Sunday 2nd June 2019, Dorney Lake
Three scullers – Ellie Watts, Anneloes Hoff and Amanda Thomas – entered the Metropolitan Regatta in the WLwt1x category. This could be seen as a brave or a foolhardy decision, as we all came (to a greater or lesser extent) fresh from racing in Summer Eights on the preceding four days, and commiserating or celebrating accordingly on Saturday evening. Ellie’s Wolfson crew in particular had a lot to celebrate, having become Head of the River, a fantastic achievement.
We were each drawn in a separate semi-final, starting racing at the rather civilised time of 1.40pm, with Ellie off first, followed by Anneloes five minutes later, and Amanda five minutes later again. Ellie and Anneloes both stormed to conclusive victories in their heats, sculling neatly and effectively through the usual Dorney ripples to go straight through to the final. Amanda also secured a place in the final with a second-place finish behind Georgie Plunkett of Cantabrigian RC.
We then had a chance to rest and recharge in the shade out of the heat (temperature in the high twenties), glad we had avoided the repechage. The final was one of the last races of the day, at 6.15pm, with the regatta site being packed up around us as we came off the water. The conditions for the final were a little cooler than in the middle of the day, with a refreshing crosswind to challenge our steering.
Ellie, Anneloes and Georgie Plunkett fought it out spectacularly throughout the first half of the race, with Ellie and Georgie going on to an inch-by-inch battle in the last 500. Their photo finish was so close that the reported race times actually gave Ellie’s time as the fastest, but Georgie was deemed the winner on this occasion. Ellie thus took second place with Anneloes following a few seconds behind in third, and Amanda sixth of the seven finalists. For all of us it was a great chance to get more experience of multi-lane racing, and to have another taste of side-by-side sculling. It was another successful day for Oxford, with all three scullers finishing in the top six of sixteen entries.
Race report by Amanda Thomas