Racing at last weekend’s Four’s Head opened the Tideway season for the squads that will compete in The BNY Mellon Boat Races in April 2015. With wins for all four clubs, the season has begun well but still leaves a long time for further improvement before the crews go head to head on the Championship Course.
For the women’s clubs, Oxford’s Head Coach Christine Wilson highlighted the importance of racing experience on the unique stretch of water, saying, “While our training at this time of the year focuses on building the team and developing one approach to power application, it is helpful to have competitive challenges that test the athletes’ current fitness and race instincts. It was encouraging to see all three crews of Oxford women perform well on the day and to have the chance to expand on their knowledge of the Tideway.” OUWBC won the Elite coxed fours and Intermediate 1 quadruple scull.
Cambridge’s women’s Chief Coach Rob Baker similarly stressed the value of experience, entering crews to record ‘time only’ in the light of late crew changes, ensuring as many of his athletes as possible had the opportunity to practice on the Championship Course. Nonetheless, CUWBC returned with a win in the Intermediate 1 coxless four. He said, “The Fours Head provided great racing experience for the CUWBC squad last weekend. We changed the crews quite late and most of our crews raced as time only because of this. I was keen to see some new combinations and gather more information about our athletes and see what combinations were able to perform.”
Steve Trapmore, Head Coach at the Cambridge University Boat Club, indicated a period of continued competition for his squad in the coming weeks, hoping it will see his squad steal a march on his Boat Race rivals in Oxford: “The 4s HoRR always provides a good early season focus for the Boat Race. It was great to see our young Senior coxless four win their division. Both squads clearly have depth, particularly at the top end, but right now we are behind the curve in terms of direct comparison to Oxford. We know the steps we need to take over the coming months and with internal testing, GB Trials and the fight for seats at Trial Eights there is plenty of opportunity for the squad to move forwards.”
December’s Trial Eights was also the focus of attention for Oxford’s Head Coach Sean Bowden. He stated “Overall, we were pleased with the Four’s Head results. Preparation only really started 2 weeks ago and generally went well with the crews coming on over that time. Some illness and a few injuries caused us to have to come up with some changes and late combinations. Fitness was good and the standard of rowing was generally reasonably high for the time of year. We should be back to full strength very soon and look forward to a strong period of training culminating in our Trial Eights race.” The OUBC won the Elite coxed four event. With a little under a month until the Trial Eights races, the squads will look to begin their preparations in due course.
The BNY Mellon Boat Races will take place April 11th 2015 between Putney and Mortlake on the River Thames in London. The BNY Mellon Boat Race will begin at 5:50pm, whilst the Newton Women’s Boat Race will begin at 4:50pm.