Waterstons Metaswitch

WeHoRR 2014

This year VMBC sent two VIIIs down to London for Womens Head of the River. 239 crews started after the organisers stopped many inexperianced crews racing. Thankfully both VMBC VIII's were adjudged to be competent enough despite the fast stream. Despite the wear flooding all term leading to a lack of water outings both crews had worked hard to gel as a team. The 1st VIII did extremely well to come 5th out the colleges. The 2nd VIII were equally successful and beat the only other college 2nd VIII to be allowed to enter. Read on for race reports from members of the crews!

WeHoRR 1st VIII race report (written by Bettina Riddle)
On Saturday 15th March 2014, VMBC Women's 1st VIII (Emily Clark, Ellie Willett, Isabel Banister, Bettina Riddle, Lucy Colgrave, Rose Earland, Maria Haag, Natalie Tunstall-Jackman, coxed by Hannah Pittaway) competed in London in the Women's Eights Head of the River. Throughout Epiphany term, the girls trained hard clocking weekly 7ks and travelling to Tyne for extra water sessions in Trust in Mildert. The week before WeHoRR the crew was kindly prepped and coached by Peter Gadsden, the new Men’s Captain, and Tom Arney, the current Novice Development Captain. The women focused on power in the drive and timing through several drills in lengthening provided by Gadsden.

The women’s crew was very lucky to be joined by Hannah Pittaway as cox for WeHoRR. She gave her time and experience to planning and preparing for the race and was invaluable to the performance and morale of the crew. Her calls were quick, direct, and highly motivational, calling upon each woman’s strengths and weaknesses until they gave it their everything.

In the midst of boating it was discovered that one of TiM’s hatchets was missing and one was kindly lent to the crew from Thames Rowing Club. With that the women swiftly boated and headed up stream to the start of the race. On their way up they focused on technique and were excitedly surprised as Leander Club (who came second overall in the race) rowed past with intense stokes and beautiful technique. Inspired by these women, Van Mildert’s 1st VIII readied themselves at the start with a crowd of VMBC parents, alumni, and supporters cheering the crew on at Hammersmith Bridge.

At the start, the women’s crew took off at rate 30 holding long strong strokes. With each woman’s powerful draw, Mildert spirited through the first section of the race, helped by a strong stream. Although they were overtaken by Agecroft BC, the women held the other crew off until the opposing cox challenged Pittaway for their line. The rate was then brought up by Clark to 32 keeping all other boats behind them at bay. Pittaway urged for more vigour aided by encouragement from the power four in the centre of the boat (Colgrave, Riddle, Banister, & Earland). With a surge after Hammersmith bridge, stroke pair, Clark & Willett, steadied and then pushed the crew harder, bring the rate up to 33. With even drives from Tunstall-Jackman and Haag, the women’s 1st VIII finished with style.

The crew finished 171th, with a time of 21.31.2. This result was a very respectable finish from the crew, and a great end to the head season for the women’s squad. VMBC has shown that it is a force to be reckoned with, and the regatta season promises further success for the women

Womes 2nd VIII WeHoRR report (written by Ceci Spriggs)
Crew: Louise Fallon, Ceci Spriggs, Audrey Bellis, Anna Morris, Charlotte Bambridge, Rebekah Lyndon, Heidi Fitchett, Agnes Hillered; coxed by Jocelyn Hutch

On saturday 15th March, with the sun shining and birds chirping, Cygnet boathouse was the perfect place for the 2nd VIII to sit back, work on their tans and have a rest before WeHORR 2014. That was the Castle 2nd VIII. In true Mildert style we were battling with detrailering the bathtub that is Ham Hoo, discovering she was missing screws, a completely disintegrated bolt holding on the rigger at 4 and trying to tackle the problem of how to not sink in the race when we discovered that the boat was in fact not entirely watertight. However with teamwork, a bit of stress and a fair bit of thievery (I mean, did Aiden's actually need all the bolts holding the two halves of the boat together..) we managed to assemble our beautiful boat and embark on a crew photoshoot and last minute carb-loading, a task that we all took very seriously.

With help from alumni Heather Reay it was finally time to start boating. Once on the water we soon realised that we were on the wrong side of the river with no way to cross to the other side with the race already being under way, we had a slight stress (read: major panic) but finally, what felt like an eternity later, it was our turn to race. The countless early mornings, painful ergos and all the time and effort each and every member of the crew have put into training the last term certainly paid off and we set off strongly, perfectly calculated through the start by the beautiful Jocelyn Hutch. Louise Fallon at stroke, inspired by Tom Arney's advice to 'not take sh*t from anyone', quickly settled us into our much practiced rate which, teamed with every members dedication meant we managed to hold off a DU crew (admittedly novices but who gives a..) untill well beyond the 2k mark.

After pushing off hammersmith bridge, encouraged by the shouts of support from family and friends, the last 3k were, as promised, hard and painful. But with Joss's shouts of 'DON'T DIE' and thinspiration for summer bikini bodies as we passed the Harrods depository, we made it to the last stretch and with a final pressure for ten, shredded hands and burning bums we finally passed the finish line.

The pain was all worth it when we ended up coming first out of the 2nd VIII's. Admittedly, there were only two but noone else needs to know that and we all agreed, as did Mark from DARC (our new bezzie mate), that our 0.3 second victory was all the more impressive considering the whole 'rowing in a bathtub meant for 90kg men' situe. Although some of the photos suggest otherwise the boat felt balanced and strong, with the whole crew working as one, and our attractively distorted faces in the photos show what an incredible effort everyone made, and how much every single member invested in the race. A huge thankyou to Ellie Willett for giving us the chance to race, the whole crew had a fantastic race, enjoyable day and, most importantly, beat Castle!
Posted By: Jonathan Sanderson, President, on Tue 15 Apr 2014 18:47.

Tyne Head 2014

After Durham Small Boats Head, Hayward Cup and Novice cup were all cancelled due to the poor weather VMBC sent three VIII's to Tyne Head. Despite very little water time due to the Wear being in a constant state of flood, the three crews did an raced well in tricky conditions.

Mens Tyne Report (written by Joe Fleming)

On the morning of Saturday 22nd February the men’s 1st VIII (Tom Arney, Patrick Clark, Jon Sanderson, Hugh McCrea, Joe Fleming, George Windscheffel, Paul Kacperek and Matt Hipkin, coxed by Tom Hallett) raced the Tyne Head, a 5km upstream course. The forecast was for high upstream headwinds and the race was set against the high tide. Upon boating the crew realised that the speaker in the bow of the boat was not working, leaving bow pair deaf to the cox’s calls. Luckily Hugh and Joe offered to relay the information to the front of the boat. The crew made their way swiftly to the start line where Hugh made use of the on board toilet facilities. After a good start the crew held off a strong crew from SCCBC for the beginning of the race until the first corner of the chicane where the strong headwinds began to take their toll. As the SCCBC crew passed, another college crew ahead had managed to spin their boat leaving themselves floating perpendicular to the oncoming boats, holding up a number of boats behind them. Hallett quickly took evasive action and diverted the boat around the outside of the obstruction, however this diversion added significant distance to the race. Deterred by the diversion, the crew began to lose focus and technique began to suffer. A crew from St John’s College, once a short distance of two boat lengths away, began to slip into the distance. However, after pressure calls from the cox the crew began to regain focus, accelerate on past the second corner of the chicane and regain distance on the SJC crew. On the final straight the crew was still two boat lengths behind the John’s crew with less than 1k to go. However, a call from inside the boat to ‘Let’s break them lads’ sent the crew to surge past the John’s crew to the finish. Given the weather and tidal conditions the lads completed the course in a respectable 23:04.5, finishing 9th of out 14 in the IM3 8+ category and 4th out of 8 of the colleges.

Womens 1st VIII Tyne Report (written by Nat Tunstall-Jackman)

Crew: (Emily Clark, Ellie Willett, Isabel Bannister, Bettina Riddle, Lucy Colgrave, Rose Earland, Maria Haag, Natalie Tunstall-Jackman, coxed by Hannah Pittaway.)

Result: 8th out of 10 in WIM3 8+ and 4th out of 6 colleges.

Arriving at the boathouse we thought we were in for some luck with the weather, luckily the rain held off but we were tackling a strong head wind the entire length of the racecourse, ashamedly I suffered in the wind catching a huge crab on the first bend (sorry!). Nevertheless we quickly gained back our rhythm to complete a strong race. Sitting at bow I could see the effort that each and every member exerted and we quickly got good timing and power together as a crew despite the difficulties the weather caused. Not to forget our fantastic cox Hannah who spurred us on for the entire 5km! She was also an advocate of river etiquette against some of the more pushy coxes. It was an enjoyable day and I feel privileged to be part of the crew as we all worked fantastically and supportively as a team. Well done girls, next stop WeHorr!"

Womens 2nd VIII Tyne Report (Written by Charlotte Bambridge)
On the afternoon of 22nd February the women's 2nd VIII of Louise Fallon, Ceci Spriggs, Anna Morris, Audrey Bellis, Catherine Revell, Rebekah Lyndon, Charlotte Bambridge and Agnes Hilldred coxed by Joss Hutch attempted Tyne Head. It was always going to be a tough race for a relatively inexperienced boat, with the crew entered in WIM3 due to the solitary point of one member of the crew, and the boat itself, kindly lent by Johns, more suited to 90kg men and described as 'rowing a bathtub'. However, despite the tough category and the frustrating draw at the end of the women's boats, with only crews of old men to try to push off, the girls raced well in tough atmospheric conditions. Few crabs were caught and the race was finished in one piece. The place of 10th out of 10 in WIM3 and 6th out of 6 WIM3 Durham colleges sounds a little disappointing, but had the crew been racing Novice they would have come a more respectable 3rd out of 5. Joss Hutch proved unsurprisingly to be an excellent cox, with the call 'do it for Beyonce' a particular highlight. All in all Tyne Head proved to be an enjoyable day with much needed racing experience for the immanent WEHoRR.
Posted By: Daniel Thompson, , on Sun 23 Feb 2014 22:36.

1st VIII's start their campaign at Rutherford Head 2013

The Men and Womens 1st VIII's competed in Rutherford head of the river over 5km on the River Tyne. With TIM being the only college boat stored permanently at Tyne the crews were hopeful they could use their extensive practice on the tidal river to produce a strong result. Read on for the race reports, written by members of each crew:

Men’s Rutherford report (written by Hugh McCrea)

The men’s first VIII (Tom Arney, Pat Clark, Jon Sanderson, Hugh McCrea, Ryan Cunningham, George Windscheffel, Paul Kacperek and Matt Hipkin, coxed by Tom Hallett) raced on Saturday morning. Following a very strong start, the crew closed down on the Tyne United crew ahead, whilst an eager crew from Tees attempted to keep up behind. With the other chasing crews in the far distance, Mildert managed to close the gap between them and Tyne down to a single boat length, but with 2.5k to go, the strong Tees crew eventually caught up and managed to slip ahead. Undeterred, Mildert continued to push on along the final straight and flew towards the finish line at an unbelievable pace. The boys completed the 5km course in an impressive 15 minutes and 54 seconds, coming 5th of the college VIII’s (with Cuth’s first VIII winning the category) and 7th out of 17 in the IM3.8+ category, beating, amongst others, crews from St Andrews, Aberdeen and Lancaster University. Congratulations to all involved!

Womens Rutherford report (written by Fran Nuttall)

Following a strong performance from our men’s first VIII, the Women’s IM3.8+ (Emily Clark, Ellie Willett, Lucy Colgrave, Tasha Brown, Rachel Metcalf, Rose Earland, Maria Haag, Fran Nuttall coxed by Charlie Dowdle) were racing in the afternoon division.
Moments before the race commenced, the crew found that the cox box wasn’t working, but due to Charlie’s inspirational efforts and the girls’ focus, they didn’t let it affect their performance. After a great start chasing Leeds University and pulling away from the crews that had set off after, it took hard work to maintain their position for 5km. However, the crew finished without being overtaken or having overtaken, finishing just a few seconds after Leeds University ultimately!
With a top performance from everyone, all the training had paid off – finishing with a time of 21:55.2 placed the crew 5th out of 12 in their category. Of the Durham College crews competing, they placed a very respectable 2nd to Hatfield’s 1st VIII, beating two University College crews, John’s, St Cuthbert’s and Hatfield’s 2nd VIII. Well done everyone; what a good start to Head Season!
Posted By: Daniel Thompson, , on Thu 5 Dec 2013 21:54.
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