Henley Update #2: Silver at Marlow Regatta
Posted June 20, 2011
The following update was provided by Boys Varsity Crew Coach Lindsay Brown. The Boys Varsity 8 is training in England gearing up for the Henley Royal Regatta taking place June 29 - July 3. You can follow their adventures via updates from Morgan Scoville '00 on Twitter.
I have finished a delicious dinner provided by our host here in Henley, and it has been a long and productive day. The boys raced today at the Marlow Regatta, and it was a big adventure from start to finish. For Morgan and me, the toughest part of the day was driving the vans to the racecourse safely – we each assigned one boy to ride up front with us and tell us at every intersection and roundabout, “Stay to the left!” “Look right!” “Stay in the left lane!” We managed to get to the course safely, locate our boats, which had been transported there the night before, rig them up, and get ready to race. The 8 had a heat of 4 with 3 to qualify for the finals. The boys raced very well and finished second to Eton. This was the Eton boat that won the British Schoolboy championship a couple of weeks ago, so we were pleased that we were close with them. Club and university crews were in our event as well as the fast high school boats, so it was a very competitive field.
Normally we have a difficult time with this regatta because we are still struggling with jetlag and not yet fully used to the equipment we’ve rented. These boys have been remarkably resilient, and I’ve gotten wiser over the years about how to best arrange the trip. We did not take any hard strokes until Friday morning. We therefore entered this race today without a proper lead-up or taper. We were just looking forward to a good race and the chance to see some of the teams we will face at the Henley Regatta. An added benefit of the Marlow race is the venue. It’s held on Dorney Lake, which is where the 2012 Olympic rowing events will be. So the boys will be able to watch the Olympics and tell everyone, “I’ve raced there!”
The pair event had only 5 teams, so our pair had just one race – the final. There was no high school pair event, so they had to race in the “senior” division against university and very experienced club teams. The goal for them was to complete their first 2,000 meter race, steer a straight course, row well, and have fun. They had a good warm-up, made it to the start, latched on, and then one of their oars popped out of the oarlock and they flipped right there before the race even started. After getting their boat turned over and emptying it of water, the official asked, “Do you still want to race?” They said, “Of course!” and so they got back in and had a good, solid row down the course. They impressed me with their good spirits, and they have a tale to tell for the rest of their lives!
The 8 launched for their race just as the pair was finishing, and not too long after, the rain started pouring down. It was miserable! The boys were cold and numb by the time they started, but so was everyone else. They had a good start, and Radley College (a top British high school team), jumped to a lead they would never relinquish. St. Andrew’s matched Eton all the way down the course and then sprinted and put their bow ahead for a second place finish. This is the best I’ve seen SAS do in this particular regatta. Eton was very upset since they had beaten Radley just a few weeks earlier. To me, it looks like we are among a top group of crews who all have chance of doing very well at Henley.
We will have an easy day tomorrow, and then get back to hard work on Monday. Our plan is to row early Monday morning, and then we will pack up and go visit Shrewsbury School. The coach there is a friend, and he is going to host our group for two nights. We will practice with Shrewsbury, and go sightseeing in the area. My friend tells me there are many Roman ruins and old castles in the area that are fun to visit, as well as beautiful gardens (but he tells me that teenage boys tend to find gardens boring, so he doesn’t recommend them as a destination for us!).
That’s the update for now. Thanks for all your support of our crew!
Previous Update: #1 Wheels down in England, Oars in the Thames
Next Update: #3 Shrewsbury School, Sprint Tuneup