Autumn Head W1

Crew: Beth Kemp(Cox), Billie Meadowcroft (Stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (7), Ulrika Andersson (6), Kathryn Van Der Byl (5), Pippa Sayers (4), Charlotte Hallam (3), Zsofi Belovai (2), Kate Attfield (Bow)

The autumn race took place on the 2nd Saturday of term which allowed for very little water time for the new and fresh-faced 2018 Michaelmas W1. The crew met the night before to go over the race plan, and after an intense 3 hours long crew meal, our fabulous new cox Beth emerged clutching an incredibly detailed map of the Cam scribbled all over with where she should deliver each call.

The condition on race day were far from ideal. With a strong wind all along the 2.7km course, the crew knew that they had a flight ahead of them. The start sequence quickly turned into the ‘stride’ call, and with the first corner coming up, Beth was in complete control of her crew. Her commands kept the crew on top of the wind and we whipped round all the corners. ‘The thirty best strokes of the race’ were asked for on Plough Reach, and the crew sat back into the wind and courageously kept their rhythm going. Once Ditton Corner had been negotiated, the Long Reach saw a reset from the crew and a real push to establish a rhythm that they could sustain. The milestones along this long stretch of open water started to pass the crew by, first the white house, then the railway bridge and eventually the P&E. At this point the crew started to sit up as the finish line was in sight. With Beth keeping the crew focused at all time with a stunning demonstration of her natural coxing skills, the crew crossed the finish line by the Green Dragon Bridge in 12:04.1 seconds, securing the 5th place for Queens’ and only 23.6 seconds behind the winners.

There were two main outtakes from this race. Firstly, Beth, who had only coxed a senior crew a handful of times before the race, was beyond fantastic and the women’s side is very lucky to be able to have her on-board. Secondly, the W1 crew should hold their head high as they demonstrated determination in buckets as they braved through the course in difficult conditions even for the most experienced crews. A promising start for the Queens’ women’s side.