Wow! The season has gone by in a blur, I didn't realise it had been so long since our last post! So quite a lot has happened since March... Deep breath and i'll give you an update:

Training Camp
Once again we went on training camp over the Easter break. We returned to the beautiful Brive la Guillarde in France for 9 days. We took a large group of athletes, including our development squad. We were treated to good weather and lovely water, with progress being made all round.

BUCS Regatta:
Our first regatta of the season was for our student members of the squad. We had a diverse entry, with representation in Sheffield Hallam, Nottingham Trent and Loughborough colours. Highlights included a fantastic fourth and 6th place in beginner singles, and a 5th place in beginner quads, meaning all of our development athletes made their respective 'A' finals. Caitlin also continued her form, winning bronze in championship singles, and then followed this up with an outstanding gold in Champ doubles, with Katie Bartlett. This qualified a double and a single for the European Universities regatta. Caitlin has taken up the single slot, whilst Annie and Fleur will compete in the double scull.

Our next destination was Rotterdam regatta, mainly for some early season experience for our non-students. Lucy made a great start to the regatta season winning Junior singes and Ellyce came a very close second in the lightweight singles. Sammy, Kerryn, katie and Wilks all had some fantastic, and came away with plenty of lessons learnt - particularly how to start in a raging crosswind!

Next up we had Notts City:
Star performances were from Ellyce who dominated the elite lightweight singles race from start to finish, and Kate and Georgina in their 2x who won in a similar style. Our development quad of Kate, Annie, Fleur and Georgina had a fantastic first run out on the course in IM1 quads, coming in a close second by a canvas. Wilks also had a chance to put in to practice what she had learnt in Rotterdam, racing IM1 singles, where she came second to a strong starting Agecroft sculler, with Abi coming home in third. Rosie and Kat also started their doubles campaign, having a fantastic heat, and being pipped to the win in the final.

Monmouth Regatta
We spent the weekend at Monmouth Regatta where we had an incredibly successful weekend, again with plenty of side by side racing experience gained for the run in to Henley Womens Regatta. 5 athletes lost their novice status and went for a dip in the river, well done Sammy, Annie, Fleur, JJ and Kristina! This was an incredibly enjoyable regatta, with a lovely friendly feeling, and we will definitely be returning next year!

Next up: How we got on at HWR and HRR...

Another weekend saw another trip to a race to finish a very busy head racing season. This time we were travelling to Lincoln to race under the impressive Lincoln Cathedral. Our development girls were racing in an IM2 4x (Fleur, Annie, Kate and Georgina), and IM2 2x (Carly and Kellie), with Sammy racing both IM3 and IM2 1x. The novice girls were also out racing in force in a quad, double and single.
Once the fog had cleared it was a beautiful day on the river Witham. Despite a few close shaves with the reeds which seemed to be out in force, the girls all had fantastic rows and we came away as the fastest women's crew and also the fastest female sculler. For some of the novice girls this was their first race, and provided an excellent learning experience.

Final results were:
WIM2 4x - First
WIM2 1x - First
WIM3 1x - 2nd
WNov 4x - 2nd
WNov 2x - 2nd
WNov 1x - 2nd
WIM2 2x - 3rd

After their success at Trent Head, the girls searched for some more speed in the following week before heading down to Putney for the Women's Eights Head of the River. After a short pre-paddle to get used to the water, the girls had a break, got their race kit on and headed back out onto the water. The crew was starting 12th, and were aiming to get back in to the top ten. This is the 10th women's head since the clubs formation in 2006, so the pressure was on to maintain the streak of winning a pennant at this event every year. The girls had a really good race, hitting each part of their race plan well, and finishing alongside Exeter University, who started 11th, on the line. 
The team at WEHoRR provided an excellent live results service, which meant the girls knew they had beaten closest contenders from last year Cantabrigian and Grosvenor RC. They were also placed precariously in 9th place, with the new entry crews starting further down the start order in 51st onwards. Completed provisional results placed the girls 10th overall and winning the provincial pennant by 37 seconds. This year we had 4 girls who were first time pennant winners, including stroke girl Caitlin, who thought racing 4 1/4 miles was the perfect way to celebrate her birthday!

Congratulations to the crew of: Vicky Atkins (cox), Caitlin, Katie, Kirstie, Wilks, Laura, Sammy, Ellyce and Kat, as well as coaches Dez and Nikki. Thanks also to all those who sat in the 8+ to keep the project going, and also to the Presidents Club for providing us with our 8+, we couldn't have done it without you!

We had 5 athletes who travelled to Boston to race at the 3rd winter assessment. This was primarily for those seeking Senior, U23 and University World Championship selection. The first division saw Katie, Kirstie, Caitlin, Wilks and Sammy racing over the 5k course. After battling through the wind and waves until the bend, the girls all settled on to a strong rhythm for the final 3k. Top performer was Caitlin, coming in 10th, with Katie less than a second behind in 11th. Katie is still an U23, and this left her well placed as 3rd U23. Kirstie came in 31st, Sammy 36th and Wilks 37th. the girls now wait to hear if they have been invited to the final April selection trials, which are a closed trial in Caversham. 

Meanwhile, just down the road but in significantly nicer conditions, Ellyce, Kellie, Fleur and Grace were racing at the South Yorkshire Head, hosted by Doncaster Rowing Club. Despite only sending 4 athletes, we had a successful day, with Ellyce winning elite singles, and Fleur winning Novice singles. 

The girls have now moved in to 8s in the lead up to Trent Head and Eights Head. We are racing Elite 8s at Trent Head, and we also have some of our novice development girls in a novice 8+. Give us a cheer on Sunday if you are by the river!

With 4 trailers loaded, the club arrived en masse to Boston Rowing Club for their head race. First up we had our elite scullers racing over the full 5k course. With results on a live feed, we were quick to find out that Laura had won, followed by Caitlin Boyland and Katie Bartlett, giving us the 1,2,3 in some mild conditions.

After a tight turn around between divisions, Fleur and Annie boated to race a status up in IM3 doubles. After a solid row, they came in over a minute ahead of their opposition, in a very competitive time for the higher status doubles.

In the third division it was wins for the Rosie's, with Rosie Taylor winning IM3 singles, and Rosie Wilkins winning IM1 singles, in her second race of the day.

Overall a great day in Boston. Thank you to Boston for once again putting on a well run race. A lot of the squad will be returning in a few weeks for the February GB Rowing Team assessment, before moving in to the 8+ for WEHoRR.

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