Winter League is a town league with monthly time trials raced between the A14 Road Bridge and the Railway bridge, 2.6km in total. 175 crews raced today in glorious sun that made it feel like the first day of summer. We can’t remember the last time SSBC competed, but with enough of M1 staying over the holidays, and with a little help from our friends, we could enter a crew for what would be the perfect training for HoRR.
If there was ever such a thing as “backing it down race”, Sidney may well have won it today. In his very first race as the new Men’s Captain, Günther Turk failed to read the race rules and we rowed straight past our marshalling point. Full of confidence of our ability, instead of spinning and rowing in the correct direction, we decided to push our luck and back it down with stern 6. 50m back to our marshalling point. A good arm workout and several weird looks later, we were marshalled and ready to go.
Sidney’s race was composed and committed throughout. A good start allowed the rate to come up naturally to a rate of 33 strokes per minute coming through the Gut. After a sharp line through Grassy Corner and a strong move over Plough Reach to get the rate back up, we were expecting to encounter a headwind and slightly choppy water exiting Ditton Corner. To our relief, the wind had actually calmed down. The rowing felt strong, and the fact that some of the crew members had improved their PBs for 2000 meter on the ergometer just last week strengthened the morale in the boat. In our move under the Railway Bridge, however, we could suddenly notice the headwind picking up speed. The crew kept its focus, and soon the final three tiers were called for. From the diesel-like 32 s/min, the rate kept climbing, but coxswain Pav admitted later that by this point in the race he was less interested in the rate than making the rowers pull harder.
We finished in a time of 9:47.8, 3rd in our division and 12th overall. Effectively racing for time, we were very pleased with this result – and it meant a perfect practice for the upcoming HoRR, on the 30th March.
Special thanks are in order for Camille and Matt. Camille, of W1 fame, has been SSBC’s extra helpful super-sub and coach this term. Matt is at Fitzwilliam and used to row with their M1. 6.8km of Tideway was too much to resist and he’s taken rowing back up to complete our M1 HoRR line-up.
Cox: Paavan Sawjani
S: Joris Witstok
7: Charlie Spicer
6: Günther Turk
5: Tor Svenungsson
4: Camille Lardy
3: Matthew von Lany
2: Tim Schmalz
B: Abdullah Athar
— Charlie Spicer, Captain of boats, M1, and 7–seat today