Women’s Eights Head of the River Race 2015 - W1

by Jessica Phillips on 18 March 2015


On Saturday 15th March, the 75th Women’s Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR) took place on the Tideway of the River Thames from Mortlake to Putney. The course is the same 6.8km or 4 and a quarter mile Championship Course of the Thames that has been made famous by  the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race (although they race it the other way around from Putney to Mortlake).

Approximately 300 crews from around the country (and even some international crews) took part in WEHoRR including a Team GB composite crew including olympic medal winners Katherine Grainger, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover.

For many of us in W1, it was our first time on the Tideway, so our first experience of possibly choppy waters and waves, but boating from Sons of the Thames gave us time to adapt to the river conditions while rowing to the start line. This eased our nerves and put us in a positive mind-set prior to the race.

We had a powerful start and settled at a controlled rate of 32 and for the first kilometre or so the weather was kind to us and conditions were fairly calm. After holding off Worcester RC they began to overtake us but for the entirety of the race we never let them get too far away. There were no other boats in sight behind us, so we had managed to push away from the crews behind. There were parts of the course where there were very strong winds and the water became a little choppy but the team pushed through it, with motivating calls from cox Gemma, and focused on each stroke pushing us closer to the finish line. Gemma had set out and executed a detailed race plan and steered brilliantly throughout the whole course. 

We completed the race in a time of 23 minutes and 16 seconds placing us 147th and in the top half of the 300 crews that entered. We were the 6th fastest Cambridge College at WEHoRR beating Sidney Sussex, Churchill, Caius, King’s, and Catz.

Rowing on the tideway was a great experience for the whole crew. We and our coach, Hannah Spry, were all really happy with our performance and the result. We look forward to seeing what results we can achieve in the races during Easter term.