Quintin Head 2023
Quintin Head was the first chance for ICBC’s 8s to test themselves against the 2022-23 competition. We had seven 8s racing: 3 senior men’s eights, 2 senior women’s eights, a novice men’s eight and a novice women’s eight. Each crew put in a solid performance, with 4 crews in the top 5 of their category.
Below are the thoughts of each racing crew on the day:
Women’s 1st 8 – 5th in W Champ, by Lizzie + Laura
Some last-minute dropouts From Harmed Athletes (FHA) meant that Laura and Lucinda stuck to what they do best (shouting their support – watch out Sasha!). Marshalling was broken up by Orla running into an old flame (or should we say a young one?) – she’ll be closely following the HRR racing this summer. Overall, the girls put in an impressive performance, coming 5th in Champ behind Leander, UL, Vesta and London.
Women’s 2nd 8 – 2nd in W Inter 2, by Yas
Having trained together for weeks beforehand, we were so ready for Quintin – just kidding, the crew was formed that morning, practice is overrated anyways! Speaking of overrating, Yas stuck to her own advice – “let’s just yeet it, yea?!” – and was unphased by losing her stroke coach, sticking to r44 all the way down the track.
Birthday girl, Nathalie, finally lost her tideway headrace virginity, but was not prepared for how stressful and cold the 2 hours of marshalling would be. It was rough, but they always say the second time will be better. Poor Amanda was victim to Nathalie’s chat, with an unfortunate comparison for the snood around her head. Bonnie contemplated running out of the boat and breaking into UL for the toilet, but decided she couldn’t be seen fraternising with the enemy.
With good vibes and a ‘sexy rhythm’ this 8 secured second place in Inter 2 – although we did mistakenly celebrate a win due to a dodgy results site, we won the hearts of the people and that makes us the real winners!
Men’s 1st 8 – 4th in Op Champ, by Zahir
Good morning aviators! Having had a good few weeks of training under our belts in the new year, and spurred on by a raft of 5k PBs earlier in the week, the men’s first eight were excited to put down a marker at the Quintin Head.
Following a difficult week on the water, the line-up was finalised the day before racing, with Commander Papworth being deployed into the 6 seat after Omar decided he didn’t fancy getting his blade in. The group was fresh, with 3 members making their debut in the first 8 (special mention goes to Josh Bateman - a graduate of last year’s novice intake). George toyed with the idea of sacking the race off the night before after his finger had a flirtatious tickle with a rigger, but in the end decided that he could row with a broken one.
We came in from the pre-paddle knowing we had made some progress, but realising we would need a stronger rhythm to carry us along the infamously lengthy Quintin course. Thankfully, the paddle up to the start demonstrated much improvement and sitting in the marshalling area we were ready to go (no penalties this time). Spirits were high and following a friendly chat with fellow kids who jump real high from London, we span and got going.
The race was a marked improvement from pieces in training, and despite some clear areas for improvement the rhythm was workable - now if only we knew how hard people were pulling (Zahir sends his apologies). Overall, a decent day in the office - back to the hot tub. Thanks to everyone who gave us a shout from the bridges or the bank - we could hear you all!
Men’s 2nd 8 – 5th in Op Senior, by Cass
After a long winter slog, the much-anticipated 2v was being forged in the depths of the erg dungeon. Admiral Tessa spearheading the charge into the first races of the year. The crew battled against the odds to find a coxswain able to take the reins of the mighty 2v. There was only one who could take such a job, Gabriel Cuaycong. Brought out of hibernation he instantly showed his prowess to take charge of the beast and with that the battle was set.
Pressure was building as rumours of competing crews started coming in, “Bristol have a sub 16-minute 5k average”, “UL have the GB men’s eight”. Yet this did not deter us. Despite the tension, we remained focused and relaxed, with four members relieving themselves on the start line using the team bottle.
As the final call for racing kit was made, we started to cross the start line - instantly we were on the tail of Exeter. Stubbornly they did not get out of the way and some persuasive vocabulary had to be used. Contact was made with Exeter just before Barns Bridge, leading to a fierce battle through the middle section of the race.
We pushed ourselves to the limit, maintaining a high pace and keeping the focus on the redline throughout the race. As we approached Hammersmith bridge, we knew the finish line was close, we took the rate up for a last ditch effort. Crossing the finish line, making sure we look good for the AllMarkOne paparazzi. After the finish line something magical occurred, paddling back from Harrods wharf the crew discovered some of the best paddling they have ever produced. Wouldn’t have looked out of place at the Olympics.
With the final result, we performed well, finishing as the 5th fastest university crew and 5th in the senior category. Giving the UL crews and the Bristol 1v a run for their money and beating 2nd crews from Molesey and top crews from Vesta.
Men’s 3rd 8 – 8th in Op Int 1, by Aksel
For the first term of this season the third 8 was not a very inspiring place to be. Anointed the ‘battle bus’, the rowing was lacklustre and it missed the focus and direction you’d expect from an ICBC senior racing crew. The leadup to Quintin head was not without its challenges. After the Christmas miles and land camp, we had a strong fitness base but due to weather conditions and cox shortages water time was sorely lacking. The Tuesday before Quintin was a real turning point. Our coxswain deficiency made it seem like another ergo was on the cards but after Pete agreed to let us take some coxless 4s out we had a cracking session, reminding everyone how enjoyable rowing really is for the first time in 2023 and reigniting the crew’s passion for the sport.
The fuse was lit.
By Thursday we had secured our coxswain and (for the first time) got to row in the racing line-up. By Saturday our race plan was written, warm up practiced and athletes dialled in to race.
We had the morning mapped out to the minute, now it just came down to execution. Pre paddle, warm up, nutrition, bow number, boating, marshalling, all perfectly as planned. Huge props to Sachi (who was very new to coxing but under expert guidance) for picking everything up so quickly and allowing us to feel well prepared for the race. The race itself was pretty uneventful. We settled onto a solid 33 spm and after a consistent middle third with no crew interactions there were some real fireworks from Hammersmith until about 100 metres after the finish line (oops).
That being said, I can genuinely say that I’m very proud of every member of the crew. After some very limited water time without a coach dedicated to our boat we had really come together as a team and produced a decent result – about 30 seconds off the second 8 with a cox steering the racing line for the first time and in rapid conditions. What started as the ‘battle bus’ had become an Imperial College Boat Club senior racing crew and the experience generated a huge amount of momentum going forwards, as evidenced by a cracking first session back on Tuesday. Quintin seemed like a real turning point in the season and I’m excited to see what’s in store for the mighty 3V members going forwards.
Novice Women’s 8 – 11th in W Dev
Novice Men’s 8 – 11th in Op Dev, by Martin
This was the novice men’s first race together and they placed middle of the pack. A last minute cox fortunately became available allowing the boat to compete and despite being a UCL alumni, the boat incurred a total of zero marshalling penalties. Passing under Hammersmith bridge, the crew almost overtook Bristol whilst sporting some truly photogenic facial expressions (especially towards bow). They ultimately finished 11th in their category.