|13 May 2021|
On 25th April, my twin sister Gemma and I raced in the Blondie crew (reserve Boat Race) for Cambridge. We had only been training as a full crew for a few weeks prior to the race due to the national lockdown for Covid-19, having spent the previous months land training by ourselves (but often training over zoom calls to keep the squad ‘together’).
It was tough training at home, with countless long erg (rowing machine) sessions, bikes, runs and S&C (strength & conditioning), but it definitely helped to improve our fitness and put us in good stead getting back to Cambridge.
On our return to the water, it was a great feeling to see everyone in person again and we were very quick to pick up from where we had left off. It was an extra challenge to complete selection and prepare to race within the space of only a few weeks, however I think this gave us a drive to commit to improving every session and it soon felt like we had never had the long break!
On race day the overwhelming feeling was that of excitement just to finally be able to race - the boat had been going well in training so we were confident going into the race, however we were obviously nervous as we had no idea what to expect from the Oxford crew.
There was a reasonably strong cross-headwind so we were prepared for a pretty challenging, long race, however we managed to get ahead of Oxford off the start and just continued to push away down the course. Crossing the line as the winners was incredible and really made every tough session and early morning (5am wake-up!) worthwhile.
We’re hoping to race more over the summer at races such as BUCS (British Universities Championships) and Henley, and are also trialling for the GB U23 lightweight rowing team so have plenty of things to focus on for training! We also have our 3rd year exams (Biological Natural Sciences) and are hoping to continue for a 4th year masters course afterwards.
Balancing work with training can sometimes be challenging, however I’ve always been pretty organised and find that it is a great way to break up the day. Even at LEH I was a member of multiple sport and music groups, filling all my time before school, lunch and after school with as many extra-curricular activities as I could! We’re looking forward to hopefully trialling again next year in what might be a more ‘normal’ year (fingers crossed).
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