Tideway News: Fast Times and Strange Margins at the Women's Head of the River

Leander take the 2011 WeHoRR (Photo: © Iain Weir)
The Women's Head of the River Race (WeHoRR, as it is affectionately known in the UK) took place last Saturday, with some surprising results. Nearly 300 crews raced down the Thames, from Chiswick to Putney (in the opposite direction to the Boat Race, which is coming up this Saturday at 17:00 GMT). The two top crews came from predictable places -- the first from Leander Club, home to many national team members, and with a very favorable starting position (first), and the second a composite crew made up of internationals (aka GB National Team members) from several different clubs (Durham, Marlow, Reading, London, Thames, Wallingford, and Gloucester), which had to cope with a starting position of 214.

Gloucester/Durham/London/Marlow/Reading/Wallingford (Photo: © Iain Weir)
Evidently, the crew from Leander made the most of the clear water, taking the event in a time of 18:06.57 (just over one tenth of a second from matching the course record of 18:06.40, set in 2000) in flat, warm conditions. This finish put them nearly 35 seconds in front of the field, with the second place composite crew crossing the line in 18:40.60. While that is quite a gap, it's clear that starting behind over 200 other entries will have an effect on your speed over the course -- just how much of an effect will no doubt be a matter of some discussion, as Göran R. Buckhorn of HTBS indicates. Reading University BC took third place overall, and did so in a new course record for their event (Intermediate 1), of 18:53.69.

Thanks to Iain Weir of www.iainweir.info and www.rowingphotography.co.uk for the great shots of the racing, and we look forward to working with Iain much more this Spring.

Tomorrow: RR selects it's own Top 20 in NCAA Women's Rowing.

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