While most rowers, after finishing their respective exams, went on their well-deserved long vacations, some Mertonians were still around so the success from Summer Eights carried its momentum forward. Several regattas in relative closeness were entered and some success brought back to Oxford. Kingston Amateur Regatta, Maidenhead Regatta, and Oxford City all saw Merton boats or composites participating this year.
A very well-organised regatta, just downstream of Hampton Court Palace drew the attention of a Merton–Oriel–GTC–St Anne’s composite. While not used to the slightly choppier waters after the training calmness on the Isis, our cox assured us the bow wash was a thoroughly well designed and necessary piece of equipment. In our first round we faced Maidstone Invicta. A young crew which, unfortunately so, was hampered by their own steering and equipment. The umpires did not wave the race off, despite Maidstone veering strongly into our station and even crossing it into the navigation lane due to steering problems.
In the final we faced a home crew from Kingston and a further one from Parr’s Priory. Despite having to start on the inner lane with the furthest stagger back, we had a good and strong race. Kingston led the way for the first few hundred meters off the start until we had found into our race rhythm, striding every stroke and eventually moving past them. A very well timed push, as it was to be expected from a crew on their home turf, reeled our lead back in slightly, leaving us to win by 1 ½ lengths to Kingston and 5 lengths to Parr’s Priory. Winning IM3.4+ at Kingston Amateur in glorious summer sunshine.
Summer being always the top sculling season (not least for the reason if things go wrong it is a little less unpleasant than at other times of the year) Merton fielded a novice single and a composite novice double with St Anne’s at Maidenhead. While the training had gone reasonably well in the weeks prior, the first start nearly went catastrophically wrong. Despite the start crab, the first round was won against Team Keane by 3 ½ lengths. The final was a bit tricky as it turned out to be Merton vs St Anne’s, or the double for the afternoon. The win went to Merton by 4 lengths.
The afternoon was slightly less successful. Having been given a bye to the semi-finals, we were faced with a strong home crew who not only got off the start considerably better but also steered a very admirable line compared to a near-miss steering crab in the last 50m. A sprint along the enclosures could unfortunately only reduce the loss to the tightest of margins but not prevent it from happening. Maidenhead won the semi-final, though in turn lost against Guildford in the final.
1X – Henrik Hannemann
2X – Jinwoo Leem (St Anne’s, S), Henrik Hannemann (B)
Oxford Royal Regatta and Sprint
No summer rowing would be complete without competing on our own home turf at the regatta organised by CORC. Unfortunately, the weather was significantly more of a mixed bag than in previous years. Merton fielded two members: Catilin Armstrong, a recent alumna, rowing a single scull, and Henrik Hannemann rowing in a New–Oriel–Merton–Univ composite four.
Due to demand of entries, only Caitlin secured an entry spot for Saturday, racing in W.IM3.1X unfortunately losing to Cambridge 99 by 4 lengths. It has to be noted though that the ’99 sculler won the event and with all other margins being given as ‘easily’ the first round was the best result against her. On Saturday morning, sculling started the day for Merton. Despite a bye into the second round of W.IM2.1X, a loss by 2 lengths against City of Oxford cut Caitlin’s regatta time once more short.
The afternoon gave the composite four a chance to show what a week of minimal, but dedicated training could do. Considering one crew member had arrived only on Tuesday morning from overseas and Niamh, our cox, only on Friday from the States, the training was less long-term than what we knew of our opposition. Nonetheless, the first round was won against City of Oxford by 1 ½ lengths. Slightly scrappy, but efficient on the rhythm. Followed by a well-rested Putney Town crew as they did not have a first round to race, we found our rhythm more quickly and crossed the finish line 1 ¼ lengths in front of them. While these races had happened in the warmth of the summer sunshine, the final had the other weather option reserved: torrential rain! Having seen the City of Cambridge crew in their semi-final against Llandaff, we had predicted that due to their height and strength, as well as the start stagger, they would lead us. Exactly this unfolded in the race, but our race plan held and with an earlier stride and having never given away more than half a length, we crossed the finish line with a ¾ length lead.
Officially two crew members were considered ‘novice’ due to lack of points, but a sharply progressing training curve and superb coxing lead to a finish of the summer racing with a win in IM2.4+
4+ – Jack Parsons (New, S), John Mittermeier (Oriel, 3), Henrik Hannemann (2), Jan Stöckmann (New, B), Niamh Broderick (Univ, C)
1X – Caitlin Armstrong