The Marlow Regatta in Eton

I don't know why the Marlow Regatta is held in Eton. But it is, and so the Williams American Expeditionary Force launched off to Dorney Lake for our first race of the season. For some, the launch came earlier than others...

The men's 8+ awoke to the familiar, though still dreaded, 4 on their phones. Departing at 6am in a rented van driven by a caffeinated Slater, they arrived at Dorney to find their boats missing. Arriving 20 minutes before their scheduled time trial (a 1900m race staged in alternating lanes with 10 second staggered starts), they rushed to reassemble their boat (yes - literally reassemble the hull) and get to the starting line on time. Despite the chaos, and racing a level up (though qualified for the lower tiered "University" race, the 8+ raced in the Tier 2 event against stronger crews). they just missed out on the C Final. They returned to our base camp in Henley-on-Thames around 10:15.

Meanwhile, the lads of the 4+ awoke lazily at 7:30. Upon arriving in town for breakfast, we were horrified to find our favorite breakfast spot, Spoon, closed! Lacking avocado toast and with tears in our eyes, we wandered off in search of another breakfast. Thankfully, hungry rowers have a sixth sense for sensing cheap, highly caloric breakfasts - a trait that does not help their emaciated coxswains.

The 4 then made their voyage over to Eton after the eight had returned to race their own time trial. We faced far less hassle thankfully, though a behind-schedule regatta get us sitting in the sun far longer than my fair skin appreciated. Not even 50+ SPF saved us from turning a very fetching pink. Finishing a strong, if not perfect, piece in a whipping tail win, we managed to just squeak into the A Final of the University 4, 2.5 seconds behind NESCAC rivals Bowdoin and 2.3 back of British godsquad Oxford Brooks University. After watching the 8+ blow away the field in the 2nd 1000m of their final, we embarked on a fateful train ride back to Henley.

The voyage back, which was expected to take 20 minutes, was impeded by a delayed train that kept us another 10 minutes. We then took the wrong connecting train and ended up going backwards one station (do not pass go, do not collect $200). I will take full responsibility for the error...but I swear I can be trusted with the lives of yours sons plus a $60,000 boat! We then had to walk 20 minutes back from the station to our house in Henley - totaling extra 50 minutes for a crew that had already expended a great deal of energy. We then promptly crash for the next fifteen minutes, until coach came to bring us back to the course.

Making his now fifth trip since 6am, Coach Slater sent us on the water with the simple statement, "no one will give you anything out there." The 4's A Final 2000m race was undoubtably our most complete and consistent effort. We placed 7th, barely .5 seconds back of Brooks. I swear, another 5 strokes and we would have had them!

After a long meal in Eton surrounded by the historic high school, we arrived, tired and in need of a shower, at 10pm. Edward Slater was the first asleep.

-Jamie Sullivan, '18


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