The sun made an appearance for our annual Old Girls match on 19 March, our last match before the Boat Race. On behalf of the squad we sincerely thank the alumnae who attended to row and put on the tea. It was great to meet you all and your support makes a great difference in our final preparations.
The first events are the Old Girls’ Match on 19 March in Henley and a dinner at the Little Angel on 1 April following the Henley Boat Races. Please find more information on our alumni page. We look forward to hearing from you!
The 2006 AGM will be held on Sunday 9 April at 12 noon at Linacre College, Oxford.
This year’s trip to the Tideway for the Fuller’s Fours Head of the River on 12 November 2005 was a great success for the lightweight club. Two boats were entered, one coxed and one coxless. The options for the coxless four were limited as to which category they could enter as only Elite was on offer. This placed them up against the top heavyweight crews in the country which included many GB athletes and trialists. The crew of Sarah Cornick, Natalie Beveridge, Tamara Simmons and Hannah Smith-Willis raced exceedingly well to finish in 3rd position behind Thames rc and Mortlake Anglian and Alpha- Excellent Performance at Fours Head . The coxed four of Linda Reynard, Meghan Treleaven, Liz Rowles, Mima Boardman and Alastair Stewart raced in Senior 3 Academic, against not only universities, colleges and schools from across the country, but also against Osiris crews. This boat succeeded in coming fifth in the event behind two Osiris crews, Oxford Brookes and Southampton, less than fifty seconds behind the openweight winners. Brilliant steering saved seconds for both crews, and our safe return to St Paul’s is a great example of how much control the steerspeople had over their boats – well done! All participants enjoyed the experience of racing on the tideway in such calm conditions, and it was an idyllic starter for those who were novices to this stretch of the Thames.
Elite 4-: Hannah Smith-Willis, Tamara Simmons, Natalie Beveridge, Sarah Cornick;
3rd place, 21:27.96
S3 4 : Mima Boardman, Liz Rowles, Meghan Treleaven, Linda Reynard, Alastair Stewart;
5th place, 22:06.54
On Sunday 16th October, with a time of 15:02, the coxed four won its division easily and took the title of fastest women’s four of the day.
Meghan Treleaven and Natalie Beveridge write:
“Crew and Cox met not too early on a sunny autumn day. After boating with no hitches (except the usual raft traffic jams) we paddled down to the start, found our rhythm, span and waited in the sunshine to start – going off first in our division. The race plan worked well and after 15 strokes any concerns about the competition subsided as City of Bristol disappeared into the sunset, and our focus switched to tracking down the boats in the division above us. After some excellent coxing skills down the course, the call “move over Reading” was a massive boost. Winding for the finish it wasn’t the tidiest of rows but we crossed the line and waited for the results to come out. We finished in 15:02 as the fastest women’s sweep oar boat of the day, taking home a lovely pot and some great race experience.”
Coach: Alex Cavell
Cox: Alastair Stewart
Crew: Hannah Smith-Willis
Conditions: Sunny with some head wind
Race Time: 11:30 Women’s Senior 3 in Division 1
Shortly after the new squad had arrived in Oxford to begin this season’s training, a crew of recent boat race athletes and current squad members, who had been training over the summer, travelled to Taiwan with the new lightweight chief coach, Alex Cavell, to participate in the 10th I-Lan International Collegiate Invitational Regatta.
Racing was in coxless quadruple sculls and all of the crews taking part were either current or previous students of the universities invited to attend the regatta. In the women’s competition, the following universities were involved:
- Turku, Finland
- Fu Yen
- St Petersburg
- Western Ontario
The regatta was of a particularly high standard and provided our quad with the opportunity to race a calibre of crew that they would be unlikely to face in domestic competition. Many of the other quads that participated in the competition included athletes that have represented their respective countries in international competition, either at U23 or senior level, something that the Oxford athletes aspire to achieve over the next few years.
The regatta was initially scheduled to be held over 2 days, but due to a forecasted Typhoon predicted to hit the region towards the end of the first day of racing, the schedule was revised after we had arrived in Taiwan! This resulted in the heats, semi-finals and finals all being squished into one day’s racing with a very early start.
The racing was challenging, especially in the heat and humidity, but with each round we raised our game, learnt some lessons and gained valuable side by side racing experience. In a quality field we lacked the strength and experience to reach the A final, and had to settle for a place in the B final. This proved to be the best race of the day and we moved on against crews that had presented more of a challenge in the earlier rounds. Finishing 6th overall in a field of the quality discussed and with a relatively novice crew, was a promising result and one that should set us up well for a successful season.
Besides the quadruple sculls, there was also a single’s event. Oxford was represented by Hilary Powell, who claims four Boat race wins, and Gold in the University Games of 2004. Again she showed her valour by racing a steady and excellent course despite the conditions, and came third overall. She thereby gained a Bronze Medal and much respect amongst all other participants.
After racing in I-Lan in the north of the island, some of the crews were transferred down to the south of Taiwan for a regatta in Kaohsiung on the Love River. This was the first time in the event’s history that racing has also been held in southern Taiwan, and this gave us the opportunity to gain further valuable race experience.
In addition to the racing, there was plenty of time to sample some of the Taiwanese culture, socialise with the other competitors and get to know the interpreters and driver (of our own personal coach!) which we had been assigned on our arrival. We were taken to see a beautiful waterfall, a couple of night markets which gave us the chance to sample some local delicacies (!), and a cultural park. In the evenings there were various dinners with the governors of the regions in which we were staying at the time at which we were treated to a spectacular array of excellent food and some entertainment by local groups. We also got a taste for karaoke after stumbling across a very Taiwanese karaoke bar on the first night having foregone the opportunity to join many of the men’s crews in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs that evening! This proved to be an amusing evening and a bit of a social icebreaker.
Overall, the trip was excellent and we were very privileged to be showered with such hospitality during our stay. Not only did we get valuable experience of racing, but the trip gave everyone the opportunity to get to know each other better, which should make training more enjoyable over the long winter.
S: Mima Boardman
3: Liz Rowles
2: Hannah Mason
B: Sarah Cornick
Coach: Alex Cavell
Hannah Mason reports from Taiwan (September 2005)
To celebrate 150 years since David Livingstone discovered the Victoria Falls, a special regatta was held on the Zambezi River at Livingstone. Crews from Oxford, Cambridge and leading South African Universities; Rhodes, UCT (University of Cape Town) and UJ (University of Johannesburg) competed in a regatta on the Zambezi at Livingstone. The races consisted of a 2000m race, a 500m race in 8 s and a 300m flat water rafting race.
The crews spent the week prior to the race training and experiencing what Africa had to offer. We were given incredible hospitality, enjoyed fantastic accommodation and many delicious local dinners. As well as rowing with hippos and crocodiles on the Zambezi everyday we were also fortunate enough to have spare time to visit the edge of the falls, go on a game drive, watch beautiful sunsets and visit Livingstone and the local markets.
On Race Day there was an incredible atmosphere at the Boat Club. There were races all day including events participated in by locals. Racing in the 38oC sun was very tough and a couple of 500m re-rows due to steering faults made it even more so! However by the end of the day and some tightly fought races, Oxford came out on top to claim the ‘BA Victor Ludorum’ Trophy with both Men and Women’s teams winning the 500m race and coming 2nd in the 200m race. The week culminated in a fantastic party and a day of “racing” down the rapids white water rafting. There are many sponsors and organisers who make this incredible trip possible – a list far too long to include here. However I would like to thank Richard Fishlock and Peter Jones for the organisation of the whole trip and regatta.
Claire Weldon recounts her trip to Zambia (2005)
On Saturday 26 March 2005, OUWLRC beat CUWBC Lightweights by ½ length in a time of 6min 55 s.
President Claire Weldon describes her memories of the race below:
“Once we pushed off away from Upper Thames, things started to relax. From then on in I knew we just had to do what we had been doing day in and out and we would come out on top. After we finally got away for the second time, the 2000m race becomes very much a blur. I cannot tell you where Cambridge were relative to us all I knew was that we had the advantage and I was going to do all I could to stay there and push it on. As a crew we dug deep during the middle of the race, knowing that if we were up at 500m to go we could finish it off.
This, somehow, we did. It was not the cleanest of rows, but we got our bows across the line first, in what was a very exciting race. A huge mix of emotions flowed through each and everyone of us as we crossed the line and as the realisation of what we had done began to sink in. I am very proud to have been part of that crew that performed when it counted. For me the day was made incredibly special by the support of all the old girls, it was fantastic to see you all there. On behalf of the crew I would like to thank again all those who supported us, in particular the coaching team and our sponsors; JP Morgan, JLracing and Resolute Racing Shells.”