After what we would call a late wake up in the history of rowing races (around 7am), Warwick Rowing's 3rd VIII was ready to leave campus and drive to London to join the 2nd and the 1st VIII who had stayed there the night. We were all very excited to race as this was going to be the highlight of the head races season although quite worried about the heavy rain and the strong wind which were threatening the good organization of the race. Anyway, the brave novice men who composed the 3rd VIII were determined to race and it wasn't going to be some rain and a little breeze that was going to prevent us from competing in the biggest head race of the year. After rigging the beautiful Sims and making sure we had enough energy in our systems, we finally boated from Furnivall Sculling Club, just near the Hammersmith Bridge.
We paddled up along with the other 350 crews until the start of the race and as we were number 335, we had the 'luck' to watch all the other crews racing before we did. This 'luck' also meant we had to stay at the marshalling point under the rain for ages, and although Sophie, our cox for the day (she usually coxes the Novice Women), was doing an incredible job, it was a struggle for her not to flirt with other crews. After an hour and a half of marshalling and seeing that we would still have to wait for a while, Jack, our stroke man, decided he could not hold the need to wee any longer and started to free himself of this need in an empty water bottle. Although he was facing Sophie, she did not say a word but we all know they now have a connection. And as a good stroke sets the pace, pretty much all the crew members followed the trend and filled water bottles with urine.
After the first 334 crews had gone, it was now our time to go down the Thames and prove ourselves we did not stay and train on campus for two weeks after the end of term for nothing. Although the conditions were not good at all, we benefited from a tail wind and a strong current on some stretches and unfortunately a head wind on some others, but that obviously didn't disturb the Nov men who were following the cox's orders perfectly. Sophie was doing an amazing job all along the race but when we got to the last kilometre to the finish line, she got insane and made us row faster than we could have imagined. Thanks to her coxing and the crew's fitness, we got to overtake Cardiff University's novice boat in the last 500 meters and did an absolutely great finish! When we crossed the finish line, we unfortunately had to paddle back up a couple of kilometres back to our boating point against the current, that was definitely not the nicest thing as we were exhausted from the race. But it was all worth it when we got the result and found out we came 26th in our category, 273rd overall, and also that we beat by 21 seconds the Warwick 2nd VIII composed mainly by seniors.
Overall, it was a great way of ending term 2 and the head races season.