After a successful training camp and with the hopes of green flag, W1 entered Trinity Term very excited about what was to come. The first few weeks were spent training hard for Bedford Regatta, under the watchful eye of coach Paul ‘Not Ok!’ Crewe, where they put in a very strong performance, beating Brasenose W1 ‘easily’ in the first round and only narrowly losing to Downing College, Cambridge (the winner of the 2013 College Boat Race) in the second round. This meant that W1 came into Summer 8s very much ready to go. Superbly coxed by Mike “Skidders” Skidmore, they put in a very strong performance on the first day, only narrowly missing Exeter W1 as they came out of the Gut, with Kate “Alex Woods” Shore pushing herself to the limit to try and get the bump. This unfortunately meant that she was out of the racing for the rest of the week, but luckily Annika Bruger, fresh from Osiris, was able to step up to the plate, and together with Elizabeth Finneron-Burns, provided much technical finesse and power as bow pair. The next two days saw extremely strong performances from W1, ably led by new stern pair Lea Volpe and Kat Crane, however Exeter W1 continued to just hold them off. Saturday came and the crew were determined to prove themselves. They set off very strongly, with a powerful middle 4 of Maria Mazza (also from Osiris), Sam Ivell, Nadine Graedel (a new term “middle pair” was coined to describe just how much power they were putting in) and Rhianna Cearns (who had improved massively after Torpids to step up into W1). There was a set back when Exeter W1 bumped out, but undeterred W1 aimed for the overbump on New College, which they very nearly achieved. Overall, W1 maintained their position in 8s, finishing 9th in Div 2, something very much to be proud of and a great stepping-stone for next year.
Fresh from Torpids success, W2 entered Trinity Term having set the bar high, and determined to keep up their high standard. Under the watchful eye of coaches Alex ‘Let’s race them!’ Bostrom, and Liz ‘I hope you’re wearing suncream’ Finneron-Burns, W2 trained hard for Bedford Regatta. This was the first time a Lincoln W2 had been entered into an external regatta, and the girls were determined to do well. Smashing through Warwick University in the first round and then narrowly losing to University College, Oxford’s W1, concluded an excellent day for the crew, and certainly gave some valuable race experience and confidence for Eights.
True to W2 form, on Day One St Hilda’s conceded to Lincoln less than thirty strokes into the start. Thursday was never going to be as straightforward however. As the two crews in front bumped out, the girls settled in for the overbump on Linacre. Guided by cox Jonny Dower, new stern pair Megan Milarski and Nicky Andrews calmly set a rhythm which had already taken two lengths of Linacre by the exit of the gut. The powerhouses of the boat, Jenny Metcalfe, Claire Wills and Olivia Lamming strongly supported this from the middle of the boat, whilst solid newcomer Johanna Rankin and the nifty bow pair of Lise Noyau and Chelsea Souza made up the final three. As the crew closed on Linacre, a klaxon devastated dreams of a bump. Day Three saw a renewed vigour and thirst for revenge, and Magdalen II fell very quickly. Saturday of 8s had W2 in the precarious position of 5th in Division IV. As predicted, the crews in front bumped out off the start, so the girls settled in for a classy row over. ‘The best I’ve ever seen them row!!’ was heard exclaimed from the crowds of impressed onlookers – and it was true. W2 concluded an exceptionally successful year by storming down the course and rowing that was ‘very jazzy’ indeed!!
Very early on in the term, W3 had identified a key task for themselves. Having spectacularly broken into fixed divisions last year making Oxford University history as the first W3 ever to do so, this year’s crew were absolutely determined not to let this slip. Under tough coaches Danielle Costa and Claire Wills, training stepped up a gear, and the relatively novice crew were soon training more than many W2 college crews. As the first day of Eights arrived, the nerves were high, but the girls went off fast from the start line. A bump was secured on Balliol II before the gut; a memorable first bump for many of the crew! Next day, a pursuit of Trinity II was cut short by an unfortunate klaxon, but on the Friday, the crew had refocused. Veteran bumps racer Marlena Whiting provided steady experience at stroke, supported by a technically solid Hannah Hodson. The immense power of the boat was present in 4, 5, and 6, with Kitty O’Neill, Kristin Lampe and Vicky Ewing, who were easily a match for any W2 girl in the division. ‘Size is no indication of power’ is an excellent way of describing bow 3 – Josie Oliver, Jasmine Banbury and Rachel Jeal – who also brought a focused and calm approach to the crew. Led by Richard Passmore in his first ever bumps race as a cox, this was truly a boat to be fearful of. A sharp and speedy start meant W3 evaded Green Templeton W1 and bumped LMH II, but some dubious coxing from crews ahead meant that only a technical row over was awarded, despite a lengthy appeal. Unfortunately, the Saturday of Eights brought a bump from Oriel II, but the girls finished still in fixed divisions, having maintained their position, and done Lincoln proud as the highest placed W3 on the river.