Regatta Stories:
a Novice’s Chiswick experience

Chiswick was my first race on the Thames and the first time I’ve got into a boat with my wellies on. I was racing in a novice 4 at 11am and an IM3 at 5pm so we were hoping to win the first race which would take us through to further knockout stages to fill that time. Chiswick is all the way over in west London which meant an early start, however the boathouse is on a beautiful part of the Thames and leather sofas, scones and tea at 9am were worth the trip.

Nick Mather (cox), Jimmy Barratt (Bow), Simon Kinneir, Colin Baker, Andy Larkin (stroke)

Nick Mather (cox), Jimmy Barratt (bow), Simon Kinneir, Colin Baker, Andy Larkin (stroke)

The rest of the crew arrived shortly after and we duly rigged the boat, leaned into some stretches and discussed our race plan. Unfortunately we were beaten but can take plenty of positives from the race, the first is experience. We are in a crew called ‘Learn2Race’ and that’s exactly what we were doing, for one of our crew it was their first regatta, it was my first race on the Thames, it’s waves, tide and unpredictable splashes. For the other two chaps it was another chance to feel the adrenalin at the start, the rush of the “go!” and the burn on the legs 500m in. Lessons learnt in technique and composure that can only be tested in race conditions.

At 5pm we had another chance, swapping out one crew member for a more experienced rower who already had a point which qualified us for the IM3 class. The tide had changed by this time so the course was reversed and we set off expectant and determined. On the way up we all were caught by the wash of a motor cruiser, so we were keen to keep warm and moving. Despite a good start and remaining in contention for the first 600m we lost ground over the final third. However, a talk from our coach after the race encouraged us, we had discover areas to really concentrate on in training that if we get right should significantly improve our time.

So, two losses but a day spent with good friends and we are all even more determined to get that win in our next regatta.

Congratulations to the women novice 8 who won and all went home with shining pots and huge smiles.

Andy (right) on leather sofa!

Andy (right) on leather sofa!

Andy Larkin

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