Classic Cottages has recently teamed up with Beth and Chloe, two incredibly talented young rowers from Castle Dore Rowing club. Practising and racing all over the country, the girls are taking our waterways by storm. In this brilliant blog, a very pleased if not exhausted Chloe details their latest success. Well done girls!
We had a fantastic weekend racing at Evesham, as a club and individually. On Saturday the racing was a 1km course that was almost dead straight, with a slight curve towards the finish, but a staggered start compensated for that. Because the river was only just wide enough to squeeze two boats across, the competition was run as a knock out system, with heats, semi-finals and finales, depending on numbers in that division. This meant my first race was one of potentially six on Saturday! So my race plan was to get ahead on the start, even though I was 'behind' because I was in the inside lane, then let the corner do the work in my favour and just hold off my opposition until the finish.
My plan worked! I then progressed to the semi-finals, where I was in the outside lane, but I implemented a similar plan of getting ahead at the start, then just holding my opposition off. Again, it seemed to work! Through to the finals and by now my legs were really starting to ache. Although we were expected to get the boats off the water and then re-launch with our opposition, the timings of my events gave me about ten minutes break between races. My final opposition had had a few hours to prepare, so I felt like I was at a disadvantage. However, I had the inside lane again (which I preferred as it favours fast starts) and managed to put a length or two between my stern and my oppositions bow. First win of the day for Castle Dore, and my first win in a single this season.
A few hours later it was time to race the semi-final in the double. There was no heat round which I was very grateful for as my legs were dying! Beth and I got off to a fantastic start in the outside lane, and although the crew chasing put in a valiant effort towards the finish to gain back our lead, we held them off to win and progress to the final. Our final opposition were then ready to race within less than half an hour - again we were at a disadvantage as the more exhausted crew! They had also raced at Nationals last year, and won there so we were not expecting much. Our start was a little unbalanced and rushed, and because we were on the inside it felt like we were behind due to the staggered start. This is a huge drain on a rower’s mental ability to push through how much it hurts, and usually the crew that gets in front stays in front. However, as we rounded the apex of the corner we were neck and neck, and by the end of the turn we had put half a length on the other crew. This was all the encouragement we needed and we pushed on to finish a length ahead, to the cheers of our club members on the bank. They really made us work for our first regatta win of the season! Castle Dore really shone on Saturday with everyone winning a trophy by the end of the day, and the commentators were very complimentary of how 'mature, composed, smooth and fast' we looked apparently!
On Sunday it was a much shorter stretch over which we raced - only 500m. This favours the lighter, more powerful crews. Amongst other racers from Castle Dore, Beth raced her single but was pipped to the post in her semi-final unfortunately. I was almost happy because it meant she could save her legs for our double race! Beth and I won our semi-final in the double but were narrowly beaten by a crew in the final. We weren't too upset because we had had a spat with a swan halfway down the course, which put our balance off hugely and allowed them to creep ahead. Maybe we could have won if the swan had moved out of the way a little more quickly? All in all we were exhausted from Saturday and the crew that beat us won fair and square, and went on to win the final.
A gentleman came up to our coach as we were packing away and thoroughly congratulated and complimented our rowing. Coach was beaming ear to ear when we put it all down to his coaching. It turns out the gentleman was the coach of the girls we beat in the double final on Saturday. Another lady also came up to me at one point and exclaimed 'I know what Classic Cottages are!' and went on to explain that she always holidays with Classic in Falmouth - which was a peculiar coincidence. She (and anyone else who found out) was extremely shocked to hear we had come all the way from Cornwall to Evesham just to race, but lots of people were keen to find out where we were from as no one had ever heard of us yet we were winning things left right and centre! The furthest any other crew had travelled was approximately 20 miles, so we definitely won on dedication and effort invested. All in all a fantastic weekend.