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  • Writer's pictureImperial College Boat Club

Women's Head 2023

The Women's Head of the River was a great chance for our women's squad to compete amongst over 300 women's crews over the Championship Course. Despite some unfortunate struggles with illness and injury, we had three eights racing, two senior and one novice. It's exciting that we are continuing to get more women's crews competing each season. Our top student eight finishing in the top 20 for the second season running amongst some outstanding crews was a fantastic achievement!

IC 'A'- 18th Overall

With the biggest event in the women’s head race calendar, the women were ready to make their mark on the tideway. Being number 14 meant we didn’t marshal for long and before we knew it the race was underway and the 20-minute paincave was impending- never has the row between Chiswick and Barnes Bridge felt so long. We had a good build off the start and settled onto a nice, strong rhythm that we held nicely throughout the race – stroked by the rowing legend Miss Elizabeth GB Witt herself. Unfortunately, due to a back injury captain Lucinda couldn’t row with us. Thankfully Alice, whose rowing career is equivalent in age to that of a 5-month baby, stepped in and did an absolutely fantastic job. Aoife’s fans came to support the gals. Passing Hammersmith bridge, the loud IC cheers from above fuelled us into the last push, unfortunately the bridge marks more than 2k to go so this quickly turned into a ‘reset focus’ call from Sasha to get us all back onto that sustainable rhythm! As we passed ICBC our final push could begin and with the cheers from the boathouse, we were ready to empty the tank! With captain Lucinda livestreaming the whole event from the boathouse, we could feel the deafening support from the club and yeeted it to the finish. Coming 18th overall was a massive accomplishment from the women and just shows the sheer strength we have in both our senior and novice crews. With 2K season fast approaching this is only the beginning for the IC women!

IC 'B'- 126th

In typical second women’s 8 style, the first time the crew had rowed together was the day of the race. Due to injuries and medical issues we were a couple of women short, but Amanda who hadn’t rowed since before Christmas, and Ella from the novice women’s squad, jumped right in to save the day! Despite the last minute changes, the crew went out with positive vibes and lots of enthusiasm to race. The paddle down to the start line was interrupted by the novice women who had lost one of the bolts on their boat. Luckily Zahir called Johnny who was able to sort them out. The brief interruption resulted in power strokes all the way to the marshalling zone to prevent time penalties! We made it with a minute to spare. After only half an hour of marshalling we spun and prepared ourselves for the next 20 minutes of pain. Flying out from under Chiswick Bridge we settled into a chunky rhythm. A couple of boats behind us started to gain on us, but we knew we were holding back ready to send it at Hammersmith Bridge. Here, the excited cheers and whoops from IC supporters fuelled the boat to step up on the power. With 2k to go our legs were really starting to feel it. Eventually we reached IC and Zahir called for a final push to the pier. With our lungs burning we sprinted right to the line. It may not have been the fastest time but a great race nonetheless!

IC 'C' (novices)- 287th

The novice crew started off strong however, before even reaching the start line, we were down a few key pieces of the boat. A special thanks must be made for Nathan, who cycled all the way to the boat only to watch someone else beat him by giving the necessary nuts to us whilst he was putting his bike down. Eventually we made it to the start line- against all the odds we were ready to race and give it our all. Having all agreed to set of at a steady 26, we started off at 28 and very quickly found ourselves at 30. Amazingly we managed to keep up the high rate until crossing the finish line. There was a buzz in the changing room afterwards as we looked at our time and were over a minute quicker than what Pete had suggested. Although we may not have won, the improvement from BUCS and Quintin Head was phenomenal and we are not done yet. Bring on regatta season!

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