Vesta Men win Senior 2- at Pairs Head

This year’s Pairs Head brought a rainy, windy, and pretty grim start to the Tideway Head Season. However, the Vesta rowers were eager to race, delivering a strong performance and a solid start to the season.

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

Harry Bond and Si Woodfine racing Senior 2- to a pennant win at Pairs Head 2013

The crew to watch was the senior men’s pair, stroked by Si Woodfine and steered by Harry Bond, who raced aggressively and won the Senior 2- Pennant.  Their finishing time of 12:31.46 also placed them as the overall fourth fastest pair in the Head.  Richard Lear and Robbie Hynes raced in IM2 2-, and narrowly lost out on the pennant win by 0.2s to Cardiff City, in a time of 13:18.71.  Vesta newcomers, Louis Marengo and Tom Hayward comprised another IM2 2-, finishing the race in 13:52.35.  The only senior men brave enough to race in the double were Rob Shaw and Richard Stebbings, who raced IM3 2x in a time of 13:12.34. The senior men are coached by Nick Ireland, Matt Pierpoint, Andrew MacMillan and Morgan Bailey.

The Vets had three crews entered in the Masters categories. Michael Maynard and Peter Dudley raced MasC2x in a time of 14:46.45, narrowly beating the other Vesta MasC2x crew of Bryan Williams and Jonathan Davies who finished in 14:48.63. The ladies W.MasC2x of Paula Cardwell and Zena Howard finished in 15:40.46.

The senior women had one crew stroked by Jess Smith and steered by Lizzie Ingram, who raced W.Sen2- for time only due to last minute changes. The crew of Anna Brown and Kat Hedges had to scratch due to a broken finger.

The full results can be found by clicking here. A very big congrats to the winners and all the racing crews. Here’s to some hard training ahead of Scullers Head and Fours Head next month!

Dates for the diary

Now that the season is upon us, it’s time to get those all important racing and social events firmly planted in everyone’s diaries.

Races

  • Reading Small Boats Head – 5th October
  • Pairs Head – 13th October, 11:15 – The bar will be open all day and there will be food. So come down and support our crews!
  • Upper Thames Fours & Small Boats Head – 27th October
  • Vesta Scullers Head – 16th November, 14:15 – One of the biggest days in the club calendar. Please come down and support and help if you can by donating some sandwiches or cakes, or helping out behind the bar.
  • Fours Head – 30th November, 13:00 – The bar will be open all day and there will be hot food. So come down and support our crews!
  • Remenham Challenge Head – 14th December, 13:15 – We are defending champions in the men’s intermediate and novice categories!
  • Quintin Head – 25th January
  • Henley 4s & 8s Head – 15th February
  • Reading University Head – 1st March
  • Hammersmith Women’s Head – 9th March
  • Women’s Eights Head – 15th March, 15:30 – Defending club champions!!!
  • Hammersmith Head – 16th March
  • Kingston Head – 22nd March
  • Head of the River race – 29th March, 14:15
  • Vesta Veterans Head – 30th March, 10:30

Social Events

  • Fours Head party – 30th November
  • Annual Dinner – 31st January
  • Women’s Dinner – 22nd March

Results are up from the weekend!

[meteor_slideshow slideshow=”vesta-at-wallingford”]

It was a fine bank holiday weekend for racing practice ( and ice cream and bbqs!) at Chiswick Amateur and Wallingford @ Dorney Lake. The club results page has now been updated. (I’m still waiting for the Hammersmith results to be posted by the way…)

At Wallingford Vesta had some very strong results in the men’s coxless four coming 2nd overall in a very large and competitive field. Well done guys! Our two women scullers also performed encouragingly with a 2nd and 3rd place in the  single scull and, after their gruelling races there, a good performance in their double. The senior ladies’ crews mainly decided to continue training and not race given the lack of competition in their preferred events, But our men’s squad and intermediate women’s crews did go out and give it their all down the 2000m  for the first time this year. Well done!

 

Summer kit ordering ends THURSDAY 25th April

With training camps and Easter out of the way, sights are now firmly set on the up and coming regatta season.
A kit ordering window is now open so that you can top up on your VRC lycra stocks. Please note the JL lycra is the club’s official kit and is what those racing should wear as, it uses the correct shade of Vesta crimson.
Window open: NOW
Window closes: 25/04/13 (midnight)
Delivery: Before Met Regatta
Login: vestarc
Password: blackstaff
If you have new members who have joined your squad please forward this message on to them, as they may not yet be signed up to the mailing lists.
Thanks
deckchair

Results update

Vesta Elite women dig deep!

Vesta Elite Women dig deep!

A slightly belated post to let you know that the results from Quintin and Remenham Heads are on the website Results page. The club has been doing well lately. At Quintin our ladies were the 2nd fastest women’s crew and the men came 2nd in IM1, 10th overall.

Next weekend is Henley Fours and Eights Head so more racing action is on the horizon!

I am looking for roving reporters to post more about how our crews are faring, so if you’d like to pen a few lines (and it really doesn’t have to be much) please do! Just drop me (Cheryl) a line at comms@vestarowing.co.uk. Thanks!

Order Vesta kit now

kit2The start of January means colder weather and head races on the horizon…time to stock up with even more kit then!
 
Crewroom/JL Kit Ordering Window
The Crewroom ordering window is open now! If you missed out last time on getting racing kit then now is your chance. Please note the JL lycra is the club’s official kit and is what those racing should wear as, it uses the correct shade of Vesta crimson.
 
Window opens: 03/01/13
Window closes: 13/01/13
Delivery: Before Henley Fours & Eights Head (16th Feb)
 
Login: vestarc
Password: blackstaff
 
This is the last opportunity to order kit before women’s/men’s HORR and training camps. The next window will open soon after we all get back in prep for the summer regatta season.
 

For more kit information see our kit page

Bittersweet HRR

Henley Royal Regatta means different things to different people. For some it is a social event involving nice hats and daytime drinking with people in boats in the background. For others it is an annual opportunity to catch up with old crew mates and support friends and family who are racing.

For us it is the pinnacle of a year’s training and preparation.

Just to qualify to race is a challenge in itself, one that many crews fail to achieve despite hours slogging on ergos and many cold mornings down on the river. This year, the achievements of the Vesta men throughout the year were recognised by the Stewards, who pre-qualified both the Wyfold 4- and the Thames Cup 8+ crews.

The phrase “luck of the draw” has never rung so true as it did in the Henley Town Hall this year. Both the Wyfold coxless four and the Thames Cup eight were drawn against seeded crews. It is a huge knock to a squad’s morale to know that you will not face one of the many crews in the event that you have comfortably beaten all year, or even those with whom you’ve had close races. Instead you must race a crew who has all the statistics on their side. Despite this, both crews continued to train hard down the Henley course in the days preceding the first day of racing, ready to put up one hell of a fight on race day.

At 9am on Wednesday, the eight faced Upper Thames, one of the four seeded crews in the 32 strong Thames Cup. The Vesta boys went off the start with fire in their legs, giving Upper Thames a fright and taking a small lead in the first 20 strokes. Unfortunately as the two crews hit their race pace, the Upper Thames boys moved through and took a comfortable lead. Nonetheless, Vesta fought to the line, with a powerful push in response to the “Remenham Roar.” They came across the line, gracious losers to an elite crew.

A few hours later, the coxless four faced London A in the Wyfolds, again one of the four seeds in the event. They put their foot to the floor and gave everything to try and get themselves a race on Thursday. The London boys took the lead, but like the eight, the Vesta four fought to the line, never ones to back down easily.

Both crews commiserated the results together, a united squad, but also celebrated the successes of the year. Many of the squad will be returning in the autumn, ready to do it all again, hungry for the results they deserve.

– Morgan

Dev Girls take HWR by Storm

As the Int4+ woke up on Friday morning to “Eye of the Tiger” pumping through the speakers Vanessa Ibbett, Sam Bowman, Briony Martin, Niamh Murphy O’Connor and Celeste Boruvka all felt the understandable nerves of a development squad going to their very first Henley experience.

The slightly stressful journey to Henley in rush hour traffic did little to ease the nerves even with Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry about a Thing” blaring. On arrival at Remenham, with only 20 minutes to rig our boat and change, our plan to take our time rigging and getting ready went out the window.

With heart rates running faster than mice, we got out on the water and were hit with gusts of wind and a very fast stream. A failed attempt to enter the umpire zone to have our boat checked and a sticky situation with an Empacher 8 later, we were on our way to the start line. Due to the bad weather only the top 8 boats were to qualify which put even more pressure on us, but a pre race pep talk with James, Bevan and Verity assured us they had every faith we could do it and our row up to the start gave us the chance to shut off and get in the zone.

After a shaky start we fell in to a strong rhythm and dug deep – with no other boats in sight we had no way of telling how well we were doing but we worked together with Celeste expertly taking us down the course to qualify in the top 8!! The news brought tears, hugging and massive smiles all round. Not only had we qualified but our quarter final put us against Thames’ IM2 boat – what a race that would be!

We spent the few hours we had eating, napping and inevitably going to the toilet a million times! – But this was it, we were officially qualifiers in Women’s Henley and there was only Thames in our way to the semis.

Our pep talk with the coaches reminded us that we were in our element – “the conditions are perfect for ‘bigger’ girls” (…lucky we aren’t sensitive!) We were hit with what can only be described as gale force winds and rain as we got on the water and realised this was going to be a tough one. We just had to remember we’d done it once that day, we could do it again.

We nervously attached on to the stake boat with surprising ease (anyone whose seen us at the start of other regattas would know this isn’t our strongest manoeuvre!) After the traditional re-enactment of the “True Blue” touching of shoulders, we were called to attention and were off. As we anticipated, they were faster off the start, but we didn’t let it phase us and got in to our rhythm quickly. The wind was halting us at each stroke, but we kept pushing and working together. At 500m a quick glance across saw our stroke sitting equal with Thames’ bow – we were rowing through them! Celeste’s call for clear water was answered and by 1000m we had a clear lead. The last 500m were arguably the hardest any of us has rowed – it felt like the wind was pushing us back up the course! We maintained our steady rhythm and gained a 5 length lead on Thames and were rewarded with an “easily” verdict when we FINALLY crossed the finish line. As we came in to land, James and Bevan were smiling like proud Dads – we were in the semi finals!

A much needed day off was had on Saturday and on Sunday we were back in Henley and ready to race again. We had achieved more than we ever imagined, but we now wanted to prove we could go all the way. With weather conditions considerably improved, we got on the water and paddled up to the start with Mortlake (our opposition) closely following. We managed yet again to get on to the start relatively pain free and came to attention. They took us off the start as again was anticipated, but we managed to get in to our strong rhythm. Unfortunately every call Celeste made to take them was matched by them and they held us off by a length. We fought hard, but they eventually crossed the line with a 2 length lead. Although it would have been great to make it to the final, we are really proud of what we achieved and had an amazing experience. Roll on next year!

– Vanessa

Vesta Women’s Elite 8+ vs the Americans

Buoyed by the success at Reading, the stage was set for Vesta vs. Bucknell 2 – the sequel.

Conditions were tough but the Elite 8+ was strengthened by the return of the super-sub Ailsa “Tremendous” Tremayne and we were raring to go. Brock Snr had another shot at the illusive rate 50….

The row up to the start was over in a flash, due to the strong wind and even stronger stream. And after the customary banter with the marshal on the bank about the awesomeness of the Vesta Bar, including said marshal telling our opposition we were a bunch of alcoholics (“hic”) we were on to the stake boats.

Bucks was tough, a strong stream was pulling us onto the Island and there was some excellent tapping on from bowside to stay straight. The umpire seemed to be in a hurry and despite my hand still being up we were off.

It soon became clear that Bucknell had spent the last week practicing their starts and took 2 seats early on, moving out to ½ a length by the end of the Island. We recovered from our shaky start and regrouped. The barrier push was taken early in an effort to get back level. The gap closed to 1/4 length, we were moving now. Past the boating area it was great to hear the Vesta roar from our team mates but the American’s were strong and again pulled away another few seats to get about 1 length ahead. By this point I could see we could get it back, there was a big call for the legs but as we learnt at Reading our friends from across the pond had a fast finish. I took the decision to try and outwit them by starting our finish sequence early and we went for the line with great gusto. Sadly, despite pulling back some distance the verdict was a win for Bucknell University by ¾ of a length.

– Ro

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