A warm, flat lake produced some fast times and good racing for the 51st Home International Regatta held at Holme Pierrepont on Saturday. This is an annual match between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with countries taking it in turns to host the event in their country.

Pippa raced first in her single, finishing off the season with an excellent win against some fast opposition in a time of 7.53. Next down the course was Nikki racing in a lightweight pair with Anastasia from Mortlake Anglian and Alpha BC. They were closely tracked down the course by defending winners from Wales, but held off a strong finish from the Welsh pair to win. Nikki then joined fellow lightweights Fran, Anna and Charlie from MAA and Putney Town to race in the openweight quads. The quad had a strong row to win comfortably, in a time of 6.51.

This brings an end to a lucrative 2013 season for the squad. Bring on 2014!

Notable wins and achievements for the 2012/13 season include:

Diamond Jubilee Regatta - Silver in women's fours
                                         - bronze in women's quads (composite)
Fours Head of the River  - Win in senior 4s (record time)
Eights Head of the River Race - Winners of the provincial pennant, 6th place overall (record time)
Nottingham City Regatta - Women's lightweight singles 1st and 2nd
                                         - Women's heavyweight singles 1st, 2nd and 3rd
Met Regatta - Winner IM2 singles
                     - Winners IM1 quads
Henley Women's Regatta - Winners senior quads, senior single, senior lightweight single
Henley Royal Regatta - A quad and 3 singles racing
Home International Regatta - wins in W1x, WLwt2- and W4x for England.

Laura Wheeler has been invited to train full time with the squad at their base in Caversham.
Alumni Vicki Meyer-Laker won the W2x World Cup series. Monica and Tina have both been competing in the W4x at this seasons World Cups.

7 of the squad returned to Henley to compete in the madness that is Henley Royal Regatta. The winners of senior quads at Henley Womens were already in the regatta with only 8 entries for the Princess Grace at HRR. Laura Wheeler pre-qualified her single on the back of an excellent season where she has been invited to train down in Caversham, whilst both Pippa and Nikki took the last two remaining spaces in the draw for the Princess Royal Cup for singles- meaning NRC athletes represented almost 40% of the total athletes making it through to the regatta in this event.
With only 8 crews in each event, the girls all had to wait until Friday to start racing, so spent a couple of days soaking up the atmosphere, cheering on the mens' crews racing for NRC and resisting the urge to stop rowing after 1500m at the HWR finish. All 4 crews had a tough draw, with the quad racing the current squad 2- and 2x (containing NRC alumni Vicki Meyer-Laker) who had joined forces for the regatta. Laura was to meet fellow squad athlete Vicky Thornley who has been racing her single at the World Cups this season, whilst Nikki drew 2x Olympic silver medallist Debbie Flood. Pippa had been practicing her starts after drawing reigning Olympic singles champion Mirka Knapkova.
In the blazing heat the girls boated. First to race were the quad, who gave it some beans off the start, but ultimately ended up with an 'easily' verdict against them. This caps of a (brief) but successful season in this boat for them. Other NRC alumni Tina Stiller and Monica Relph were also racing and were knocked out in their semi-final. They have been competing in the quad at the World Cups, coming 5th in WC2. The composite quad went on to win the regatta - well done VML!
Next up was Laura, who showed how much boat speed she has gained this season to lose by just 2 lengths. Pippa, (surprisingly) lost to Knapkova, but has shown she is well on her way back from an injury plagued season. Nikki, despite pushing the limits of how quickly you can respond to a starter and gaining about half a length in 3 strokes, lost by 4 lengths to Flood by the finish.
Thanks to everyone who came and supported - it really does make a difference!
Based on their performances over the season, Pippa and Nikki have both been selected to race for England at the Home International Regatta, which this year will be held at Holme Pierrepont NWSC on Saturday 27th July. The rest of the squad are now having a break before returning to training to try and make the 2014 season even bigger and better.
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