2018 Tethys race report

Emily Hinson reports on the 2018 reserve race: 

On Sunday 19th March, the Lightweight Women’s Reserve Boat Race took place, relocated to Dorney Lake from the Henley Reach at the last minute due to a poor weather forecast and high streams.  For the first time at the Henley Boat Races, the Reserve Boat Race was contested by a 4+ (having been a 2- for the last couple of years).  Despite the bitter weather (featuring strong, gusty cross-head winds, snow and negative temperatures) we were well prepared to race, having trained on the Dorney course in the preceding days and indeed at various points in the months leading up to the event.

We had put in so much preparation and practice that as we boated and rowed up to the start, we knew exactly what we had to do at every stage.  Each of us was just concentrating on the job we had to get done and trusting in our team-mates.

The start was slightly delayed, due to strong crosswinds making alignment of the boats on the starting pontoon difficult, particularly for our opposition! Cambridge hit a higher stroke rate off their starting sequence, giving them an initial advantage of around a quarter of a length.  Their lead was quickly swallowed up by the end of the first minute of racing, as we moved into our strong race rhythm. The magic call to bring in our hip drive really did the trick. By the 250m mark, we had a convincing lead of around 1 length and were continuing to push off Cambridge.  For the rowers, it was hugely motivating to see the gap between the crews getting bigger and bigger, if somewhat astonishing!

Over the remainder of the course, Jolet (our cox) stuck rigidly to our race plan, pushing us onward through each stage of the race and focusing on keeping the boat moving as efficiently and quickly as possible despite strong gusts and changing conditions along the course.  From her spot in the bows of the boat, Jolet had no idea how far our lead had opened out, so kept encouraging the four rowers as if Cambridge were right there behind us.

We crossed the line in a time of 8 minutes and 15 seconds, approximately 25 seconds ahead of Cambridge. Although we hadn’t been pushed by the Tabs as hard as we had expected, it was an immensely satisfying race, and the feeling of elation was something to remember for a lifetime. It was an honour to be the first crew awarded the trophy for the Women’s Reserve Race, which was generously donated this year by previous competitors from both Oxford and Cambridge crews.

The crew would like to thank the coaching team (Chris and Clive), in particular Jill Betts, for all of their tireless work and dedication to getting us race ready.  In addition, we would like to extend our thanks to our nutritionist (Jasmine), physio team (Caitlin, Briony, Sally and Nick), sports psychologist (Heather), physiologist (Filipe) and the entire HBR Organising Team for their work arranging the racing at Dorney under difficult circumstances.

Crew: Jolet Mimpen (cox), Emily Hinson, Naomi Holland, Amanda Thomas, Katherine Ferris

Coach: Jill Betts

Verdict: Oxford win, ‘easily’ in a time of 8 min 15 sec.

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