3 July 2013

An update from Andrew Halls, OA 2012

The last few days of preparation for the Regatta took place in Henley on the course. With the help of 1st VIII coach Dave Currie, kindly taking time out to give us a few last minute tips for a session while 'Head' Coach Aaron O'Dell was out of the country, with Athol Hundermark advising, the boat picked up more and more pace into the start of the Regatta. This was proven during some highly competitive and unique practice pieces against the 1st VIII, both to give vital race experience to the School VIII and to bring us more together as a crew, which was enjoyed by both teams (see earlier video).

Fuelled by some delicious food,  including meat from crew member Joe Calnan's family butchers business along with mountains of pasta, the crew woke up at 6 am on Wednesday morning and headed down to the course for a pre-race paddle, in order to wake up and be ready for the early race time. Alert and raring to finally get racing, the crew headed down to the start to race Upper Thames 'B' who would be racing on their home water. A blistering and surprisingly clean start allowed us to pull out to a length ahead at the ¼ mile, moving well. At the Barrier, we had eased out to a length of clear water and were fully in control, which allowed us to think about trying to save as much energy for further on in the heats. This meant that we were able to step down to a lower rate, while still making sure we steadily drew away and didn't get caught up in Upper Thames' sprint into the finish, crossing the line 3½ lengths ahead. The early race time did have its advantage – we were able to relax and refuel for the race the following day, while the other crews were racing hard. Next up is a very large Vesta crew with half a stone a man on us, but the crew has confidence we will be able to progress.

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