Senior Women's Report

New Season 2003/2004

We started this season with a new coach to replace Phil who has retired from coaching the women after many years of patience and hard work. Russ Haley joined us from Scotland where he has spent many years coaching athletes at both club and Commonwealth level. Russ and Andy are now the women's squad coaches and are developing their own form of sarcasm to help us through those lovely freezing cold morning outings in the rain below the lock. We have a good group of athletes this year and anyone wanting to join us is always welcome.

Results for 2003

Pairs Head of the River Race

Three crews from the women's squad competed at this event at the beginning of October. Kim and Tash produced the best results and a great time to be 4 th in the very competitive WS3 2x division. Kev and I had not such a special race in WS1 2x and perhaps a two-week holiday in Sri Lanka may not have been ideal race preparation (I did have a nice tan though!). Sally and Catrin raced as a veteran double and had fun navigating around the other crews.


Emily, Kev and Claire all trekked off to Boston for the first set of trials and returned that evening with a few weary faces. Emily was 7th amongst the skinnys. Claire was 32nd in heavyweights after unfortunately managing to clip a bush in the water. Kev was 53rd in heavyweights after her back went midway through the race. Not a lucky day for all concerned.

Marlow Long Distance Sculls

The rest of the squad stayed on more familiar territory to compete in the Long Distance Sculls. Kim sprinted up the course to be the fastest woman sculler and win the WS4 1x division. Tash also stormed up the course and was 2nd in the WS4 division and the 3rd fastest woman sculler. Catrin had a good row and came home with a pleasing time in the WS3 division. Dani and Louise also put in good performances and made a good start to the season.

Fours Head

November saw the Fours Head race and luckily enough this year it did not rain. Clare, Kev, Emily and I ventured out in the W4X category and had a good row with great steering from Kev (I am sure I heard her volunteer to steer crews for the rest of the year!). Tash, Kim, Maddy and Catrin were in the WS2 4x and had a reasonable row, coming just above middle of their category. Finally Ella coxed a crew of Louise, Lisa, Tamsin and Dani in the WS2 4+ category.

Walton Head

As we did not manage to make it to Wycliffe, some of the slightly madder members of the squad took racing into their own hands and attended Walton for the day. Emily and Vic had a good row in the WE 2x, but unfortunately there was no competition. Emily also ventured out in her single but suffered the timing differences between the divisions.


Until there were none……………

Well we have finally reached the end of the 2002-2003 season with no more regattas in the programme left to race. So here is a round up of the final few attended…drinking certainly seemed to be the theme moving into the last couple.

National Championships

The quad and Emily headed off north and it really was north, up to Strathclyde for this event. As promised the winds arrived making the water a bit too reminiscent of the tideway. Anyway we had a reasonable time, Emily and Shelley took a Bronze in the lightweight doubles event. Emily did very well to get into the final for the lightweight singles in an event that seemed to have dragged every lightweight in the country to enter.
The quad had the easier draw in the heats getting straight into the final after finishing second. In the final we had our best row of the weekend and although we didn't come home with any medals after finishing fourth we all felt it was worth attending. Big thanks to Andy who travelled all the way to Scotland as our Coach (and of course to watch Crispin).

Henley T & V

Best result of the day came when the S3 eight consisting of Ella, Maddy, Louise, Catrin, Lisa, Kim, Bexs, Tamsin and Dani won against Henley in the final. The coxed four also had a good row but got beaten in the semi by Henley, all members of the crew were in the winning eight, so one all was a reasonable result.


As promised for this weekend the weather was rather hot, Sunday managed to top the record books.
Racing on Saturday didn't get the smoothest of starts with Maddy having to be super sub and jump into the S2 quad at the last moment as an un-named person thought that Peterborough was on the M1 and not the A1(M). An easy enough mistake if you had never been there before but no, said unnamed (welsh muchkin) had in fact attended Peterborough on numerous occasions. Dani and Bexs in the S4 2X had a convincing win in their heat but decided to scratch for the semi as this would have clashed with the eights final. The S3 eight had a good row but unfortunately were knocked out in the semi. Maddy and Tamsin also both ventured out in their singles, with Maddy reaching the rep.
Sunday racing featured Tamsin in her single, Lisa and Louise in the novice 2X sculled well getting into the repechage. Finally Emily, Kev, Maddy and Catrin had a storming win in the S2 quad.

Finally the very last….City of Oxford Regatta

Catrin had a great win in the WS 1X event. Dani and Bexs won in the W4 2X event. Maddy, Louise, Bexs, Lisa and Ella were awarded the win in the WS3 4+ after the Cambridge boat was disqualified due to some fighting on the bank (an interesting way to coach!). Catrin and Maddy also competed in the double and Tamsin ventured out in her single.


Bedford Quarts Sprints - Sunday 13 July

An excellent day, with a good number and standard of entries producing some excellent racing. Seven Marlow crews raced, made 4 semi finals and 2 finals. Dani Phillips and Becs Skinner raced well in their WS4 2x to make the final, but lost in a close race by ½ length against some big girls from Peterborough.
WS3 4+. Lisa Knill , Maddie Parr, Louise Ainley and Maddy Downey (stroke), cox Ella Waddingham, raced well throughout the day, producing better performances in each round. They beat Curlew in the first round and City of Cambridge in the second, to meet Bedford Star in an exciting semi which Marlow won by ¼ length. In the final against Barnes Bridge Ladies, the four took off to an excellent start to win by 2½ lengths and thus collect their much sought after quart pewter tankards.

Andy Knill

Women's Henley - The Club Quads Final

The Club Quads final was the first race after the afternoon tea break. We were made to wait about 6 terrifying minutes on the start because race control at the start line couldn't get in contact with the finish line personnel. The umpire was going to start the race anyway, but was told she couldn't, so we were told to relax.
I have never felt SO nervous!! I've had adrenaline pumping before other races, and the sort of nerves you get before an exam, but never these nerves - when I felt I could have thrown up over the side of the boat - apologies for graphic details. However, when we were told to relax by the lining up people, we did and I felt a lot more in control of my feelings, as I think everyone else in the boat did.
Finally, were called to start. It's horribly hot and muggy, but a strong head wind has picked up and the water is a bit bobbly from all the cruisers going up and down the river.
And we're off....our aim to sit back and give strong finishes in the head wind.....rating 41 off the start, good first stroke.....but oh dear, both Hillbilly and I miss the second stroke on bowside - what a disaster, or is it? I look at the stern to check if the boat has gone off course, it hasn't, thankfully. We get it back OK. Strong start, not one of our best. Unfortunately the two practice starts we did above the course we very good, so that's probably why our real one wasn't up to much.
Aberdeen Boat Club (my old club, and the opposition, many of whom I used to race with) gained the lead on us because of the poor second stroke, but not as much as they could have, because we were with them rating 37. We were prepared for the gust of wind coming out from behind the island and sure enough it was there. We held it together and ploughed on, rating 34 and a half. Not long after, Kev called for our first push (push 10, hold 10, push 10) at the 500m mark. It didn't feel spectacular, but people said afterwards that it was effective and we moved up on them. Being at stroke it's harder to tell because I can't look round to see, but it must have worked because Kev gave a call for level - we pushed 10 and got level with them. She gave another call for half - we pushed and got half a length on them. She called yet again for length; we pushed and got a length. One last call for clear and we got a bit of clear water, just as we were passing the barrier into the enclosure.
We plugged on, the pain tough but much more bearable than it had been in the first race of the day. The cheers for ABC were strong and I think it helped fuel our aggression to win (it certainly did mine). Tetley, Andy K and Phil were on their bikes with us the whole time. Their cheers were excellent and they battled well through the enclosures, so we didn't lose them at all. Tetley had cycled from Tring that morning and later told us that he had sweated more following that race than cycling the 27 miles from Tring!
Towards the end of the enclosure, they did a push and gained on us a little, but with no overlapping. Now the exhaustion and aches were settling in. We did our other push out of the enclosure so they didn't gain any more on us. Jo's steering was superb. We got one warning near the start and I think that was just round about the time of the gust of wind when the water conditions were worst. My hat off to Jo, she was superb!!
70 strokes, I reckoned from the end of the enclosure, that's all we had left....we can do this. Still sitting at 34, with power in every finish. 300m to go, Kev calls for sit up. We all sit up, driving the legs down sharply, catches sharp and quick, finishes strong. A call for rating up one. We power on well, but it's only half a point we go up. Power still on and strong, ABC trying to push back at us. Kev calls for us to sit on them; we do. Another call for up one; it doesn't happen, but that doesn't matter because the power is still there. Ooops, the boat falls to stroke side at the start of our last 20 strokes. It's OK, we get it back and move on.....10 strokes left.....pain......the finish gun goes.
We've done it - we've just won Henley Women's Regatta as the first Club 4x ever!! That means we've set a course record, probably not that fast because of the head wind and not rowing our best. It still hasn't really sunk in properly, even today. What an amazing feeling!! It's strange. People asked after if it was a good row, apart from the pain. I said honestly, no it wasn't. In that final, technique went out of the window, for both crews, because Russ Haley said his crew lost technique too. It was a case of who was the gutsiest crew on the day, able to get it from start to finish in that head wind the fastest.....and that happened to be us. I was sorry to have beaten my old club mates, but they gave us a good challenge.
Hillbilly complimented me one my stroking, so maybe it wasn't as bad a row as I had thought. Stroke is always difficult because you don't get to see as much as the others. But I knew I had 3 fantastic girls backing me up and that they would be with me the whole way down the course. It will be interesting to see Jo's Dad's video of our final - he was in the umpire launch and recorded the whole race.
Many thanks to all who have supported us, cheered us on, and especially to Phil and Andy for their guidance, expertise coaching and faith in us - it was a real pleasure to win this for them too!!!!
I think we're all rather exhausted today, but no rest for the wicked, it's back to training for Henley Royal now.

Lorna Ferguson

The Regatta Season

Wallingford Regatta marked the beginning of our regatta season, and did we get a lovely flat lake at Dorney to utilise the technique we have been practising all winter?….Did we b***ocks! We got a howling head wind, which meant it was a day for the big birds!
Those brave enough to venture out in their singles put in good performances. Dani sculled well in her first novice race to come 5th in her heat and Maddy was 2nd in her heat to get through to the novice final, where unfortunately the wind proved somewhat of a hindrance. Maddy also competed at S4 in her single, along with Catrin. Maddy was 4th in her heat and Catrin did well in the heat getting through to the final. Even Emily suffered the small bird syndrome in head wind conditions, managing to get into the final of the Elite Singles, but being beaten there by those with more body mass.
Those of us in doubles had a reasonable day with all three doubles getting into the final, where Kev nearly fell over as she was still ill. Kat and Catrin suffered in the windy conditions, but Lorna (now in full cake eating mode after joining the big birds) and I managed to see off the competition to win the event (least said about brute force and ignorance the better!). Finally the S3 4+, a nearly scratch crew of Louise, Sally, Mandie, Lisa and Ella, put in a good performance to be 4th in their heat.

The next day was Marlow Spring Regatta, which resulted in a good haul of pots. Maddy won her novice single, Dani and Becs won the Novice Double event and the 4+, from Wallingford with Charlie as cox, won the S3 event

Ghent Regatta followed, which as well as providing a very good excuse to stock up on Belgian chocolate, also saw two good days of racing. Lorna and I got the Bronze on Saturday in the double. We then also got the Bronze in the quad with Kev and Jo.
Emily had a great final in the Lightweight 1X, getting the Bronze in a very competitive event (we won't mention her lane changing antics during the race. . it really is faster Emily if you go down the course in a straight line!). Sunday started well with Catrin and Maddy having a storming row in the Lghtweight 2X to get the Bronze. Emily was 4th in the LW 1X again in a very competitive event. The quad finished the day with another Bronze.

And on to Metropolitan….

Catrin and Maddy were unfortunately blighted in the double by Maddy being ill, but Catrin together with three Scottish girls on Sunday put in a good performance in the quads as a scratch crew.
The quad had a frustrating day on Saturday, coming 2nd in both the S1 and Elite events. Emily produced the best result on Saturday, winning the S1 1X event, making it all look a bit too easy. Later she took second in the double with Shelley.
Finally on Sunday, after another 2nd in the quad, we managed to win the S1 event after a very tough race. Emily was 4th in the 1X after a slow start.


Spring 2003


January started off well for the squad with the first race of the year at Wycliffe, luckily this time it was slightly warmer. The S3 eight comprising of Kat, Andrea, Maddy, Louise, Lisa, Michelle, Dani and Vickie won their division, as did the S3 quad of Julie, Jo, Helen and Lorna. The S2 quad, S2 eight and S3 four all did well coming in second. Vicky provided entertainment by taking a somewhat over keen interest in seeing close up the wildlife of both banks whilst steering the quad down the course.


Emily as part of a black prince composite did well at Worcester head to win the S1 4+ event.

Women's Head of the River

Whilst the water was not as smooth as we would all have liked with a head wind blowing for the first half of the course the crews had a good day. The first crew rowed in a vacuum for their race but did well to move up places starting at 27 and finishing at 24. The crew rowed well in the smoother water, taking advantage of the good rhythm set up by Lorna at stroke. Sally set up the second crew from stroke and they battled their way down the course overtaking quite a few crews. The result of 111th - weirdly enough the same number they started at - was a good result.


The squad came back from Abingdon with quite a haul of wins. Helen and Jo won the S2 Double, Catrin and Kat won the S3 Double, Emily son the S1 Single and Lorna, Helen, Jo and Kat won the S3 Quad. Dani and Becky were second in the Novice Double and Emily and Julie finished second in the S2 Doubles. Bonus points go to Julie for steering an interesting course but still managing not to swear at anyone, Emily later questioned if this was some type of sacrifice Julie had given up for lent?


End of 2002

In early December most athletes braved the cold (and it really was cold!) to compete at Wycliffe Small Boats Head. Results for the Women's squad were impressive, Emily was second in Elite Singles to Page of Worcester who also won the J18 event. In Senior 2 Julie was 4th and Jo 6th; Lorna produced a great result winning the Senior 3 division in her single, with Kat getting the silver. Catrin won the bronze in the Vet A Singles and Sally was 4th in the same division. Maddy sculled well to get the bronze in the Novice Singles followed in 4th by Martina and in joint 5th by Sophie and Dani.
The afternoon's division also produced great results for the women's club boats. Emily and Julie got the silver in the Senior 1 Double, Lorna and Jo won gold in the Senior 2 Double, bringing Lorna's medal win to two Golds in the same day!. Kat and Maddy did well in Senior 3 to get the silver and Dani and Sophie sculled well getting the bronze for Novice Doubles. Amusement of the day was kindly provided by Mandy who managed to steer the quad into the umpires launch on her way down the course (one might suggest Mandy is putting an early bid in for the broken rigger award!).

Later in the month saw Boston Trials. After achieving the required 2K erg times to be allowed to attend, a group of us merrily trekked off to Boston in December. Being greeted with a head wind for the first 2K of the 5k race was not my idea of a good day out, but I'm sure some people enjoyed it!. Anyway the day produced a brilliant result for Lorna who was 9th in the lightweight section. The rest of us faired OK in the pie eaters division, Helen Raine was 14th, I was 22nd and Helen Selden was 39th.