The City of Bristol Winter Head was held on Sunday 19th February 2017. Competitors had the option to race a long (3300m) or short (2300m) course on Bristol’s harbour. This was certainly a challenging course for our beginner athletes due to the weather and steering requirements, nonetheless, this race was a great opportunity to get some racing experience in.
In the division 1 short course, USBC entered two beginner women’s boats, W.Nov.4x+ and W.Nov.4x-, the latter of which won their category. In the division 1 long course, we saw USBC enter a W.SEN.4x- and a W.IM1.4x-. Both crews were the only ones entered in their category and came away with time only results. However, our W.SEN.4x- was the fastest women’s crew in the division.
In the division 2 short course, our beginner men entered the NOV.4+ category coming away with a time only result. In the division 2 long course, we entered a W.IM2.4x- which came away with a time only result but was the second fastest women’s boat in the division. In the same division we had a W.IM3.4x- which also had a time only result but was the third fastest women’s boat in the division. Our W.IM3.4x+ won their category on the long course.
Cecile Flavin, USBC novice rower 2016/17, competing in the W.NOV.4x- and W.IM3.4x+ at Bristol Head 2017:
‘This was a very exciting race for the beginners as it was our first opportunity to experience the racing environment. The morning had been very busy so it was only when all the boats had been rigged and brought down to the river that our nerves started to kick in and the atmosphere intensified. My crew which included Megan Moloney, Anika Piezka, Naomi Coleman, and myself had been training for a few weeks in our quad and were excited to see what we could do in race conditions. On our paddle up the course we focused on warming up and some exercises to help improve our race, but mainly tried to relax as our nerves began to kick in. Marshalling was an interesting experience to say the least and Naomi, our bow girl, did a very good job of keeping us in place on the river whilst we waited. The W.NOV.4x+ including Lauren Rathbone, Hattie Chase, Megan Pearson and Lizzie MacCann, paddled up beside us and took their place and we exchanged some encouraging words from one boat to another. The other boat set off before us and had a strong start. We were then called to line up and we set off to the start line. We had a solid start but there was a tight right turn after the first bridge which was a challenge. The race was over before we knew it and we felt that for our first race we gave a good performance. The adrenaline was still running quite a while after so we were all quite excitable leading into our next race in W.IM3.4x+. Our second race coincided with the NOV.4+ race. This was a longer course, however it seemed to go as quickly as the first one. It was by no means an easy race but similar to the first one, we felt confident in our performance. Overall, it was a brilliant first experience of racing with our quad coming away with two pots.’ #pothunting
Aofie Luscombe, USBC Senior Women’s squad:
‘Bristol Head was the first race of the New Year for the Senior Women’s squad and it was a chance to find out what we were made of after a long winters hard training, As a squad of 10 we were able to enter 4 competitive quad combinations and a double which meant we were kept busy throughout the day. Many of us has competed before in head races but as we rowed up the course we soon discovered the complexity of the Bristol course and began to make quick decisions on the water about steering and racing tactics. I was really proud to be in a crew and squad which responded to the demands of such a course, with tact and good communication. Unfortunately for all races entered in the W.SEN.4x-, W.IM1.4x-, W.IM2.4x-, W.IM3.4x-, and W.IM1.2x, we raced for time only as the only competitors entered. Having said this all crews performed to a high standard, and when we compared our times to those we had gained in training it showed improvement. This gave us the confidence we needed to push forward with training and continue our development as a squad in preparation for BUCS head.’