Bridget Snaith recalls her experience of being reunited with fellow rowers at an eventful Henley Masters
The Lea Women's coxless 4 had a lot of fun at Henley Masters and came back with medals from both C4- and B4-, after three races, one total re-row and a re-start. We hadn't had a chance to row together in either line up, though three of the B4- had a sneaky practice at the Royal Dock two weeks before.
Our C4- stroke Caroline Newbury, Amanda Benson Skailes, Valentina Futoryanova, and myself at bow had a clear victory of five lengths in round 1 (semi final) time 4.17, as did the other finalists Marlow, whose time was 4.06. In our final, Marlow took a length lead off the start, which we reduced to zero throughout the race, and we started to row through them as we approached the finish. At Upper Thames they steered into us, and we crossed the line clashing, and raised an appeal.
The decision was re-row, scheduled for later in the afternoon. Most of us had done no sweep rowing for around 18 months, so the tight race against Marlow was a real baptism of fire, and one we needed to learn from. The re-row was another hard-fought race into a headwind, but this time we were up from the start, and the result was a clear victory to Lea by 3/4 length in 3.49.
The 4- reconfigured for the WMB4-, Caroline and Amanda stayed as stern pair, I moved to two seat, and Becky Minnich replaced me at at bow in a straight final against Wallingford, with Valentina now in our rival Wallingford boat. After a blistering Lea start, Wallingford had some steering issues (and Lea arguably may also have come slightly off course) and before the barrier there was clash of crews. The umpire stopped the race and we all backed down to the start again. The re-started race saw Lea move out to the lead from the start, finishing ahead by four lengths in 3:47.