In true W3/4 style (thanks to an impressively keen novice to seniors conversion rate), our race crew line up was an excited amalgamation of our 14-person strong pool of rowers in a previously untested format – and this was even before the addition of our definitely-not-stolen-from-Caius cox. Our first time rowing together as a crew combined with an uncontested unanimous admiration of the sheer stunning beauty of our newly purchased lycra (and a less sarcastic appreciation of rowing in a different boat to usual) to make us all hopeful that our first race as seniors would continue the trend of positive firsts. As we rowed down, a flock of black headed gulls kindly supported our optimism by graciously dropping another good omen onto Sally’s head.
The practise starts rowing up to the start line clearly stood us in good stead, as the race got off to a good rolling start, with the boat picking up and nicely sat at a good rate – with us apparently possibly gaining on the men’s boat that set off before us (as relayed to us afterwards by a clearly biased bank party). We took the corners well, and a few power 10s helped pick up the speed as well as our temperature (with one rower’s dubious clothing choices leading to calls such as ‘Do it to keep stroke warm!’). By the second half of the race, maintaining body temperature was certainly no longer a problem, but speed was starting to drop. However, this was aided by a cheeky tactical strategy from the women’s captain of treating the race as two separate halves, and calling a new rolling start brought us back up to our former glory. With all heads up in the boat and everyone pushing hard, some beautiful pain faces started to emerge throughout the boat (particularly from 7). Reaching the railway bridge was the cue for the whole boat to give it everything they had, spurred on by some blatantly untruthful ‘last 10 strokes, girls!’, and we crossed the finish line almost without realising (to the accompaniment of satisfaction and exhaustion when we did). Rowing the boat back to the boathouse was comparatively uneventful, save for a wistful look from our cox to her old boat before realising where her loyalties truly lay. Overall, our final time looked promising for the getting on race, so it was a shame that we were unable to put a boat together for the latter race due to an unfortunate prioritisation of people’s degrees. A good start to W3’s senior racing, and one which will hopefully continue!
[Bow] Victoria Johnson,  Jenny O’Sullivan,  Oxana Grosseck,  Joanna Hindley,  Annabel King,  Taylor Lynn-Jones,  Luise Scheidt, [Stroke] Tirion Rees-Davies, [Cox] Sally Pearson