On Sunday 18th, the squad completed some training pieces against Durham University. With super sub Cassie from the womens' squad, and coxed by Ashley Hewitt, the girls swapped their singles for an eight, and after some initial confusion about the lack of two blades, took to the water.

The pieces were quite eventful, as it turns out going three abreast through a sailing race doesn't go down very well, and with all three crews doing their best to turn rowing into a contact sport. Credit to Laura, who whilst maybe not always getting her blade in the water whilst clashing, definitely went for the 'grip harder and keep rowing' attitude. A shortened course kept the sailors happy, and allowed all three boats to get some good racing in, although the Nottingham crew felt slightly ganged up on when the two durham boats squeezed in so we were clashing blades on both sides-at least we will be ready for any clashes on the tideway in March! Some really close racing kept all three boats honest through the pieces, whilst Nottingham were kept happy with a win in all three pieces.

No more events are on the horizon for this year - Happy Christmas and bring on 2012!
Five athletes travelled to Boston to race over 5km on the river Witham against the clock. The December assessment is the first chance that athletes looking to break into the squad are able to guage their speed against current squad members, and impress the squad coaches, so the importance of a good performance was not underestimated. Luckily the heavy winds that were forecast did not materialise, but were replaced with freezing cold conditions and 'wintery showers'.

All athletes were racing as lightweights in the second division, after illness ruled both Laura and Pippa out of the chance to compete at these trials. After a tight finish in the first assessment in October, not only a good finish position but Trenside bragging rights were up for grabs. Ed came out on top, finishing 9th U23, and 25th overall. He was closely followed by Stu just under 3 seconds behind in 27th place and 11th U23, whilst Rich was 12 seconds behind this.

Racing for the lightweight women, in a race won by Sophie Hosking pushing current World U23 Champion and World Best Time holder Kat Copeland in second were Nikki and Yaz. Nikki came 9th overall, and 4th fastest athlete eligible for the World University Games. Yaz continued her good progress within the U23 squad, coming 15th and 5th U23 athlete, putting her firmly in contention for a place in the team in the summer.

The next focus will be February trials held over 2km at the Olympic Rowing Venue of Dorney Lake. Despite the good results, the squad will continue to train hard over the Christmas period in an effort to move up the rankings and secure their place in the GB team for the summer.
Nottingham rowing club sent a quad to the 16th Trefeu Internacional Cuitat de Barcelona held in Barcelona port on Sunday 20th November. The crew of Yasmin, Ellie, Philly and Nikki, accompanied by Dez and Lauren, travelled out to Barcelona on the Thursday before to allow time to train in the boat and gel as a crew. The event was sponsored by the Reial Club Maritim de Barcelona.

After training each day the crew made the most of being in Barcelona and visited some of the sites, including Gaudi’s imposing Sagrada Familia and the Parc Montjuic which provides stunning views of the port and contains some of the Olympic venues used in the 1992 Olympics.

6 crews were competing in the event, which was run in the format of a 650m sprint regatta, with the winner of each heat going directly through to the final, with the rest having another chance to reach the final through the repecharge. Despite some challenging conditions on the water, the crew qualified directly through to the final, winning their heat by 1 ½ lengths. The final was run 90 minutes later. The quad had a strong start, gaining a couple of lengths lead, which combined with a controlled middle part of the race allowed them to maintain this lead to cross the line half a length ahead of their closest opposition.

                               The girls with their winners trophy and book of the club's history

The crew felt that this was a great opportunity to race in an exciting and unusual location and it helped break up the long winter months before the summer season begins. The sunshine also helped! We would like to thank the race committee; particularly Iris and Sonia, and the Reial Club Maritim de Barcelona for organising this event and making us feel so welcome, we hope to return next year.
Last weekend 3 quads raced the 4 ¼ miles from Mortlake to Putney in the Fuller’s Fours Head of the River Race. This is a national race with 500 crews, and the last race this year where the national team are released back to their clubs to race in their club colours. The majority of the national team were racing, making for a high standard.

Stu, Ed and Rich took a break from racing each other and teamed up with Anthony Jackson from the senior mens squad to race in IM1 4x. Despite being a mainly lightweight crew and having a few problems overtaking a crew at the start, they had a good race, gaining their best ever result of 26th overall, and 6th in their category.

Having won the event last year, the quad of Pippa, Laura, Fiona and Nikki raced as Elite 4x and went off as first women’s crew, chased down by Leander A containing multiple World Champions and Olympic medallists. After an eventful row, having to navigate through a large number of crews who started ahead of them, some who were more obliging to move than others, the crew finished third in their category, 6th women’s crew and 133rd overall. They managed to maintain their position as the first women’s crew home that did not contain any current squad athletes.

The second crew  of Amy, Philly, Ellie and Kate came 8th in IM1 4x and 228th overall. They had a good row, overtaking Milton Keynes, who started ahead of them, by Chiswick Eyot. This was also Philly and Ellie’s first time at the 4s head and they did well to stay focussed over a very busy course. After limited outings due to other commitments, the crew managed to find a stronger rhythm and pace than they expected – brilliant result!

Next up is a solid training block to set us up for some good results at the next set of trials on December 17th.
The weekend of 22nd and 23rd October was the first GB assessment for the year. This comprises a 2km erg test and then a 5km water trial the next day. A variety of different injuries and illness saw a very small group go to the first trials. Pippa battled through her recent illness to get a PB on the erg, showing there is plenty more to come when she is fully fit. Yaz  got a PB and placed 5th out of all the lightweight women, whilst still being an Under 23. Stu also got a PB by 2 seconds on his 2km which ranked him 6th u23 for lightweight men, Ed and Rich put in solid performances to progress to the water trial the following day.
Battling against a strong headwind down the final stretch on the water, Pippa came 6th out of the women, and second ranked Under 23, proving she is well on track to make the Under 23 Worlds this year. In the second division for lightweight men and women, Yasmin continued her successful weekend, coming 11th lightweight woman home, and 4th Under 23, again placing her in a strong position for her GB aspirations. Ed withdrew from the water trial through illness, leaving just Stu and Rich to fight it out on the water. They came home in close succession in 20th and 22nd, with Stu leading the way by just 1 second, as 10th U23. Pippa’s result also counted towards BUCS, where she won gold. While Rich won bronze in lightweight doubles in the third division.
Those who missed this trial will have the opportunity to race at the December assessment as long as they can gain the erg cut-off specified by GB rowing.
The squad saw mixed results for their first race of the season. The Autumn head is held over 5450m on the Trent, with the first division raced in singles, and then the second in larger boats over a shorter course. Illness and injury have affected the squad in the last few weeks, although the majority made it to the start line. Ed won Senior 1 singles, closely followed by Stu and Rich. The three boys then formed a quad with a member of the senior mens squad to win in the second division as well.
On the womens side, Elite singles was won by a member of Leeds RC, closely followed by Nikki and Fiona Due to a lack of competition Laura was racing for time only in Senior, whilst Yasmin Marks won IM2 singles and Bex Rimmington won IM3 singles.

Our forcus is now on next weekends GB trials in Boston. This consists of a 2km erg test on the Saturday followed by a 5km water trial on the Sunday.
Whilst for most the 2012 season and long winter training has started, Vicki joined former NRC member Monica Relph as part of the womens eight representing Great Britain at the European Championships in Bulgaria. This year was one of the highest standards that the championships had seen, with recently crowned World Champions competing. Against tough opposition the crew came 4th, beating Russia and Poland in the final.

Whilst Vicki now takes a well deserved break, the rest of the squad are training hard for the Nottingham Autumn Head mid October and the first GB assessmement on the 22 and 23rd October.
Oarsport have recently purchased a new rowing machine called a Swingulator which is an American design by the company Rowing Innovations.  It is as close to a boat as you are going to get on dry land.  It is based on sweep rowing and as yet a sculling version is not available.

Laura, Lindsay, Pippa and Catherine along with Dez joined the Oarsport team for the promotional filming of the Swingulator.  We feel this is a great invention and the only thing it lacked from a boat was the feel which made timing the crew much harder.  It was great fun rowing on this machine especially when we moved them to form 2 pairs.  This saw the competitiveness come out and the race was on...

We start the new season in our new boat bay now based on the river just down from the main clubhouses.  Whilst the squad were on their break lots of people have been involved in getting the facility up and running for our return.  It is a great facility but there is still a lot to sort and organise.  We would like to thank everyone involved in helping with this project.

The racks go in.

This season we will spend the winter training from our new bay on the river and will return to the lake for the summer.  For most of us the prospect of training on the river and using our new facility is an exciting one, although we are sad to be leaving the lake after all these years.

It's back to the grindstone for the next season and training started quite pleasanty with a nice technical session, second session was a 30 minute ergo - thanks Dez.  Well I suppose we may as well start as we mean to go on.  Train hard, Race hard!!!
Six Students from the Nottingham Rowing Club High performance programme represented their university  and Great Britain at the European University Rowing Championships in Moscow last week. Nicola Spencer topped the squad's rankings, with a silver in the Lightweight Women's Single scull. These athletes will take a small end of season break before returning to Trentside for their 2012 season in a few weeks time.

Nikki Spencer (Nottingham Trent University) - Silver medal, LW1x
Richard Watton and Stuart Sykes (Nottingham University) - 4th Place, LM2x
Edward Mace (Nottingham University) - 5th Place, LM1x
Rebecca Gill and Emma Corless (Nottingham Trent University) - 7th Place, W2x

The High Performance programme at Nottingham Rowing Club has a total of 9 students for the 2011 season. In 2011 all students were able to compete for their university at the BUCS competitions as well as being part of the NRC HP group. The NRC HP group provides a  GB endorsed programme aiming athletes towards selection for the GB rowing team, and/or success at the Henley Women's Regatta, Henley Royal Regatta and the British Rowing Championships.
The 2011 season has had its highs and lows but has bought with many successes.  We had a great start to the season winning the headship at Fullers Fours Head in the WElite 4x.  Nikki, Pippa, Vicky, Lindsay and Dez then got to go down to the Fullers brewery and sample the ales at the prize giving.

 With the New Year bought training camp.  We boarded the plane and headed to the sunshine of Club la Santa, Lanzarote where we had a 7 day gruelling land based camp and the best bit we didn’t even have to  touch a ergo well apart from the mad ones that decided to take part in the 2k ergo challenge the centre had at the end of camp.  We spent our time cycling, swimming, spinning and getting stacked doing both power weights and technical weights and not forgetting some core workouts on the green.  If only we could tell the time pool time was defiantly ahead of schedule.

The cold was calling and it was time to get back in the boat a slightly bigger boat this time.  After spending so much time out in 1x our sessions in the 8+ seemed to fly by.  We then raced the 8+ at WEHORR where we won the senior pennant and finished 9th overall.  The Men’s eight was next to race the tideway and although the narrowly missed out on a pennant win they saw the highest ranking a Nottingham Men’s eight has ever seen finishing 39th overall.

We then had a bit of down time to focus on our training as we switched from the winter head season to the new summer regatta season.  What better way to focus on training and crew formation that training camp.  This year camp took us to Monmouth Rowing Club where we enjoyed flat water and sunshine which all in all makes for a good camp.  We made the food between us which made for a good crew bonding exercise in itself…  Just don’t ask about the macaroni cheese!!  Louise made enough cakes for the 5000 so we never went short on a sugar fix that’s for sure. 

We finally got to go out and test our crews at Metropolitan Regatta where we saw wins on Saturday from Laura and Vicki in the WElite 8+ and the WElite 4- rowing in a composite crew that is training for the European Rowing Championships.  The WSenior 2x of Kate and Grace held there winning form with an easy victory over the field.  The WElite 4x of Lindsay, Fiona, Nikki and Catherine had a disappointing row on the Saturday unfortunately that just part of the game and it’s what you choose to do about it that counts. 

They went out on the Sunday and did what we do best they smashed it to bring home more gold.  Laura and Vicki were victorious in the WElite 8+ again but did not race the 4-.  The MSenior 4- led the way in there event which led to the coached decision to race the 4- rather than the 8+ at Henley Royal.  Unfortunately for Kate and Grace they had been entered in the WIM1 2x for the Sunday which is the status below the category they won the previous day.  They had another easy win which is nice but doesn’t always make for good racing.  The final win came from Becca who was racing with Staines RC as a composite crew in the WIM1 4x.  An impressive medal count of 8 certainly isn’t bad for a weekends work.

That led us down to Henley with confidence for some Pimm’s darling.  Laura took an easy victory in the WElite 2- as a composite with Reading University and was due to race in the WElite 8+ along with Vicki.  Due to misunderstanding between the officials and the coaching team regarding the doubling up rules this was no long possible.  Therefore Pippa jumped in as a last minute sub for Laura and continued the WElite 8+ success with a victory over the American crews over from Princeton University.  The WSenior 2x of Kate and Grace battled through a tough field to make the final where they came up against a Dutch crew.  After a good race the Dutch crew just proved to be the best crew on the day and took the victory. 

While those athletes bathed in the glory of Henley disaster struck elsewhere, Louise was due to race in the WSenior Lwt 1x but due to illness she was unable to make weight.  Maybe it was her body’s way of telling her she wasn’t well enough to race but we certainly don’t like to be told that.  The WElite 4x took a tough knock in there event it just so happened that it was a boom rather than a crew.  Steering a boat that goes backwards is tough enough at the best of time let alone on a course without markers.  The crew made it to the end of the island but then hit the posts on the end of the booms stopping the boat dead.  They came in to land with some nice scrapes and bruises and a set of now deceased blades.

 Not to be beaten by the tricky course Henley provides they got back in the boat new set of blades in hand and qualified as one of the 8 crews for the W4x at Henley Royal.  Unfortunately for this Catherine was ill and it was down to our super sub Pippa again to jump in.  They made it safely down the course this time if somewhat a little behind their opposition.  What do expect when you’re racing the American National Team a great opportunity for the crew.  How many people can say they have raced against a national team boat?  The MSenior 4- had an awesome regatta going from strength to strength as they progressed through the round all the way to the final.  The final saw them narrowly miss out to London RC.

They would get the turn on home waters at the British Championships where they again race London RC in the M4- where they took Gold leaving London RC to take the Bronze.  The W4x dominated the field for their Gold which then saw Lindsay and Fiona double up into the W2x to take a second easy Gold.  Nikki raced in the WLwt 1x and timed her move to perfection to row through into the Silver medal position.  Pippa though she might like to prove a point to GB rowing selectors and led the field by some 15seconds in the WU23 1x point proved I think.

Lindsay and Fiona travelled to Scotland to represent England in the Home International Regatta where they took 2 Gold medals in the 2x and the 4x.

Rich, Stu, Ed and Nikki will be racing in Moscow for GB at EUSA later in the month so while for most of us our season has come to an end for them its train train train.  We will enjoy this bit of downtime and get in some recovery and some cross training and generally just take it easy for a bit without the pressure.

We will start the 2012 season on Monday 5th September.  Bring it on!!!
Lindsay and Fiona travelled up to a sunny Scotland to race in the Home International Regatta where they won the double and then teamed up with the Mortlake lightweight double to win Gold in the quads as well - Well done girls!
Last weekend was the British Championships held at the Water Sports Centre. The lake was characteristically unwelcoming for all who tried to compete on it, with wind and rain forecast for the whole weekend.
After a series of earlier rounds, all crews made it safely through to the finals. The women’s quad of Catherine, Fiona, Lindsay and Nikki were first up. After blasting out of the blocks and beating the rest of the crews by 7 seconds to the first 500m, they maintained their lead comfortably, to take gold ahead of the GB junior composite and a Clydesdale/Bath composite.
Next to race was Pippa in the under 23 singles. Pippa had dominated her heat the previous day, and lead the field comfortably in the final to take gold by 15 seconds. Nikki was doubling up and was also competing in the lightweight singles and won silver.
Rich Watton was competing with the mens’ squad in the coxless 4 which narrowly missed out on a Henley Royal win, partly due to an unfortunate re-row the day before, meaning they had an extra race in their legs when it came to the final against London RC. The boys turned this result around at the Championships, becoming the British Champions and beating London RC into third.
Last to race was the new combination of Lindsay and Fiona, who despite a lack of time together controlled the race from the front with style, beating the field by 12 seconds.
Based on these performances Nikki, Rich, Fiona and Lindsay were all invited to compete for England at the Home International Regatta held a week after the Championships. Lindsay and Fiona will both be travelling up to Scotland, where they will compete in the double scull, and then move into a quad where they will hopefully maintain their winning streak – good luck!
The squad were involved in 4 boats at Henley Royal Regatta. Rich was competing in the coxless 4, a crew who prequalified after their success at the Metropolitan Regatta. Stu was racing in the u23 lightweight quad. Vicky was competing in the European 8 who had also prequalified. The women’s quad and Pippa in her single were required to compete in the qualifying race the week before the regatta. This is held in the format of a time trial, with 2 boats going through for the quad and the single, as a large international entry had meant there were only a few places left in the 8 boat draw. Pippa raced well, beating some established scullers who have spent their season in the single, and just missed out on qualification as the fastest non-qualifier. Unfortunately Catherine had come down with tonsillitis during the week, so the quad raced with Pippa as a substitute. The quad qualified for the main regatta, and drew USA ‘B’ in their first round on Friday. Despite a gutsy row, the girls were outpaced, and were knocked out. The USA ‘B’ crew went on to win the final. Vicki beat Vesta on the Friday, and were then knocked out by the USA eight on the Saturday.
Rich’s crew made it comfortably through racing from Wednesday to Saturday. On the Saturday they came up against Tideway Scullers. Despite beating them by just under a length, an appeal on the finish line by the Scullers crew saying weed had impaired them was upheld, and the crew had to re-row as the last race of the day. The crew kept their nerve, and beat Scullers again by the same distance. Unfortunately the extra race appeared to have taken its toll on the crew, as they were beaten by London RC by 2 lengths in the final. They had an excellent run at the regatta, the best that the mens squad at NRC have ever had which is testament to the hard work that the boys have put in over the year. Solace can be taken in the knowledge that London RC lost to Nottingham and Union last year – our turn will be next!

Stu's quad had a comfortable race against Tideway scullers beating them easily in the heat. The next race wasn't as easy, they were up against a strong Agecroft/Durham university composite. After leading the race up until the last moment they were eventually overhauled and beat by 2 feet!
We have some new Masters Champions!

Congratulations to Kate and Grace who won the Masters A doubles, and Lindsay and Athalie Redwood-Brown who got silver in the same race.

 Both doubles then formed a quad which also won Gold. 100% success rate at this regatta!

Last weekend saw the squad travel down to Dorney Lake – the 2012 Olympic rowing venue, to race at Metropolitan Regatta. This regatta is one of the highest standard in the UK, and a good performance here is a good sign for Henley Womens Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta in the next few weeks.
Results were promising throughout the weekend. On Saturday Laura and Vicky raced in the composite crews for European selection, winning Elite coxless fours with two girls from Reading, and then teaming up with another composite 4 to win Elite eights as well. Louise and Ed both battled well in their singles against an increasingly strong crosswind. Ed came 5th in Elite lightweight singles, and Louise came 3rd in IM1. An elite quad of Lindsay, Fiona Bassett, Catherine and Nikki raced hard to just beat the under 23 selected quad to the line. Pippa raced in a composite double, which then teamed up to form the under 23 quad looking for selection for the forthcoming Under 23 World Championships. The senior double continued their winning streak in a straight final, to conclude a solid days racing on day 1.

Day 2 brought more medals. Rich, stroking the men’s coxless 4 put in an excellent performance to win Senior 4s comfortably. Not to be outdone, the women’s quad made the most of what they had learnt from the previous days racing, and put more distance on the GB selected boat to win Elite quads. Louise moved up to Elite lightweight singles and came 5th, an excellent result against former and current GB athletes. The double won IM1 and Laura and Vicky won Elite 8s as part of the European composite crew. Stu raced with the GB U23 lightweight quad and came third.

The May bank holiday saw the students in the High Performance Group competing at the largest student regatta in Europe, the British University and College Sports (BUCS) regatta. Holme Pierrepont successfully maintained its reputation for ‘challenging’ conditions, with a strong tailwind producing conditions more often seen on the sea. This undoubtedly favoured our group, who were competing on home ‘surf’.
The whole weekend was a great success, with all athletes who competed getting onto the medal podium. The European Universities regatta (EUSA) selection is based on the results of this regatta, and it is therefore likely that a large contingent from the High Performance Group will be travelling out to Moscow at the end of August to compete under the British Universities flag.
Gold and Silver for women's Championship 2x

Squad results:
Pippa Whittacker and Catherine Lineker – Championship doubles
Catherine Lineker – Intermediate singles

Nikki Spencer– Championship lightweight singles
Nikki Spencer and Athalie Redwood-Brown – Championship doubles
Rebecca Gill and Emma Corless – Intermediate doubles

Ed Mace – Championship lightweight singles
Rich Watton and Stu Sykes – Championship lightweight doubles
Pippa Whittacker – Championship Singles

Man points go to Ed Mace who was unlucky enough to already be at the start when racing was postponed due to deteriorating conditions, and therefore raced his heat over the full 2000m, coming back with most of the lake in his boat.

We headed off to Monmouth Rowing Club last weekend, where we enjoyed beautiful weather, flat water and use of their club house for cooking and chilling out. Who needs to go abroad when we have such amazing facilities and weather in this country!!!


Louise and her family welcomed us into their beautiful home - a farm, a short drive away from the town. The sheep, the dogs and the horse kept us entertained and the garden provided the perfect setting for an evening meal in the sunshine.

Tea in the garden

Louise was the hostess with the mostess and together with Nikki did an amazing job with the catering. Delicious, fresh meals were delivered from both the farm and the boat house kitchens and freshly baked snacks kept us going between sessions. Louise's flapjacks were amazing but my favourite was the carrot and coconut cake.

Day 1 - Friday

The weekend's training began with launch lifting! Getting launch down the steps at Monmouth is no mean feat but with six HPS girls under Louise's expert supervision the boat was in just as Dez's father arrived to tell us not to use that one - it leaks. So we had practice lifting it up the steps too!


The first water session of the weekend was a guided tour of the river, with Louise and Dez pointing out the landmarks and obstacles on the river. Lesson #1 don't take the outside of the bend - you won't come back! Lesson #2 small sticks in the bank are very difficult to spot when racing down the straight - but using swans is not reliable - they move! Once we'd determined that by church they meant some steps on the river bank, and by pink cottage they meant wires over the river we were all set and ready to get some hard work done in the afternoon!

Day 2 - Saturday

Saturday dawned bright and clear - when you're in vest tops before boating at 7.30am you know it's going to be hot! A long paddle in singles gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy the flat water before it too warm, but this was followed by some leapfrog in the second session. It was cooking and the aim became staying cool! Catherine pioneered the t-shirt dunking technique while I went for sticking my feet in the river (socks and all) at the end of each run! Only Kate seemed unfazed by the heat - I think she is solar powered!

During lunch Dez tended to the latest addition to our fleet - an Empacher double, carefully cleaning and lovingly polishing it while the rest of us chilled out in the shade.


It was Kate and I who were lucky enough to try it out first after lunch. It feels very different to the WinTech we have been paddling in!!!

Kate and Grace in double

The last session of the day was chosen to match the weather - skills in the singles, where Dez set us increasingly difficult challenges.

Standing up

After doing all the exercises Dez set we got a bit more adventurous, Laura and Nikki challenged each other to see how long they could sit at front stops with their hands off the blades. It was only going to end one way!


Since they were wet they were on a mission to get us all swimming, successfully dunking me, Rebbecca and Louise. The prize for the best skills has to go to Louise who could completed every task including the yoga. Heidi would be proud!!


Day 3 - Sunday

Another beautiful morning and another long technical paddle in the singles, followed by some crew boat work and then some hard work in singles!

Pushing off

It was Easter Sunday so the necessary chocolate fest had to take place.... to facilitate this we all had a secret bunny who'd carefully selected us an Easter treat. Mine had the hardest task since I don't react well to chocolate! This was followed by an Easter Egg hunt in the nearby skate park, where 5 eggs are sill missing - presumed eaten! The scrap over the last egg in the tree ended with Vicki muscling out Lindsay and Laura!

The day ended with a trip to Symonds Yat, which provided stunning views of the surrounding countryside and a lovely pub next to the river for that well deserved drink!

Day 4 - Monday

As a treat on the last day we got to do the long paddle in crew boats! Caversham had called Laura and Vicki away so that left us with a double and a quad.


Following this was a 1500m time trial, where Kate proved she is indeed solar powered and the swans proved they do move and are unsuitable as landmarks!

The last session but definitely not the least was starts - we got quite an audience along the bank as we tried to get from one end of the landing stage to the other from a start in under 10 secs! With Catherine on start marshal duty and Dez on timing, the quickest was Nikki in a rapid 9.8 seconds... next up was Lindsay - I have some work to do!

All that was left was to load the trailer and head off home, tired and tanned! A big thank you to Louise for your efforts! Bring on Henley!
We would all like to say good luck to Pippa and Stu who will be down at Dorney this weekend for Final Trials.  They will be fighting it out for a chance to represent Great Britain at the World U23 Championships held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  Go smash it guys!!!
Over 390 crews joined the Nottingham Rowing Club men's first eight to compete in the Men's Head of the River this weekend along the Tideway course between Chiswick and Putney Bridge, along the river Thames in London. The event takes place two weeks after the Women's Head of the River, and the Men's boat had every chance of completing an equally successful race as the Women a fortnight previously.

The 8+ finished 39th, which is the highest finish for a Nottingham Rowing Club 8+. In achieving this, the 8+ was the fastest eight from Nottingham, beating local and historic rivals Nottingham and Union comfortably. This confirms Nottingham Rowing club as the premier club for both men and women alike in the region, at this point in the season. However, the elusive hunt for a Head of the River pennant goes on for the Men's squad as the Jackson Trophy (Fastest Non-Thames Club) and the IM2 pennant were won by crews only a mere 7 to 4 seconds in-front of the Men's eight.

The result, and quality of rowing and training, as well as a strong result from the NRC 2nd 8+, all bodes well for a successful summer racing season, culminating in the Henley Royal Regatta, in the first week of July.

High Performance group members, Richard Watton and Stuart Sykes sat at Stroke and Two respectively.

Last weekend 4 athletes from the group were invited down to Caversham to complete a 2km ergo (rowing machine) test on the Saturday followed by a water trial on the Sunday. Caversham is home to the purpose built Redgrave Pinsent rowing centre home to the Great Britain senior squad train. Pippa and Laura both rose to the occasion brilliantly, both pulling a personal best by over 5 seconds, following the example set by Stuart earlier in the week when he also improved his 2k time by 5 seconds.  Laura also had the satisfaction of finishing first in her ergo race, and being able to watch the others gasping for breath over the finish line. Not to be let off, despite the beautifully flat water and sunshine outside, the rest of the squad also had to sit on the ergo and complete their 2kms up in Nottingham. Some solid performances were put in, which shows promise for the summer season that’s just around the corner.
Sunday morning, while others were mourning the loss of an hour after the move to BST, Rich, Stuart and Laura were back out on the water in Caversham for 2 timed 1500m runs of the course. This was a trial for selection into the U23 and senior squad invitational trials in Dorney - the Olympic Rowing regatta venue for 2012 Olympics. Stuart put in a brilliant performance, coming second in his race, and showing enough speed to gain selection to the trials in a couple of weeks. Although Laura and Rich both had excellent races, it was felt that they weren’t quite ready to push for a place in the World Championship senior squad this year, but along with the rest of the squad, will now be fighting for places to the European Championships in Bulgaria.
Next up for the men is the Head of the River Race, which is the men’s equivalent to the Women’s Eights Head we competed a couple of weeks ago. Stuart and Rich are both in the Nottingham first VIII for this event and having shown good speed in training are looking for a pennant winning performance.

Well we had one of our best races at WEHORR yesterday as this crew and although we did have a bit of a battle with the Tideway Scullers crew we did manage to overtake them.  The race starts in finishing order of the previous year with all new entries at the back, after the clubs ranking of 10th last year this meant we started 8th which is always good when you don’t have to sit at the start for what seems like a lifetime in the cold.

The weather was far from the normal conditions we experience on the tideway in March.  There was very little wind so the water wasn’t as rough as what we come to expect from the tideway and to top it off we enjoyed some nice spring sunshine.

Our row to the start went well and we got some really good paddling in which put us in a good mind frame for the race.  We had a good build to the start and solid as a pack from there on.  We started two boat lengths down on the Tideway Scullers crew and from the off we worked on closing them down inch by inch.  Having finished 9th the year before this was no shabby crew and they certainly made us work for every inch we took from them.  It was a long grind to get the overtake and even once we got clear they maintained on tail and continued to push back at us. 

We maintained our Nottingham rhythm throughout and left the Tideway Scullers crew in search of the Thames crew who started 6th.  We didn’t get close enough to overtake them as you remain focused in your crew I really have no idea how far ahead they were.  That’s the advantage of a coxed boat as it’s their role not only to steer the boat and on the tideway a good line is crucial but also to keep the crew motivated and to keep them moving on as a pack.  Tamsin never let us settle, as soon as we’d passed the Tideway Scullers crew that was it, we were after Thames.

Having reached the black buoy we knew we were in the last leg of the race the final push to line we pressed onto it every stroke and by this point we were all in hell, everything screams stop at you but you can’t, you press on regardless knowing its nearly over.  We pushed the rate up a pip at a time and for the last 15 strokes or so we took the rate high and held on for the line.

We were pleased with the result as our aim is top 10 and we came in 9th winning the senior pennant continuing on Nottingham Rowing Club's success of pennant wins since it was merged in 2006.  To view photos of the race visit the Iain Weir website.
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