Surprisingly, we can scull too

First race with Bradford on Avon RC and it’s suddenly even more obvious how different club rowing is to uni rowing. Where uni rowing normally have serious pre-race talks and nervous expressions as the final approach after a week or so of eating properly and staying t-total, we had late nights of BBQs and drinks with no one actually seeming too bothered about racing. It’s much more of a hobby and pastime rather than a highly competitive sport. In some ways it works better. Another surprising thing was that the races were¬†ridiculously¬†short. The Saturday’s 1100m seemed to be over before it started but the Sunday went one further (or even shorter) with the races over a 650m course. We didn’t have any times taken but it can’t have taken more than 2 mins however slow we were going. The Saturday (‘long’ course) started well as we found we had a straight final against another Bradford crew. The one that we were fairly confident about be stronger than. Off the start, where we thought they would have the greatest advantage due to being lighter, we held them and even pulled out half a length or so. From there it went without too much drama. It wasn’t a smooth or tidy row from us. It was definitely a show of power over finesse and although we had no real way of telling, I doubt we ever reached higher than 30spm. It was all it took though and we eventually crossed the line with three and a half lengths between us. First pot and a point from my first race in a scull.Saturday evening was a good night. Not too worried about the Sunday having won once, we christened our new pots and were generally merry with a BBQ full of various edible things and a warm enough evening to be outside comfortably. Sunday’s racing was slightly more interesting for us and this time we had semi-final to make it through before we once again made the final. We were up against trent RC and no one knew anything about them other than the fact that one of the guys was the one that beat Andy (our double’s bow) in the mixed doubles the day before. We expected a lot more competition than we got and somehow managed to pull out an easily verdict in 650m. Once again we were in an all Bradford final although this time it was the crew we knew were most likely to beat us. They were about 10kg lighter per person than us and technically much better (not saying much). Off the start, both of these showed and they had maybe half a length on us by the end of the first few strokes. We had expected this and as we settled into our race rhythm (for us, I think it must have been about r28) we started pulling through. By about 200m in we had reversed the positions and held somewhere between half a length and a length until 100 to go where they upped the rate to something silly and we just pulled harder (and maybe even reached r30). It seemed to work though and ended up a length and half up on them. Make that two pots and points in a weekend. We are now an IM2 crew and in retrospect probably could have done without gaining an extra 4 points in small local regattas. Oh well. I don’t scull at uni.

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