Friday, 2 July 2010

The Met

Next stop was Dorney lake on the 6th June, the site of the 2012 Olympics. Both the men's and ladies coxed fours had been training hard since Nottingham and were ready for a race. The regatta took place over two days on a 2K course.

The Saturday saw near perfect weather conditions as the ladies took to the course. The crew consisted of Helen Atherton, Daz Harding, Elaine Hoyes and Anne Crozier, coxed by Bethan Smith. At such a prestigious regatta there are no easy heats and the girls first race was no exception. Competing against Marlow, Moslesey, Agecroft, HSBC and a London composite it was always going to be a tough race. The girls set off well with a good start and were still in the pack at the 500m marker. From there the other crews started to pull away leaving Minerva to battle through the wash. It was a hard slog down the course, with Bethan motivating the girls all the way, finishing 6th in a time of 8.25.73.

The men's crew also faced a tough race. The crew line up remained unchanged from Nottingham but Anne Crozier took over the reins as cox. The drew were pushed into fourth from the start and remained there throughout the duration of the race, keeping in contention with the crews above and pushing further away from the remaining 2 crews, finishing in a time of 7.18.27. This finish position ensured a second attempt at the final through the repechage. Facing their old foes Kingston and new crews, in the form of two Cambridge boats and one from Queen Mary, the race promised to be tense from the start. After a positive start the crew struggled to find a comfortable rhythm and with difficulty applying the power they slipped back into forth place, unable to find form to push back from this position they finished in a time of 7.34.86, failing to make the final.

Sunday; a new day and very different weather conditions. With a strong tail wind down the course, which gradually increased throughout the day, both crews knew they had to perform. The men took the stage first and with the fastest crews from the Saturday in their heat, they knew they were in for a tough race. After a slower start than hoped the crew found their rhythm and settled well onto the course. There was a positive change at the 750m marker with the catches sharpening up and the crew started to pull back into the pack. In the end it was a head to head race against Twickenham and Cork for the third spot and the chance to get into the final. After a final push from the 500m mark the crew looked to have claimed third and waited anxiously for the results. In the end they finished 5th, only 2 seconds separating the three crews.

The girls were up next with a change in the bow pairing from the previous day. The crew now consisted of Helen, Daz, Bethan Smith and Vicky Fieldhouse with Anne Crozier coxing. With 7 crews in their heat, including Marlow, HSBC, Limerick, Kingston, Nottingham and York the girls knew they had to go all out. Ranked 4th at the 500m mark the girls picked up their catches and settles into a positive rhythm and by half way the crew was closing in. They continued to push hard through out the middle section and stroke by stroke they pulled the crews in, squeezing past Nottingham in the last 500m to finish in third place behind Marlow and HSBC in a time of 7.44.02.

And so to the final, with weather conditions worsening and waves to battle against the nerves started to show through. A slower start than the other crews left the girls struggling to pull back into the park but by the 1K marker the girls were racing strongly, back within 2 seconds of third place. Tiredness started to show through and technique wavered causing the girls to lose time and the other crews. In the end they finished 6th in a time of 7.53.28.

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