Fours Head of the River

Happily for all competitors, the weather forecasts were wrong and the 5th of November offered excellent racing conditions for the Fours Head of the River Race.  The weather was dry and mild (handy when you’re marshalling in the 400s) with a gentle breeze, and the water conditions as good as you’ll find on the tideway. Following the sprinkling of GB squad members racing in the pairs head, there was a large contingent of the current GB squad out competing for their respective clubs and picking up more silverware for their groaning trophy cabinets. (Unlike in training outings I believe they all made it home in one piece as well.)  The Hor4s twitter account disclosed that the race committee run a sweepstake on the number of crews in the top 100 who hit the buoy at Chiswick Pier – and true to form, the crews marshalling in that area enjoyed the sight of crew after non-tideway crew beat up the Chiswick pier buoy.

Fortunately this isn’t a “key target” race for the club, so we had a mere ten crews from Vesta competing across men’s and women’s, scull and sweep, among the 455 crews that completed the course. With some sub-tastic entries, three of the Vesta crews raced for time only. The event saw the usual mixed experiences whereby some crews had an open fairway for about 4 miles – a steering experience never enjoyed during training! – while others fought for space with competitors either side.

There were no wins for the club but good racing throughout, and some notable performances. The men’s IM1 4- finished eighth out of 36, including as it did the winning IM2 pair combination from the pairs head (Richard Lear and Simon Woodfine). The women’s IM1 4x came third in a large, and at the top end very pacy, field of 38 boats. Meanwhile there were two second places, for the women’s senior 4- and the women’s IM1 4-, the latter fighting off a fellow Vesta crew in the same category. Their pace must have had something to do with coach Jamie Low’s advice that as lightweights they should keep it “fast and loose” – probably not the first time such advice has been successful. (Ahem.)

Given the shortage of boats for the vast (in number) senior women’s squad, both the senior and IM2 women’s boats had to be returned to Hammersmith post-race, meaning their crews had a Putney-Chiswick warm up, followed by a Putney-Hammersmith warm down followed by a long walk back to the club. All crews had limited training time in their racing formats, with the luckier crews getting more than one outing before Saturday. The IM2 crew tried to fit in some last minute practise, and so gathered at 5.45am on Friday morning amid heavy rain, thunder and lightning,  only to find that some especially secure locking of the boatshed (Captain, please note) meant a quick borrow of incorrectly geared blades from KCS. Getting up early is such a good idea in theory…

All crews enjoyed taking local scalps, in addition to visitors who may not be so familiar with the stream. However, perhaps the greatest achievement of the day was that of our Communications Officer Aga Siemiginowska (IM1 4+). If anyone deserves a medal, it’s her, for managing to complete the race for the first time out of four (yes, four) attempts, having been defeated in previous years by crew injury, weather and broken steering. Well done Aga!

Well done also and thank you to the efforts in the bar and the kitchen, as marshalled by Ailsa Tremayne, for providing bacon baguettes, cakes, hot drinks and the odd pint or two to many a competitor and spectator over the course of the day.

– Martha K

Vesta Women Show Strong Start in Pairs Head

With clement weather conditions to no doubt appease the assortment of GB rowing gods taking part, the 2011 pairs head saw the Vesta Senior Women squad represented by six fine crews across a range of categories. All crews enjoyed relatively incident free races, returning home dry and safe – unlike some of the other boats on the river.

With big competition in the senior and elite categories from competitors that (sometimes literally) eclipsed the Vesta crews, all three boats finished with respectable times, even if they were placed (let’s be honest!) last in their categories. The elite pair of Kat Hedges and Martha Kelly finished 6th out of all the women’s pairs, in a close race (at one point four boats abreast) that was won by crew members of the GB under 23 women’s VIII. The senior pair of Sarah Wood and Alex Johnson were beaten by a strong City of Oxford crew, while the senior double of Kitty Lowings and Emma Dyson were beaten by the rather curious Leander combination of Debbie Flood (of GB fame) and a cox (sculling as opposed to coxing) – who themselves were beaten by a speedy London RC crew. As Kitty and Emma had only very recently come together as a crew, and were impeded during the race by a men’s double (chivalry, much?), their time was commendable.

The IM3 doubles event was, as usual, the largest women’s category and had two Vesta crews – sibling duo Lara / Vicky Brock and Athene McGregor-Macdonald / Natalie Demblon. The Brockmobile cranked out the fastest squad time of the day, finishing in an excellent fifth place in the category. Meanwhile another new combination, Hayley Beer and Anna Ven Den Berg in the IM2 pair, enjoyed their first race in a pair despite seasonal sniffles.

In Matt’s words this was a “voluntary, fun” head race, and at a mere 4k was a good afternoon out. The (presumably mandatory, not fun?) Fours’ Head is the next race for the squad, on the 5th November.

– Martha Kelly

Tour du Lac licked

Vesta Rowing Club returned to Geneva on Saturday 24th September to compete in the longest inland rowing race in the world.  Emily Trant, Kitty Lowings, Alex Johnson, Freya Johnstone and Cheryl Gilliver sculled 160km in a coxed quad around the circumference of Lac Léman, finishing in a heroic time of 17 hours and 42 minutes at 2:42am on Sunday morning.

The girls will be writing a full race report next week, so look forward to tales of bravery, extremes and utter mentalness.

Coxes wanted

Vesta is recruiting coxswains for the forthcoming 2011-12 season. Would you like to cox? Or do you know someone who wants to?

We have a very healthy number of rowers in our women’s senior squad and are in need of one or two more coxes to take them through to success at major head races, Henley Women’s Regatta, Henley Royal Regatta and the National Championships in 2012.  This is a great opportunity to train and race at the highest club level, make lots of new friends and enjoy the social side of the friendliest club on the Tideway.

You will be fully supported by an experienced coaching team of Matt, Paul, Jeremy, Henry and Jamie; you’ll train in top quality boats and have every chance to take your crew to trophies.

Please email Matt Gilliver if you are interested.

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

Vesta Girl’s Squad Hit Mulhouse in Style

The Vesta girls squad hit Mulhouse in style

 The regatta season is looming and as usual, at this time of year, the Vesta girls set out on training camp. The destination of choice:  Mulhouse, an industrial town in Eastern France, which is home to a 32km stretch of canal – perfect for lengthy steady state paddles and very little distraction, unless you are a budding train spotter or Peugeot fanatic. 

 After a long day of driving we checked into the sports centre, which was to be ‘home’ for the next 7 days.  Our gruelling programme for the week consisted of three training sessions a day, a lot of food (including copious amounts of Princes biscuits) and some much needed sleep.  After the first couple of days, it seemed we had fallen into some kind of groundhog day, as each day replicated the last, with just a slight deviation in terms of the length of the pieces we had to do each day, which were determined on the number of beers amount of sleep our coaches had had the night before.

Of course, no training camp would be complete without a ‘bad kit’ day and the Vesta girls certainly didn’t hold back!  Congratulations to Martha and Kim who won the prestigious award for the worst ‘bad kit’, it must have been a proud moment! 

Congratulations should also go to Stine, who won the ‘pick me coach’ award for the most improved rower of the week and also to Caroline who won the ‘oarswoman of the week’ award for the most effective boat mover.   

The girls would all like to say a huge thank you to our three coaches, James, Matt and Paul for giving up their time to coach us – we really appreciate it and hope to do you proud this summer!

– Tammy Bernard

Quintin Head, Saturday 29th January

The Quintin Head course is a familiar stretch of the river for us, running from Chiswick Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge.

The women’s squad entered WIM3 and won the category convincingly with a time of 12.59.4.  Moreover, they were the fastest women’s crew of the day, beating 30 other women’s crews and a few men’s crews along the way!   The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Tammy Bernard, Helen Edwards, Nell Pascall, Aga Siemiginowska, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Natalie Demblon, Sandy Kurek and Ro Thompson (cox).


The men’s squad entered IM1 and came third out of 7 in this category, with a finish time of 11.42.7.  The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of Daniel O’Dowd, Robert Shaw, Samuel McCarthy, Michael Hughes, Nicholas Neveling, Jonathan Brown, Alister Campbell, Gianni Galavotti and Helen Gray, (cox).

– Tammy Bernard

(Photos copyright Birdman Photography)

Remenham Challenge Cup, Sunday 16th January

The Remenham Challenge Cup was held on the Tideway, a downriver course from Chiswick Pier to the London RC flagpole.  Vesta entered a grand total of seven crews in the Remenham Head, which was a great turnout for one of the first races of the season.

The senior women’s squad entered both the Women’s Elite and the Women’s Intermediate.  The Elite crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of: Alex Johnson, Lara Brock, Ailsa Tremayne, Aga Siemiginowska, Nell Pascall, Susan Atkinson, Ellie Dorman, Kat Hedges and Julia Hedley (cox).  The Intermediate crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Tammy Bernard, Sandy Kurek, Caroline Newbury, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Liane Higgins, Liz Crighton, Kitty Lowings and Ro Thompson (cox).  The Intermediate crew won their category with a time of 12.58.27, narrowly beating the Elite crew who finished with a time of 12.59.54.

Winners of Women’s Intermediate: from left to right, Caroline Newbury, Tammy Bernard, Liane Higgins, Kitty Lowings, Helen Edwards, Vicky Brock, Sandy Kurek and Liz Crighton

Women's Elite Crew

The women’s development squad gamely entered Women’s Intermediate category.  The crew, from stroke to bow, consisted of:  Anna Vandenberg, Sybille Schorm, Sarah Head, Marie-Elena Nilsback, Sian Withers, Thea Hudsen, Deborah Croshaw, Emi Furuhata and Victoria Taylor (Cox).  For some of the crew, this was their first ever race, so despite the shaky start their coach, James Unler, was delighted that they finished only about a minute and a half off the top boats in their category, with a time of 14.23.87.

Women's Intermediate Crew

The Men’s Elite A crew finished in 11:46.97, the Men’s Intermediate crew finished in 12:25.44, the Masters A crew (Jamie Halliday, George Fieldhouse, Barry Clarke, Ariel Perez, Matt Gilliver, James Watts, Angry Vinny McGovern, Colm Hardiman and Andrew Macmillan (cox)) finished in 12:39.12 and the Masters B in 12:57.47.

Men's Masters Crew

Men's Intermediate Crew

– Tammy Bernard

Summer 2010 So far…..

Since the ‘serious’ rowing ended there has been some even fiercer pot and cap hunting going on.

Here is a roundup of the Summer 2010 Vesta wins so far:

  • Jamie Wooller won Novice Singles at Richmond Regatta
  • Bevan Goulden, Laurence Manning, Nick Nevelling, Harry Bond, Alister Campbell, Chris Clements, Chris Burnell and Jamie Wooller, coxed by Sophy Fuchs won Intermediate 2 Eights at Kingston Regatta
  • Jamie Halliday won Senior Coxless Pairs as part of a Vesta/Burton Leander composite at Burton Regatta
  • Lara Brock and Vics Mcleod-Moore won Intermediate 3 Doubles at Molesey Regatta
  • Hilary Blandy won Novice Singles at Molesey Regatta
  • Alister Campbell and Laurence Manning won Elite Coxless Pairs and Intermediate 1 Coxless Pairs at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
  • Kitty Lowings, Vics Mcleod-Moore, Kat Hedges and Kate Tilbury won Intermediate 2 Quadruple Sculls as a Vesta/Mortlake composite at Henley Town & Visitors Regatta
  • Kat Hedges won Masters B Quadruple Sculls as part of a Vesta/Eton Excelsior Composite at Maidenhead Regatta

More wins to follow at Peterborough and Oxford City I’m sure…!

hilary

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