Senior Womens squad – winter report

Posted by Angela Watling | December 16, 2010

So, I am long overdue a report on the website, but better late than never! The Senior Women started the season with the arrival of Matt as our coach. We also welcomed Alex Gibson to the squad and welcomed back Amy full time after the arrival of little Fiona in May. Matt’s plan for us was to go back to basics and re-build our entire stroke whilst working at rate 20, which for us was a bit of a shock. But, we started doing it in the boat and on the erg. After a few weeks of adapting to the rate, everyone started to settle in. Initially the outings got worse instead of better, but with so many people working on improving individually, it was to be expected. However, by the beginning of October we were starting to make progress and get the occasional compliment from some of Broxbourne’s harsher critics!


At the start of October, we addressed Fours Head. The hope had been to get 3 crew, the entire squad, out racing. However due to various availability conflicts, we settled on a single WIM1 coxless fours crew of Sarah Gilliver, Lizzie Alexander and Alex Gibson who were joined by Rowan McKellar from the junior squad. The crew regularly got out on the water and worked very hard to get back accustomed to race ratings without losing their form. On race day, the girls came last in their division but, more importantly, they had a solid row where they kept holding the new technique Matt had taught us. This was the key objective of this race because we were only 10 weeks in to a new training programme. Well done girls – a great acheivement!


Whilst the other fours head crews didn’t quite come to fruition, two other squad members were keen to race still – Julia Burden and Charlotte Willett. So, they joined forces with Jane Taylor and Joanna Pardoe from the Intermediate Women to race a WIM3 coxed four at Veterans Fours Head. Despite being a fairly late forming crew, the quartet, along with their cox Will Taylor and their coach Stuart Burden, put in a lot of training effort and really got the boat moving by the time of the race. They also had a great race and came 9th out of 12 in their category. They were close to crews 7 and 8 though and may have placed higher if Charlotte hadn’t suffered a loose rigger bolt.


Since Fours and Vets Fours, the squad have continue to work on their weekly 30 min ergos and consolidating everything Matt has been teaching us about the stroke. A WIM1.8+ was due to race at Wallingford on Sunday 5 December. However, after all of the other Broxbourne crews scratched and with the horrible weather predicitions, the crew also scratched. The race was replaced by a 12k outing at the club with 4.5k at rate 33 in the middle. This was one of the few occassions we had done such a distance at a higher rate since September. The pieces, whilst not perfect, went really well and helped reassure many of us that we were indeed heading in the right direction.


So, slow and steady progress for the Senior Women for this part of the season. Despite suffering quite a lot of colds and other injuries, we have been making improvements on and off the water. We are now re-assessing where we are ready to re-focus for the New Year and Eights Head!

(p.s. If anyone has any Fours Head and Vets Head pics then send them to me so I can include them – ta!)

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