Head of the River Race 2009

{italic}Race report by Henry Scarlett{enditalic}

This year Sidney entered both men’s senior boats into the rowing calendar’s big head race, Head of the River Race held on Saturday 21st March on the Thames (rowed over the Boat Race course, but in the reverse direction from Mortlake to Putney, on the ebb tide). Sidney was one of 17 Cambridge colleges to enter the race and was, along with Trinity First and Third and Selwyn, one of only three college boat clubs to have a second boat participating.

The squad went down to London a few days earlier thanks to an invitation from Tideway Scullers School to use their boathouse as a base for training on the Tideway and a place to stay for the build up to race day. Here Sidney got to watch ‘The Great Eight’ (the eventual winning crew comprising the world\\’s eight foremost heavyweight male scullers, six of whom were competing at the Beijing Olympics last year) in training, as well as the Blue Boats in their final week of preparations for The Boat Race. The few days of training spent training on the Tideway proved invaluable experience for the crews and allowed for the two coxes to be shown the course by a coach from The University of London Boat Club.

On race day both crews put in good performances in beautiful conditions with M1 and M2 going off as No. 305 with a time of 21:00.97, and No. 408 with a time of 21:11.75 respectively. M2 had a particularly good race, overtaking a crew, going up 50 places in the finishing order, and being only 11 seconds slower than and 13 places behind M1.

Overall, the squad had a great off-Cam time in what was a very different type of racing to what one experiences on home turf, but ultimately the club enjoyed more success winning in a pub quiz (to the annoyance of the local regulars) on the first night of Tideway training than in the race despite lots of fun being had in both events. Thanks must go to Bill James and Rich Mott for coaching, David Winch for support and photos on the day, and Tideway Scullers School for being such brilliant hosts.

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