Armed with a shiny new boat and four of the biggest boys at IC, the M4+ was by far the most intimidating crew at the regatta. Their first challenge for the day came in the heat, where an aggressive Kingston crew pushed our four to the 1k mark, however the old classic “ten big ones” call from Wilf enabled IC to push out to a clear water lead and cruise in to the finish. Sterner challenges lay ahead in the final. Despite a valiant effort, the boys couldn’t hold off a strong Molesey crew and finished in second place, ahead of Durham, featuring a disgruntled Oscar Lindsey.
With a new crew combination having just peeled the plastic off their brand new toy, the WC4- began their weekend in a stacked heat on Saturday, crossing the line 2nd, which seemed to set a good rhythm for the following weekend races. During the final, we sat in 5th place at the 1k marker but we slowly pushed back through the Thames boat and, with a surprisingly successful final 250m sprint, we edged ahead of Tideway Scullers by 0.3s, placing us 3rd overall. Sunday saw new competition and trickier crosswind conditions as we finished our heat in 2nd place, losing narrowly to UL(B). However, during the final, with a fairer lane and more determination, we went on to beat them by 11s and place 4th overall.
The coxless four arrived at MET Regatta with high hopes of an eagerly anticipated showdown with recent alumni Alex Ball. Unfortunately Alex had made the step up to championship pairs so he was unavailable to race, but the boys still faced hard competition from a strong Irish contingent. The four progressed well throughout their heat and, having remembered their sluggos, took a swim in the river with their heads above the water. In the final they lead until halfway but the speedy UCD lightweights regained the advantage with a good move through the middle. In response Ed Bentley and Ben Hambrook initiated the power phase, but unfortunately it was not enough. The boys finished in second place to begin a good weekend at Dorney.
The second men's Ch4+ had a late morning race, entering straight into a heat of seven crews. They had a fast start, gaining a couple of seats on the field in the first twenty strokes, however the two crews from Ireland started pushing ahead at the 500m mark. Making a push at halfway Imperial moved back on a couple of crews, although by this point Bath had also gained some distance and moved up to the right of Imperial. Putting in a strong sprint finish, the 4+ came 4th behind Bath's 4+ and the two crews from Ireland, unfortunately not quite making the final that afternoon.
After a second early start fuelled by Up and Go, the men’s eight was ready to hit the time trial hard for racing later in the day. A strong start led to an aggressive rhythm in a swirly crosswind; we came off the water to find ourselves sixth, a good result but definitely leaving room for improvement in the later races. For the semi final we found ourselves pitted against the top Oxford Brookes and Leander crews and a fast UCD crew alongside that we had battled in the fours on Saturday. Again, with free watts generated by some questionable fashion choices, we developed a fierce rhythm, reeling in Leander in the middle K, but dropping back off in the last 500 to leave some energy for the final. A quick change around to the final, with a half hour dip in the river, left the legs feeling sore, but the hearts full and ready for a battle with some top class crews. Another clean and steady start set us up well for moves through the second 500, drawing ahead of the Brookes crew that had pipped us in the TT. Ending with a fifth place finish left hunger for development in future races, but a feeling of accomplishment in some well put together racing.
The Sunday saw a slightly less experienced 3rd 8 line-up for the Challenge 8s format, in which the time trial was all-important to get us into the highest possible final. We came off our start and found a long rhythm with good power through the water, but were unfortunate to catch a buoy early on in the tricky crosswind, and we found ourselves just missing out on the EF semi-finals. We therefore went into the G final with a point to prove. Once again, we had a strong start and quickly established our position at the front of the pack. We executed a nicely profiled race, with a strong middle 1000m and an effective build from 500m to go, and took a satisfying win.