If ever a crew needed to peak at the right time…

Prior to the actual race report I just wanted to put this race into context as perhaps on paper the verdicts in the run up to the final don’t best reflect the true efforts of what was actually achieved by the Vesta Intermediate 8+ winners of Henley Womens’ Regatta this year.

As Murray goes into the Wimbledon final this afternoon, with a secure route through and the knowledge he has beaten his opponent in the past, we were unfortunately not so lucky.  The mighty Lea RC had beaten us at every stage this season through Wallingford to Met Regatta and only looked even stronger coming into this event. Lea were the clear favourites to win the Club 8+ and deservedly so.

Race Morning:

If you have competed in a final at any level of competition you will know what it feels like to have the emotions, the fears and the doubts that creep into your head and that Sunday was no exception. We’d had a tough season, dogged by fatigue, illness and performance inconsistencies which at times led me to have doubts as to whether our performance on the day could be solid enough to win the competition.

Aside from the physical training an athlete endures, I truly believe this sport is by far one of the toughest and I sincerely take my hat off to all the athletes at Vesta and anyone at any level who commits themselves physically and mentally to an entire season of ergs, high mileage on the water and the torture of selection. I often get asked by my NRF (non rowing friends) WHY?? and sometimes question this myself, but ask any athlete, coxswain or coach and the answer will still be the same, “to win.”

 After beating City of Cambridge and Thames RC against the horrendous conditions in the quarters and semi finals  we knew the final meant we had to end ourselves, making sure we all physically knew what “rowing on the edge” felt like. Mentally it was a difference story…

No matter how prepared you are there could be one thing, just one small thing beyond your control that can change your outlook, mindset, alter your performance and ultimately change the outcome of your season entirely. This “one thing” for me came in the form of a conversation with an upriver coach that morning, he was frank but truthful; “I just don’t know, I’m going to be honest with you,  you really are going to need the race of your life to beat them.”

My doubts turned to determination to MTFU and give me belief that our training programme had given us every tool we needed to win.

The Final:

An absolute blinding start jumped us a quarter of a length ahead by the island, the key focus being to sustain the lead and do enough at the beginning of the race to dispose of our opposition from the outset. Lea were not going away. Undeterred by our quick lead they ploughed on to draw level. Vesta support in place at the Barn Bar, we sharpened up to get a canvas ahead to lead us into the enclosures.

Lea had dashed Thames RC’s hopes of a win in the Semi-final which meant that the mighty “Remenham Roar” was there in full force, just for us.

Level at the enclosures and spurred on by the most amazing wall of inter-club support, Lea managed to pull level and lead by quarter of a length.

I still get shivers as I recall the closing stages of the race. Everyone just about knows that one of the hardest parts of the Henley Womens’ Regatta course is coming out of the enclosures and into “no man’s land.” The support dies down and you’re on your own, just two logs; dead level and an extra battle of the mind to fight to make your log the fastest.

Still level, I will never forget this moment as I looked into the bows of our opposition, their huge enclosure push and semi-final dog fight with Thames had taken its toll. Fatally they had begun to forget about their legs and started to pull. I then knew then that we could win this.

200 metres to go it was do or lose: the call at UTR:  “girls, their heads are down, ours are NOT” “sit up and push, you can do this, NOW” our log moved through to take the canvas a last kick of adrenalin to push through, crossing the line victorious at 1/4 of a length.

– Rachael

Vets Open Summer Racing Season with Gold

Paul and Roy celebrate with an obligatory pint

Congratulations to Paul Mew and new member Roy Brook on winning Mas F 2x at Borne at Chiswick Regatta to claim the club’s first win of the summer. In Roy’s first ever regatta they defeated the home Mortlake  crew after a re-row. Rowing in heavy rain Vesta were behind on the start but came back and the crews were neck and neck when the race was stopped with 200m to go due to a huge wash from the rescue boat. The second race was very close but in the end Paul and Roy’s superior fitness showed and they won by a length.

It’s a double celebration for Roy who also won his category at the British and European Indoor Rowing Championship held at the NEC on 25th March. Roy finished first out of 19 to claim the 60 to 64 year old Hwt Mens category in a time of 6.50.0 which has put down a solid marker for the rest of the Masters squad.

To see the splits of the race, please click here (thanks Concept2!).

Quintin Head Round Up


Fastest Women from cox to bow, Julia Hedley, Kat Astley, Holly deGay, Caroline Newbury, Lara Brock, Stine Keyes, Kitty Lowings, Emma Dyson, Kat Hedges

The 2012 VIIIs Head Season began on Saturday 28th January with Quintin Head, raced from Chiswick to Harrods Wall. Vesta had a dominant showing with three Senior Women crews, one Dev Women crew, one Senior Men crew, and one Vet Men crew entered. All crews performed strongly, despite some blade clashes which made for harrowing rowing.

The senior women layed the marker for the months ahead, the girls won the Senior division and brought back the pennant for fastest women.  Having moved away from Barnes Bridge Ladies off the start, the race focused on chasing down the Elite boat of Durham University just in front.  Some brilliant coxing forced them way out of the racing line and Vesta eased past them just before Hammersmith Bridge (with the fabulous call ‘Move out of my way, I’m faster than you’), to finish 20 second ahead of them and the rest of the field.

The Dev Women raced what was for some of them not only their first ever rowing race, but also the first time to have rowed all the way up to (and back from!) Chiswick. Well done for a stellar performance!

Scullers Head Roundup

Vesta Senior Women triumph at the Vesta Scullers Head 

The 2011 Scullers Head Winners

The 2011 Vesta Scullers Head took place on Saturday, 3rd December. Vesta is the only club that single-handedly organises not one, but two of the major Tideway Heads – a feat made possible because of members and friends of the club members. Happily not put off by the cold conditions in 2010, we had 528 entries for the 2011 race, with 26 of our own Vesta entries. The event ran without (major) incident with only two crews “DNF”.

Once the dust had settled post-race, and event chairman Sinéad Hayes recovered from mental exhaustion, the winners were celebrated at a prizegiving held on 13th December. Sinéad once again pulled out all the stops to cater for the event in true rower style – i.e. fantastic canapés in vast volumes.

Tommy Thompson and event chairman Sinéad Hayes with winners Adam Freeman-Pask (Imperial) and Imogen Walsh (London RC) and their prizes

Event winners came from all over the UK and from far beyond. Bragging rights for best Tideway club were shared between Tideway Scullers and London Rowing Club with seven wins each. The fastest man and woman were both GB lightweights, Adam Freeman-Pask (21:09.0) and Imogen Walsh (22:35.9). In addition to the medals awarded by event, recast from the original 1953 prize, the fastest men and women received an exquisite scale model sculpture of a single scull cast in pewter.

The Vesta Senior Women’s Squad succeeded in three events, with lightweight Holly De Gay achieving the fastest time of all three despite starting at 521, when the sun was starting to set. The winners were as follows:

Two of Vesta’s winners, Kat Hedges and Holly De Gay, with Sinéad Hayes

Holly De Gay, W.IM3.LWT.1x (23:58.5)

Liz Crighton, W.IM2.1x (24:04.7)

Kat Hedges, W.MasA.1x (24:16.2)

For full results, please check out the Results Page by clicking here.

Even more hotly contested are the Vesta exclusive events, also known as “Dick’s Bar Prizes” (two bottles of cava and glory untold). The categories and winners for these events were:

1st man home: Jamie Halliday
1st male Master: Barry Clarke (… faster than Jamie after adjusting for handicap)
1st woman home: Holly De Gay
1st female Master: Kat Hedges

It is understood that the Cava was appropriately consumed and enjoyed following the Vesta Annual Dinner… an event for which no website write-up is required!

Words and pictures by Martha Kelly.

Summer 2011 Regatta Summary

With the three big Henleys out of the way, members of various Vesta squads have been busy enjoying the delights of the Great British Summer regatta circuit. The following are the Vesta wins recorded this summer.

  • The women’s development squad followed up a fantastic season with a win at Richmond Regatta in W.IM3 8+ (crew:  A. van Den Berg, S. Schorm, S. Barton, S. Head, S. Schlosser, V. Harvey, R. Withers, T. Hudson, V. Taylor (cox)).
  • CORRECTION: Kingston Regatta passed with a few entries and at least TWO wins:
  • o    Mas C 4- Peter Simpson, James Weatherstone, Fred Beaud, Bryan Williams beat Kingston GS Associates
  • o    Nov 2x James Ulner and Nico Russman
  • … Fortunately we were back on winning form at a rainy Molesey Regatta, with no less than four wins – all in sculling:
  • o   Gianni Galavotti finally popped his novice sculling cherry in style, with wins at both Nov 1x and IM3 1x
  • o   Athene McGregor-Macdonald and Natalie “Red” Demblon also lost their novice status, in the W.Nov 2x
  • o   Martha Kelly notched up a win in W.IM3 1x
  • Back in Henley-on-Thames (for Henley Town and Vistitors) Vesta claimed more silverware, this time with some help from our friends:
  • o   Emi Furuhata lost her novice status in the W.Nov 4+ in conjunction with HSBC RC
  • o   Kat Hedges defended her quad title in the W.IM2 4x with alma mater club Eton Excelsior.
  • And last but not least, in the Barnes and Mortlake Regatta, Mas C 2x was won by Peter Simpson and Frederic Beaud who beat Putney Town in the semi-final and Cygnet in the Final to win.

Well done Vesta! Now back to the ergos to prep for the new season ahead!!

Martha and Aga

Oops, they did it again!

hwrmedal
I am absolutely thrilled to report our senior women won the GP Jefferies Cup, the senior eights event at Henley Women’s Regatta beating Newcastle University by 3 1/2 lengths into second place in a fantastic performance yesterday afternoon. Our winners had previously beaten Queens University Belfast, University College Dublin, and Nereus (Netherlands) in the heats, and took no prisoners as they laid down an excellent time of 4 minutes 53 seconds in the final.

The winning crew were (B-S): Rahma Barclay, Alex Johnson, Kat Hedges, Vicky Williams, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More, Charlie Dempster, Emily Trant and Julia Hedley (coxswain), and are very ably coached by Matt Gilliver, James Parris and Paul Fitzwilliam. This is an incredible achievement, rewarding our girls and coaches for their huge amount of effort, patience, tenacity and humour over the past nine months.

Earlier in the weekend, Vesta was very well represented in the quarter finals of the Intermediate Club eights with our club crew losing by two lengths to the eventual winners, Thames Rowing Club, our lightweight coxless four losing to Marlow Rowing Club, and Ailsa Tremayne losing to London Rowing Club in the elite singles.

A Vesta Senior Women’s crew will now attempt to qualify for the Remenham Challenge Cup this Friday at Henley Royal Regatta, please come and support them along with the Vesta Senior Men’s Wyfold ‘B’ Entry

Paul Mew, National Masters Champion!

Vesta was represented by at the British Rowing National Masters Championships at Holme Pierrepont by the Masters D 4x of Peter Simpson, James Weatherstone, Robin Purkiss and Paul Mew, and by Paul in his single.

The quad finished in the pack in a competitive final but the highlight of the day was Paul winning the gold medal the Masters F IM 1x in his first multi-lane single final.

Photo: Purdey congratulates Paul on his win on the presentation raft.

pmew

Gold in Ghent (again!)

Following their impressive display at Wallingford last week, the Vesta girls took it one step further, dominating at the International Regatta in Ghent, Belgium.

Having come away with one Gold medal last year in the quads (see report here) the bar was raised through the roof this year with the squad having 8 Crews in Finals and coming away with 2 Bronze Medals, 2 Silvers and 1 Gold whilst setting a course record (6.51.10) and claiming the International Belgian Championship for Women’s Eights.

In an exciting race, Vesta A tore through Thames (who had beaten them in the heats earlier in the day) to clinch victory by 3 seconds in a well fought final.

ghent 8+ edit Belgian National Champions (L-R): Rahma Barclay, Alex Johnson, Helen Edwards, Vicky Williams, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More, Charlie Dempster, Emily Trant & Julia Hedley

Along with the victorious crew pictured above there were other medals in the form of:

Silver Medals for Emily Trant, Lara Brock, Vics McLeod-More & Charlie Dempster in the Women’s Coxless Fours.

Silver Medals for Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne & Charlie Dempster in the Women’s Quads (pictured below).

ghent 4x

Bronze Medals for Ailsa Tremayne in the Women’s Pairs on Saturday (pictured below).

ghent oz 2-

Bronze Medals for Kitty Lowings & Alex Johnson on Sunday in the Women’s Pairs on Sunday (pictured below).

ghent 2-

Amongst the medallists there were 8 crews that made finals, including two eights for the National W8+ Final which is a staggering acheivement.

Congratulations must go to the whole squad and coaches: Matt Gilliver, Paul Fitzwilliam and James Parris.

For full Vesta Results click here

International Gold in Ghent

The women’s squad had a successful weekend’s racing at the International Ghent May Regatta, qualifying for six finals against stiff international and domestic competition. The weekend was topped off by a win for the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner.

The senior women’s squad chunnelled and ferried over to sunny Ghent at the weekend for the 32nd International Belgian Championships for Seniors. Hopes were high after the wins at Wallingford, however the competition would be tougher since races at Ghent are open.

Saturday started well with the eight, quad, pair and double making it to their finals. Unfortunately with most people doubling up and all the finals being close together there were no medals to be had.

However everyone went into Sunday with renewed energy after the hotel’s great breakfast spread. The decision for Sunday was that no one would double up so it was just an eight, a quad and a coxless four racing. Both the quad and the coxless four made it into their finals with the coxless four putting in a strong performance unfortunately being pipped to the post for fourth place.

ghentwinedit

The final race of the day was the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner (pictured above) pitted against strong competition from Kingston and Imperial College (who had beaten them the day before). The commentator kept announcing that it was between Kingston and Vesta all the way down the course with Vesta having a half length lead the whole way. The supporters’ club were on the edge of their seats willing them on to stay in the lead. As they came into view they looked strong and maintained their position pushing through to win by a length to Kingston with Imperial College coming in third.

At Ghent the awards ceremony is accompanied by a regal fanfare of trumpets over the sound system, and the winning quad received, along with their medals, an impressive trophy of a blade painted in Sport Ghent colours. It’s now onwards and upwards to Metropolitan Regatta and Women’s Henley.