Over the Easter holiday, OUWBC will be running a development squad for students still in Oxford. Over the holiday, the focus will be on water sessions and looking to increase boat-moving ability. We're not looking for perfect techniques, massive ergo scores or huge girls - what's most important is enthusiasm and a desire to improve your rowing ability. For anyone who is remaining in Oxford over Easter, this would be a perfect way to get fitter and faster in preparation for Summer Eights. For those not in Oxford over the holidays we are planning to run a further development squad after Summer Eights. If you are interested please come to a meeting at Christ Church (Blue Boar Lecture Theatre) at 7:30pm Thursday 1st March or email Ellie Darlington.
At RUHORR, Osiris came away as winners of the IM2 8+ in a time of 16:01.08 over the 4.6km course downstream at Reading. That race in the morning saw them place 56th and as the second fastest women's 8+, finishing behind a Thames RC crew tipped to do very well at WeHORR the next weekend. Osiris were over 23 seconds faster than Thames RC B who finished 2nd in the IM2 category. That afternoon saw Osiris race the course in 16:03.1, the row itself feeling much better than the IM2 race in the morning. It's a shame they weren't fresh for the race, unlike the RUBC crew which walked away clear winners of the IM1; however, it was great to see how they fared next to Reading before some really productive match-racing with them the next day.
The 1900m course at Dorney for Thames Valley Trial Head was the last race entered by OUWBC before selection for the Blue Boat and Osiris was made. We put in very strong performances in the senior 8+, senior 4+ and IM3 4+ throughout the day, placing highly in the results table. The senior 8+ came 14th overall, winning their category, and being the fastest women's crew of the day with a time of 6:49.99. The senior 4+ came 194th (2nd in their category behind Wallingford RC), but a better row in the next division placed the IM3 4+ 132nd in a time of 7:39.22, beating Wallingford to become the fastest women's coxed four of the day.
In the upsettingly wee hours of January 2nd, a few days after returning from our Christmas break, we boarded a coach to Gatwick to embark on the adventure of a lifetime - OUWBC training camp 2012. We arrived in La France fairly exhausted after the journey, but after food, brief exploration of our accommodation - 'a bit like Center Parcs' - and once the excitement of living directly above our boats (extra time in bed is important!) had subsided, we got down to the task of re-rigging many boats and were soon pushing off for our first outing on the Lot.
Even when the weather turned against us we made the most out of it - a few days in we were faced with gale-force winds and dramatic white horses on the river, and a fast stream due to the open dam. Unfazed, we set out to conquer the elements and, despite squeals from the coxing seat of the bow-loading 4+ as waves broke over the boat, we battled on, enjoying the rare opportunity to try out white-water rafting for free. Even the girls in the 2- remained cheerful as they bailed out their rapidly-filling foot-wells between high-rate pieces. Fortunately there was calm after the storm and we had some warm and sunny weather for most of the camp, ideal to keep spirits high during some gruelling but productive seat-racing.
Mike decided it was a shame to be based on a 40km stretch of river and not make use of all of it, so an 8+ set out in the sunshine on a magical-mystery adventure row on the Monday, complete with a picnic of fine French bread and cheeses to have for lunch. The outing "redefined 'BOOM'" and the crew returned looking strong, with heads held high after their marathon paddle.
Other highlights of the camp included the 'Screaming Eagle' outing, inspired by some bizarre footage of an unorthodox technical exercise on YouTube, and the glamour and 'go-faster pigtails' of bad kit day. We ended the camp in style with some solid 2km pieces on the final morning, in fog as dense as a rower's thigh. An eight and two fours rowed the course twice, with the eight giving a great performance and beating some OUL crews in a side-by-side race in the last piece.
The Screaming Eagle
Go Faster Pigtails
Although ten days of doing nothing but rowing, eating, sleeping and occasionally lifting a pen to do some work (or play OUBC Pictionary) might have sounded like a long time initially, the camp sped by once we got into a routine. We had three outings each day: at 7.45am, 11am and 3pm, many in small boats as well as in fours and eights. The training was intense but there was always a fun atmosphere, and plenty of fooling around at meal times and games in the common room. By the end of camp, we were all surprised by how much we had achieved, individually and as a group, and how productive and enjoyable the camp had been. As well as feeling like our rowing had improved, our already close squad was even better bonded by the end of the ten days, and on the 11th January we were all sad to return to Oxford and the impositions of 'real-life'.
Bad Kit Day
After ten days of non-stop training, three days of seat-racing, a 40km jaunt up and down the Lot, 2km racing in fog-soup and exposure to innovative culinary delights beyond one's wildest dreams, several things were confirmed in our minds: that OUWBC have an unreasonable capacity for having fun, that we can make boats go pretty 'darn' quickly, and that one should not cover hard-boiled eggs in spinach and present it as a meal.
2km race vs OULRC
Thank you to our sponsors, Newton. And to Crewroom for making our kit!
OUW raced a four and an eight in both divisions of Wallingford Head. Comfortable on our home stretch, the 4+ won the W.IM1 category, and the 8+ narrowly missed out on a win after getting involved in a pile-up with some J15 8s, coming second to Agecroft by only 1 second. The afternoon division also saw some strong racing from both crews, finishing with respectable results after strong rows over the windy 4k course.
OUW fielded two crews in Fours Head, the first opportunity to race against Cambridge for the season. Oxford's Osiris W.IM1 4+ crew finished third in their division, while the Osiris W.IM2 4+ finished eighth. Four's Head is the first race of the year in which Oxford meet Camrbidge - and results suggest that the Boat Race is going to be hard-fought this year!
Osiris A: Jon Beckett, Lotti Trigle, Jo Lee, Ellie Darlington, Annika Bruger
UTRC's regatta in Henley-on-Thames was the first opportunity that the 2011-12 squad have had to race together. With thanks to valuable support from Newton Investment Management, Osiris entered six crews on the day.
Osiris A and B placed in second and third positions in the W.IM1 4+ category, with Osiris A just two seconds behind a strong Reading University crew. In the afternoon, Osiris placed second in W.SEN 4+ and sixth and seventh in the W.IM2 4+ category. In addition to being well-fought races, the mild conditions provided a good chance to look at how different racing combinations might start to come together in preparation for Fours Head.