Metropolitan Regatta 2016

With the weather gods being fairly benign, Thames RC decamped to Dorney Lake for the weekend-long Metropolitan Regatta, run with efficiency by our friends at London RC. A lazy cross wind haunted the lake all weekend but didn’t hugely affect the result – we have all seen much much worse!

A fortnight ahead of Henley Women’s Regatta, the women’s squad had a good weekend. The small boats proved especially successful. On Saturday Sophie Theodorou won WIM1 1x with Meghann Jackson finishing second in WSen 1x. The pair of Irene Brits and Vicky Brock finished third in WIM1 2-.

Sunday’s racing saw these women step up significantly with Meghann winning WSen 1x with Sophie in 3rd place. These two women combined to win WSen2x by a large margin. Irene and Vicky also won the WIM1 2- in convincing fashion. In WIM1 2x Helena Green and Charley Philips finished fourth with Lizi Duncombe and Ségolène Bourland finishing fifth.

The big boats had an equally productive regatta. On Saturday the senior 4+ of Nat Kernan (c), Cayley Firth, Marieke Bal, Chantelle Miller and Jordan Cole-Hossain finished second in the combined WEli/WSen 4+ event to UL’s elite 4+, but won the prize for WSen 4+. The 4- of Ellie Fielding, Lowenna Coad, Harriet Broad and Sarah Fabes finished fourth in the combined W4- event, with a ranking of second in the WSen 4-. These nine women combined to race the WSen 8+ on Sunday, finishing third overall behind UL and Newcastle. The WIM2 4+ of Alastair Jackson (c), Charlotte Orell, Katrine Eskander, Ségolène and Lizi finished a credible fourth overall on Saturday.

On the men’s side it was always going to be harder to win pots than at Wallingford with the introduction of university crews to the mix of clubs and schoolboys and we came away with just one win but a string of second places and some valuable lessons learned.

The Eli 4+ undercooked the first km of their final and left themselves with two lengths to make up on a very good Edinburgh University crew. We reeled them in to 1/2 a length by the finish but this was a frustrating result for a good crew. The IM2 4+ reached the final in a close field and finished a very creditable third; very pleasing for guys from our fifth and sixth 8s from the Head of the River, showing just how strong the depth of our squad is.

Both of the IM2 8s finished fourth in their semi finals on Saturday, just missing out on the final in a very competitive field. A seating order change in the A crew saw it improve on the Sunday, beating crews it had lost to the day before, but an injury precluded it from racing the final.

On Sunday the Elite 8+ did just enough in the time trial to ensure a place in the A/B semis. It proceeded to win its semi over UL and a close chasing pack but in the final, had a bad start, left itself with too much to make up and finished in a dead heat with UL. The race was re rowed an hour later but we lost by 3/4 of a length, despite a brave effort.

The standout performance of the weekend was the Elite 4- on Saturday. With just five outings under its belt it took the race by the scruff of the neck and had taken a length out of very strong Wyfold field by 500m. It maintained this through halfway before the chasing pack began to try and hunt us down. The crew held on superbly to win by a canvas.

This was one of the most complete performances by any Thames crew in the last few seasons and even more satisfying as it contains two oarsmen who have been taught to row at the club – Skye Landon who started as a novice a few seasons ago and Oscar Bird who started as a junior and now trains and races with the seniors. There is no better example of the club working together from top to bottom to produce these two athletes and credit must go to all the coaches and volunteers who have helped them along the way.

Both the men’s and women’s novice squads also raced at the Met. The men, having won their novice pot a few weekends ago, proved they were capable of mixing it in a competitive IM3 8 field. They finished fourth in their heat on Saturday, just missing the semi-final. In Sunday they had a solid time-trial and featured in an extremely close battle in their final.

The novice women took an 8+ and 4+ and showed they were well up with the IM3 packs. On Saturday the 8 was a close fifth in its heat, but went into Sunday determined to up their game. An excellent timetrial performance gave them a place in the C/D semi finals. Learning from each race, they eventually finished an excellent fourth in the D final, beating an IM1 and IM2 crew in the process as well as several IM3 entrants.

The novice women’s 4+ also raced strongly on both days. While they missed out on the WIM3 4+ finals, they produced good times and again improved between Saturday and Sunday.

Meanwhile the very top echelons of British universities and clubs had decamped to Amsterdam for the Holland Bekker Regatta. Our Visitors 4- went with them and finished second on both days; on the Saturday by five seconds to a crew from the Dutch national team, and the Sunday by 0.8 seconds to a combination from Brookes and Proteus. A very valuable weekend for them, racing against top level competition. In the process they beat Leander, Cambridge and ASR Nereus on both days.