Reservoir Dogs slog it out at Quintin Head

Boat Club take in the good weather in competitive Hammersmith-Chiswick course.

Athena Mellor Boat Club Chiswick Hammersmith Mens 1sts Quintin Head Rowing sport ucl uclbc UCLU Women 1sts

Something changes when we put on our racing kit. Those other realms of ordinary life are forgotten and our minds zone only on the task ahead. Rowing nearly 5km down the River Thames from Hammersmith to Chiswick was our task on Saturday the 26th of January, as UCLBC raced at Quintin Head.

The day saw 181 boats take to the Thames, six of which carried our UCL purple and blue. A Head race, like this one, is probably best described as a time trial, meaning boats go off at small intervals. 16 minutes, 32 strokes per minute; that’s more than 500 strokes of burning legs until our cox calls for those “LAST TEN” and the rest is a blur – the longest and quickest 15 seconds to carry us through the line.

First to race were the Senior Men. With 12 strong rowers and only 8 places in the boat, competition for a seat in the top men’s eight had been tough. After a solid race which saw the crew overtake five other boats, the news that they had been disqualified was met with disappointment and frustration.

Yet, knowing they have the potential to place highly, the boys will only train harder for their next race. Two UCL boats were entered into the Novice Men’s category, with an excellent third place finish for Crew 1 and a respectable 15th place for the second boat. Also placing third in their category of IM3 were the Senior Women, who were more than surprised by the outcome and determined now to close that 1.2-second gap between them and the winners of their category.

The Novice Women achieved two impressive results, both in the top 10 of their category of 28 boats. After a difficult race, Crew 1 achieved a 5th place finish, which they can only improve upon next time. Crew 2 raced excellently, overtaking 4 crews and finishing in 9th place.

With 6 out of 8 boats finishing in the top 10 of their category, Quintin Head was indeed a successful day for UCLBC. Our next race, BUCS Head, lies just around the corner and is a chance for UCL to measure itself against all the other universities from around the country. As the temperature gets warmer and those winter blues diminish, competition for a seat in the top boat heightens and training intensifies.

Let UCLBC prove that we are a competitive university. Let them fear us.