FABULOUS FRESHMEN FOUR: Class of 2014
Compliments of the Fabulously Fresh Four (Class of 2014)
Saturday marked the day that the first WPI Women raced overseas. Our race was several hours before the eight’s, so naturally, we left for Reading much earlier. We sent our boat down to Reading in shifts. Coach’s driving has greatly improved. The weather was chilly, but nice in the morning, which we would later appreciate. The race course was a bit hectic, but we got the hang of the British system quite quickly. Because we were on the Thames, there was also large boat traffic right next to the racing. We were a bit strapped for time, but we made it safely to the starting line. In place of stake boats, were little tiny row boats that had children in them to hold the shells in place. The officials attempted to start the race before we were actually locked on to the “stake boat”. Although we did not advance to the next round, the grand winner raced a total of four times, that race was the best the four has ever moved together. The remainder of the day decided to pour while we watched races and explored the course. We noticed that few dogs stay on leashes, yet are completely obedient to their owners. We saw one dog running along side a race, continuously checking to make sure he was still winning. He was the obvious winner. We learned to watch out for bikes chasing boats down the course, as they do not stop. One coach was racing down the path while recording his boat and had little time to watch for pedestrians. We cheered on the eight as they raced past, regardless that we could not feel our extremities.
Sunday began with a similar process, but the rain had already started in on us. Also, Coach decided that standing in the rain all day was not the best idea for athletes preparing for a day of racing, and had a hotel room for the team to hang out in. We warmed up in a luxurious gym that was complete with a spa and many running, elliptical, cross country skiing, and “ergo” machines. Our first race of day was against Maidenhead B, who we defeated, bringing in the first winning race in the history of WPI Women’s Rowing over seas. The opposing team had wonderful sportsmanship and followed the British tradition of giving the other team three cheers. “ Hip! Hip!” says the coxswain, who the rowers respond to with, “Hooray!” which is thrice repeated. Being the Americans that we are, we embraced their custom, falling slightly short with two cheers for Maidenhead… or York…because that’s who we were told we were racing… It was a valiant effort, nonetheless. We spent the next few hours in the room plotting our next race and watching British television. We then ventured out into the elements for our second race. We spoke with our next opponents, Maidenhead A, while waiting to be called up to the start line. They were all very sweet and between the ages of 25 and 45. We also had a word with the officials who welcomed us to the lovely English summers of rain every hour at the least. “Now you know why none of us have tans” was the explanation we received. The race started, we pulled hard, but were unable to beat the crew we were up against. Again, all very courteous, but all were very seasoned rowers. Our novice four aspires to be able to row at that level. The remainder of the day was spent staying warm and dry before we watched the eight’s final race. Shortly after, we packed the boats onto the trailer. Which seemed a better alternative to rowing back down the Thames in the elements. We did, however experience for the first time, the English bus system. All of the sudden, Coach’s driving seems safe. Needless to say the bus driving believed he owned the road, and nothing would stop him. Over all, a very informative weekend on how racing works in the UK and we are looking forward to the Women’s Henley this coming weekend.
PHOTOS THANKS TO COACH PAT
PHOTOS THANKS TO COACH PAT