News - Women's Eights Head of the River Race

Race Review WEHoRR (by Chris Mitchell, March 2014)


On a beautiful day in London, Mersey's first ever crew to compete at the Women's Eights Head of the River Race gathered on the banks of the Thames. With a copious supply of Jelly Babies on hand, the eight intrepid rowers assembled their boat and prepared for a gruelling row in challenging conditions on the tideway. Unusual flow conditions had already ruled out a chunk of the field, but Mersey women are made of sterner stuff.

Preparations on the dock, and at head races building up to WEHoRR, had gone well. Each outing got more stable and more powerful, leading to cautious optimism among crew, cox and coach. We took to the Thames and rowed up to the start against a strong stream. With 241 crews on the water, we waited for our turn to start. When the call came to spin and start, the whole crew was raring to go and determined to take their place in Mersey history.

Before we knew it we were across the start line and thundering along at 28 spm. Passing under the centre of Barnes Bridge, spirits were lifted by our very vocal support from our coach and fan club. Each push in the legs sent the bridge further into the background. This was the time in the race plan to settle in for the long haul and set a steady rhythm, smoothly powering the boat along to Hammersmith Bridge. A lesser crew might have slowed down, exhausting themselves after the fury of the start. Not so for these women. The boat speed increased dropping our split as low as 1.32.


Under the second lamppost on Hammersmith Bridge and we were almost to the finish line. The rate rose to 30 as we reached Fulham Football Club and drove for the finish line. Holding their heads high, the crew powered across the finish line and finally wound down, paddling along through their exhaustion. We had completed the course in 22 minutes and 11 seconds, far surpassing expectations for first timers and defeating numerous IM3 crews and some IM2 crews as well.

With broad smiles and yet more Jelly Babies, we returned to Barnes Bridge in the twilight, basking in the glory of a truly outstanding performance from Mersey's first ever crew to compete at WEHoRR.



More pictures can be found in this gallery: WEHoRR gallery