by Ellie Kavanagh
Whilst most university students were nursing their Halloween party hangovers from the night before, Wolfson ladies – clad in their signature floral leggings – were raring and ready to take on the journey to Henley-On-Thames for the Upper Thames Autumn Head. A rail replacement bus, an almost missed train and several line changes later, we finally made it to Henley with time to spare! We promptly got Fillipi on the water at 10am in time for our first race of the day: the Women’s IM3 8+. It was only when we arrived at the start line that we realised how exhausting rowing 3 kilometres at pace could be, however, adrenaline drove us through the finish line at a rate of 31 strokes per minute. This earned us a respectable time of 11:28 despite having to move into the stream to let two coxless 4’s come past! Refuelled with sugar and caffeine, we set off in the afternoon for our IM2 8+ race. A slight change in crew members did not stop us from aiming to beat our time from the first race. We got off to a good start and even overtook some crews that were ahead of us. Encouragement from the cox and our screaming fans on the bank gave us the final burst of energy which allowed us to beat our initial time by 8 seconds. Our final time was 11:20 and placed us within the top third out of 144 boats.
In the mean time, Laura, one of our stroke-siders from the first race of the day bravely took on the challenge of competing in a mixed double scull with Philipp Schafer. The pair were making excellent time until a collision with the bank resulted in a capsize at the finish line, though this was a disappointing end, by and large their race went swimmingly…
Overall UTAH was a fantastic day leaving us all feeling accomplished and hungry for more!
Laura Depner (stroke) Phil Schafer (bow)