If you talk to anyone who has been rowing (or trying to row) in the Oxford area over the last few months, it won’t take you long to gather that things have been a bit…challenging this academic year. Lots of rain upstream coupled with stubborn river levels which refused to drop even when it didn’t rain meant that, for LCBC and other college clubs, virtually all of our training sessions Michaelmas and the first few weeks of Hilary took place on the land. As it was, Lincoln’s W1 found ourselves heading into the first IWL race of the season (IWL C, as A and B both fell victim to the Isis river conditions) with only a couple of hours’ water time under our belts. Our approach was therefore quite relaxed – as our cox Emily Watson said on the start line, “we’re just going for a nice paddle, ladies”.
The morning of Sunday 26th January 2020 began with the sad news that one of our rowers (Emily Mason) had come down with tonsillitis and was unable to race. She’s fully recovered now and back to rowing with us, but a stressful couple of hours were spent searching round for a sub. The lovely Beth Keech was kind enough to step in at the last minute, for which we cannot thank her enough.
Down at the boathouse, the rainclouds rolled in and the drizzle began to fall. By the time our division got on the water (we were the last boat of the last division) the scene looked pretty miserable. But we were happy to be out and racing again, so spirits were high. Our long wait down at Haystacks was made all the more entertaining by the wildlife facts being dished out by Emily Watson from the coxing seat – which led to a detailed discussion about the differences between moorhens and coots.
Thankfully, the rain abated for the race itself. As we were the last boat of the day it was easy to believe that we were just doing a normal training piece, and our resulting relaxed mindset allowed us to produce a piece of rowing that, as a crew, we and our coach could be really proud of. The hours of vacation and land training that we had been putting in over the past few months had clearly been worth it. When the results came out we were delighted: at 5 minutes and 55 seconds we were the fasted women’s crew of the day by thirteen seconds, even coming ahead of some men’s crews. We are immensely proud of this achievement, and of all the hard work put in by the women’s side this academic year. The resilience displayed by the squad in the face of adversity has been fantastic, and we would like to thank each and every one of them for their tenacity and positivity.
-- from the Women's Captains