Easy by 0.6 seconds. Well rowed both crews.”Easy defeated Quick in a race to the line on the Henley course Sunday afternoon. Both Oxford University Women’s crews crossed the finish and waited for Umpire Matthew Pinsent to deliver his verdict: ”Easy by 0.6 seconds. Well rowed both crews.”
The racing intensity demonstrated as much about the determination of the Oxford coxswains as it did about the athletes’ desire to earn the win. While the crews were aligned in a floating start, a very fast stream through Henley Bridge pushed Quick toward Phyliis Court in the Bucks station forcing Olivia Cleary to steer Quick back into the center of the course when the Umpire dropped his flag. Sonya Milanova also maneuvered for Easy’s best straight line toward Temple Island, and off the start Easy took the lead with an advantage of six seats.
At base speed, both crews established a solid rhythm. Maxie Scheske dialed into 34.5 in the stroke seat of Easy, while Mary Foord Weston steadily drove Quick at 34. 500m into the race, Easy maintained their margin of six seats.
With 700m to go, Easy tried to increase their lead, but Quick found their stride and narrowed the margin to 1/3 of a length. At the Barrier, Quick pushed to 35.5 and began driving to the line, taking advantage of the Bucks station stream.
As both crews neared the Temple, Quick’s rhythm suggested they would overtake Easy, but with 100m to go, Easy sharpened their blade work, maintained their rate of 35 and edged their bow back out in front to win by a canvas.
Four former Blues were distributed evenly in the matched crews for Oxford – Annika Bruger joined Mary Foord Weston in Quick, while Harriet Keane and Ellie Darlington raced in Easy.
As they continue their preparations for the Boat Race at Henley on March 24, the Oxford Women now look forward to a winter training camp in Sabaudia, Italy while teammates Maxie Scheske and Anastasia Chitty, six seat of Easy today, will prepare for racing as part of a British team set to compete at the Australian Youth Olympics. Scheske will stroke the Lightweight Women’s Double and will also race in the quad and eight, while Chitty will race in the pair, coxless four and eight, with regatta Finals scheduled for January 19th and 20th in Sydney.