Mid term racing: time for a summary update

This time of the year is a hectic one for most people, not least for Cambridge students – and rowers. Despite the silence, SSBC has been up to a lot of fun in between revision stress and hand-in deadlines. It is, so to say, our modus operandi.

Sidney entered three crews for the Champion of the River Eights Head on the 19 May, namely W1, M1 and W2. Here’s some comments from members of these crews on the racing on this occasion:

“W1 came into Champs Eights feeling confident, with a newfound power from Tim Newton’s ‘get strong and fast, not fat and weak’ weights, core and snacks regime. With a strong row up to the lock, including a rather nippy practice start on the reach, we felt ready to set a solid time in the race. Carefully avoiding collisions with errant blades and some newly hatched cygnets, we made it up to the start line opposite the Plough. With the call of ‘attention, go!’ we flew out of the starting blocks, quickly settling into a strong rhythm at r34. After taking a good line around Ditton corner, we took a reset and began powering our way up the reach. With strong legs and acceleration carrying us through, it didn’t take long to reach the railway bridge. Here we made a move to pick up the boat and start emptying out over the last 500m. A few ‘last 10 strokes’ later and we made it across the finish line, having truly given it everything. Our final time was 5:25.8, knocking nearly 3 seconds off last year’s time and placing us 7/13 in a very close division (we were 0.1 s off 6thplace!). Overall, we were pleased with our performance and look forward to some exciting side-by-side racing in 9s Spring Regatta this Sunday! A big thank you to our bank party: our coach Tim Newton and ‘second coach/cheerleader’ Justin. We would also like to thank Claire for the provision of excellent post-race cookies.”

— Emma Welbourn, W1 stroke

“Having practiced a new start sequence a grand total of two times and with an experienced stroke, who has been stroking M1 for half an outing so far, we felt more than prepared for this 1450m race. Motivated by the promise of a bottle of prosecco for each rower for the most impressive start, we took it off at rate 40 with a strong start. The timing would start 40 metres after the start and that’s about where we strode it down to rate 36. As I (new stroke) felt that bow and 3-seat were struggling to take us around Ditton, I decided that a mini-crab in stroke seat (bowside) would help us get the boat around. Successfully, we got around the corner and consistently stayed at a high rate, which on the one hand came from power in the water and on the other hand from a quite rushed slide. To our surprise, we had to undertake a women’s crew, Christ’s W1, just after the Railway Bridge. Slightly thrown off by this, we entered our final push ‘emptying out’ for about 300m as our Cox told us to do. So we did, and after a powerful, but slightly messy race we finished with a time of 4:44.5 Min – a reasonable result beating our last year’s time by 1.7 seconds!”

— Günther Turk, Men’s Captain and M1 stroke

“On 19thMay 2019, Sidney W2 participated in the Champion of the Thames RC Eights Head, rowing a 1450m course from the Plough to the site of the former Penny Ferry pub. Despite this being W2’s first experience of competitive rowing, the crew calmed their nerves and came together for one of their most confident and successful outings to date. The race kicked off with a powerful start sequence and despite catching a crab in the first few strokes, the crew recovered quickly and pushed forwards, managing to recapture the initial high rate and intensity. Sidney completed the race in an impressive 6 minutes and 11 seconds, placing them in 8thplace out of the 15 crews in the division. Although the crew had been apprehensive about racing together for the first time, they all agreed that the experience was extremely beneficial and will stand them in good stead for May Bumps. They would like to thank their coach, Claire Burridge, for her invaluable support, enthusiasm and preparation, as well as Emma Welbourne and Tim Rhodes, and the SSBC spectators who cheered from the bank.”

— Alice Bergin, Alumni Officer and W2 4-seat

26 May was the day of the Nines Spring Regatta. Sidney participated with our M2 and W1.

“Sidney Sussex M2 entered the ‘99s Regatta on Sunday 26th May, achieving an impressive second place in the Lower Men’s Division, narrowly beaten by Pembroke M3. Despite a reorganization of the usual M2 crew to accommodate busy exam schedules, five subs and four original members came together seamlessly to achieve a successful day of rowing. In the first race Sidney’s competitors, LMBC M4, were nowhere to be seen, and our scratch crew cruised into the semi-final. Next up was ‘Champion of the Thames Pls Don’t Capsize us’ who were held three boat lengths behind us for the length of the 1km course along the long reach. In the final, Pembroke M3 managed to get ahead at the start; however, the Sidney boys held on and didn’t concede clear water. All in all, it was a great day of racing, with M2 gaining some vital race experience ahead of May Bumps.”

— Joe Tyler, Men’s Vice Captain and M2 stroke

W1 won the whole d*mn regatta (women’s side). This is obviously an achievement that merits a dedicated blog post. Read what Camille Lardy, W1 4-seat has written about their great performance here!

All in all, SSBC can say with confidence that we’ve had some serious preparation for what’s to come. May Bumps, we’re ready!

— Compiled by editor-in-chief and M1 5-seat, Tor Svenungsson

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