Furnival Sculling Club

Furnivall Sculling ClubRowing club based in Hammersmith, London. Established 1896

W.NovB help win Dewar Shield

Monday, 11th February 2013

By Victoria (Vic) in Women’s Novice B Squad

For most people, the London 2012 Olympics were amazing, inspirational and a source of national pride. For me, it was also a reminder that walking up the escalator during my commute to work does not constitute as the government recommended 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. So with slight trepidation, I decided to sign up for rowing because I too, wanted a hug from Sir Steve Redgrave after winning a gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics!

Furnivall Sculling Club brought me and 11 other intrigued girls together; friendships were quickly formed whilst we all learnt the basics in ‘The Tank’ - a concrete substitute for a boat which would not sink no matter how hard we tried. Before long, our coach told us we were ready to go on our first river outing. With help and advice from the other friendly members of FSC, we managed to avoid needing to call the Port of London Authority and finished the day feeling positive and encouraged from the experience.

The next several months have been a blur of erg exercises, circuits, weight training and river outings. A very entertaining ‘Reindeer Row’ at Christmas (complete with mandatory Christmas hats) gave us a taste of what racing would be like and competing to retain the Dewar Shield for FSC was our very first serious race.

So on 9 February, a cold and wet Saturday, we readied our boat, gulped down as much hot tea as possible and headed out for a warm up paddle before making our way to the start line. Our crew (photographed below) hadn't rowed all VIII for any significant amount of time before so we were all feeling a bit nervous yet excited. However, these feelings soon gave way to the numbing cold as the race start was delayed and thoughts of lying on a Caribbean beach or our cox's suggested jazz hand exercises did little to warm our shivering bodies.

Eventually we were given the all clear and we were off! Our cox shouted out encouragement and commands in equal measure and we responded in kind. After some huffing and puffing, we started to hear very loud cheers and we knew we were nearly at the finish line. Bolstered by the cheering, we upped the stroke rate and completed the race with one final push. Happiness and relief was felt all around as soon as Hammersmith Bridge passed over us as well as some aching pains!

As the times and scores were tallied up, our crew gathered back in the warmth near the fully stocked bar. Although there was a lot to improve on, we took encouragement from our performance and were proud that we rowed at pace in an VIII. We later found out Furnivall won the Dewar Shield by one point - a point our boat contributed towards; making the glass of wine had at the end all the more sweeter!! 

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