew we had committed to the training – as Men’s Captain, I could not have asked for anything more.

Outside Goldie Boathouse we came to frontstops, squared, buried, locked our blades against gates, and wound the boat up to the high 30s. It was an impetuous start – scrappy, but not lacking enthusiasm. It took us until the Combined Boathouse to really settle and move together as a crew. The next stretch, from the Boathouse to Chesterton Corner, was the fastest of our race – we were flying. Unfortunately, we were unable to sustain this speed in the second half of the race. As we became more tired, we lost our form and the rowing became more laboured, rating at around 32. We responded well to calls to lift the boat speed, especially when it came to First Post Corner. Hrutvik’s “legs” call worked so well that we wound back up to 36. After a huge last effort, we flung ourselves across the finish line in a time of 15:49.1, 17th out of the Cambridge College crews.

While 10 places down on last year’s result may seem disappointing, the truth is it was a huge improvement on where we started term. Going into Lent term, we are 0.4s off the pace of Churchill (over 4.2km), who are in front of us in Bumps.

We are grateful to all those who came down to cheer us on – especially Will Miller and Chris Smith, who carried our kit.

Cox: Hrutvik Kanabar

Stroke: Neil Paul

7: Lewis Couch

6: Abhinaba (Josh) Guha

5: Adam Townson

4: Canlin (Kenny) Ou

3: Hans Verschueren

2: Daro Nakshbande

Bow: Jacob Toop-Rose

Coaches: Chris Smith and Chris Braithwaite