Thursday, June 15, 2017

#BucksGoRoyal: The Ohio State Women's Rowing Team Takes on Henley

Ohio State heads across the pond (Photo: Madeline Davis)

The Ohio State Women's Rowing Team has landed in England, and is already gearing up to take on the field at Henley Women's Regatta tomorrow! We'll be posting dispatches from the team throughout their trip, which will include racing at Henley Royal Regatta—here, senior Stephanie Williams recaps the trip so far and introduces the team on the trip.

From Stephanie:

The collegiate season is over for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but for the first time in program history we are headed overseas to race Women’s Henley and Henley Royal Regatta in England. After a lot of organizing and excitement, our trip to Henley-on-Thames became a reality. Following NCAAs, we got back together in new lineups—an eight and a coxless four. The biggest challenge was for our four, who have been coxed all racing season, adjusting to foot steering and new line-up.

"Our first regatta, Women’s Henley, is this weekend, and there's another slight difference in format to what we're accustomed to: The race distance is only 1500m, compared to the Royal’s 2,112m."Our two weeks of training in Columbus involved a lot of team bonding and adventures. Without school to worry about and the lovely, warm summer nights, we enjoyed team cookouts and patio dinners. For myself, this was the last two weeks I had left at Ohio State and living in the U.S. It was the perfect way to end an amazing four years. Our training sessions were a shock at first as we built our fitness base back up after tapering for nationals. In the mornings we were training in our racing boats, and the afternoons the eight would go out in the pairs. We definitely had a lot of fun with our training sessions.

A highlight was our coach, Andy [Teitelbaum], throwing goldfish to my pair from his launch. We also created some banter between the pairs as we rowed down the river side-by-side, trying not to crash into one another.


The Buckeyes touched down in Henley-on-Thames a few days ago, ready to spend three weeks in our newly adopted home. We arrived and moved into our two host families’ homes. We are so grateful to be able to stay with such wonderful families. We were also all very happy to find out both families have dogs! Conveniently, we are living only two houses apart and very close to the river and town. Tired and jet-lagged, we went out to explore the town we had heard so much about—we were not disappointed! After some great coffee and food at a cute local café, we came back to life.

Having sat on a plane for several hours we were eager to get moving and try and get rid of our fat ankles from flying so we did an erg session at the famous Leander Club. We walked along the course to Upper Thames Rowing Club and rigged and unpacked our new equipment and learned all about the course. The format for Henley is different to most regattas. (All the races are head racing and in a knockout, tournament style.) Our first regatta, Women’s Henley, is this weekend, and there's another slight difference in format to what we're accustomed to: The race distance is only 1500m, compared to the Royal’s 2,112m.


Summer training days in Ohio before heading to England (Photo: Stephanie Williams)

Following a great night's sleep, we woke up ready to test out some new water. After seeing another crew return from the water with a smashed bow, we were a little nervous about a new course with many obstacles. It was a bit windy for our first day, but it felt great to get back out there and get to work.

"It really is amazing to be in a place where rowing is such a large part of the local culture!"During our afternoon row the four had an encounter with a swan that got in their way (see photo above). He received a solid hit to the head with an oar, and evidently wasn't too pleased about it! The swan proceeded to want to fight Aina in the eight as we rowed past. Fortunately the swan was not hurt in the incident—the last thing we wanted on our first day was to injure one of the Queen’s swans and get arrested. For dinner we all went to the Angel, a local pub right on the Thames. We really enjoyed a good feed of fish and chips as we watched some crews row past.


We have now finished day three of training in Henley. We are seeing more and more rowers arrive, but we know this is only the beginning of what will be a very busy time in Henley. We had a very good session as we started to build more intensity into our workouts. We are back into race mode as the weekend approaches.

This morning we went to a local restaurant and had big traditional English breakfasts—it was amazing. We also went shopping to try and find some hats for the regatta. Luckily there are many shops filled with Henley hats and attire. A few members of the team ventured out to the River and Rowing Museum to learn more about the history of rowing and the tradition that is rowing in Henley. It really is amazing to be in a place where rowing is such a large part of the local culture! –SW

Thanks very much to Stephanie and the Buckeyes for the updates, and keep it locked for more from the Ohio State women as they gear up to race tomorrow in Henley-on-Thames.

You can also catch up on previous Henley experiences (with Virginia Men's Rowing and Potomac Boat Club) by visiting our Travelogues page.


-RR

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