On Saturday 28th January, four Cantabs crews from three squads travelled to London to race at the Quintin Eights Head of the River. This race, which takes place on the Tideway between Hammersmith Bridge and just beyond Chiswick Bridge was a good opportunity for the crews to experience the Tideway conditions in a race ahead of their current major training focuses – the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race for the Senior Women, the Head of the River Race for the Senior Men, and Schools Head of the River for the Hills Road boys.
The Senior Women fielded two crews, both in W.IM2.8+, aiming to perform well on a river which has seen them win pennants at the Pairs Head of the River and the Veteran Fours Head of the River already this season. The top crew of Millie Perrin, Ellie Darlington, Clare Hall, Eve Caroe, Merodie Rose, Bailee Stratton, Anita Holender and Georgia Vann were coxed by super sub Jamie Wooller of Auriol Kensington, who they met for the first time on the day. Jamie’s extensive Tideway experience proved extremely valuable, as the crew overtook City of Oxford, Wolfson College Oxford, Mortlake and a Putney Town men’s crew to finish 3rd in their event, 11th fastest of the 93 women’s crews racing. Their time of 15:02 was within one second of the Cambridge lightweight women’s blue boat and UL’s 2nd boat.
The second crew of Hannah Stewart, Cecilia Collins-Taylor, Alice Brownjohn, Sue Hakenbeck, Sarah Inskip, Sue Waterhouse, Gill Cooper and Hana Lango Allen finished 11th in IM2, steered beautifully by Leanne Fiddian in her first Tideway race in the coxing seat. Their time of 16:13 was faster than the top crews from some of the smaller Tideway based clubs and UEA’s top crew.
The Senior Men’s Squad were unlucky, with their fin falling off in their pre-paddle; however, KCL’s men’s squad kindly loaned them the use of their boat, meaning that they were still able to race. The IM2.8+ crew of Jimmy Adams, Guy Fiddian, Ricci Herreros-Symons, Hannes Dinse, Finn Grimwood, Andrew Marsden, James King, Hadi Boukhatmi and cox Sara Russo had a good race and finished in a time of 14:08, 30th overall, 7th in IM2.
The Cantabs juniors were also represented in the race, with a Hills Road crew entered into IM3.8+. The first Tideway experience for most of the crew (with many learning after losing some flipflops in some mud that coach Andy Johnson wasn’t kidding when he said that wellies were essential!) saw the boys finish 13th in their event in a time of 15:12.
The Senior Women’s Squad are now focusing on training for the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on 11th March, where they will aim to beat the club record of 25th place from 2015. The Senior Men’s Squad are focusing for the male counterpart, the Head of the River Race on 25th March, where they will aim to beat the club record of 60th place from 2016. The Hills boys are focusing on the Schools Head of the River on 23rd March.
Full Quintin Head results may be found here.