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