It was 7am on a very cold Saturday 18th November morning, and a bleary eyed M2 crew arrived at the boathouse for our first race, which also happened to be our first outing as a crew. Hence there was little expectation on our shoulders, and our plan was simple – go off hard, and see what happens.

The row up was decent with some solid bursts, and we marshalled at the lock in good spirits and looking forward to seeing what we could do. After de-kitting prematurely, getting very cold, re-kitting and then finally lining up for the start, we were eager to get going and warm up! We set off at rate 36 and after about a minute we settled naturally into a chunky rate 32.

We were told from the bank and coxing seat that we were gaining on the crew in front, and we could see that the quad chasing us (which we’d feared may catch and overtake) was being pushed into the distance. This urged us on, and coming out of Grassy and Ditton we made big pushes that kept the boat speed high and the rate never dropped below 32. Under the railway bridge towards the finish we brought it up, and came under the line in 9 minutes 36 seconds – only 30 seconds behind M1.

We sat at the top of the results board for second boats for most of the day, until we were just pipped by UCL M2 in the final division of the day. Interestingly, the UCL M2 crew that beat us also beat UCL M1 by 26 seconds, so we had some questions about UCL’s crew selections, especially since if they’d entered the correct crews in the correct divisions we would have won the M2 division. However we were all pleased with our result and look forward to a strong performance in Fairbairn’s.

Callum Chivers