As most of the students at Bowdoin College left campus for the summer, the women’s crew team packed up from our year-long residences and moved into the 4th floor of Hyde (a first year dorm). After a grueling week of finals, the crews were recharged and ready to kick into a new gear for 3 weeks of intense training. With our final practice on the New Meadows River tomorrow, the Maine-based portion of our Henley Camp is nearly complete. This training period has allowed us to experience Maine in the summer, kick our training up to the next level, and grow together as a group. On Tuesday, we’ll depart for England, where we will compete in the Reading Amateur Regatta and the Henley Women’s Regatta. We couldn’t be more excited to compete on an international stage against some of the best boats in the world.
We started Henley Camp strong on May 18th, making our way to the boathouse by 6am and returning for a second practice at 4:30pm so as to maximize training time. Practices have been focused on high rate work and making the mental switch from 2k pieces (which take about 7 to 8 minutes in 4s) to the faster 1500m ones we will race in England (lasting 5 to 6 minutes). Amy loved getting a chance to practice in small boats, and felt they were very helpful for working on technique. One of MB’s favorite practices was a tough sprinting workout – she loved the feeling of learning to dig deeper as a boat. For most of the team, it was incredibly rewarding to watch Liza improve in the single. Remarking on her progress, Emily says, “It’s been so much fun watching her zoom by us faster and at a higher rate every time she gets in that boat!” (When asked about rowing in the single, Liza simply responds “I flipped, twice!”)
Although we’ve had our fair share of wet and cold mornings over the course of the training camp, the weather has for the most part been very agreeable, a big change from the bone-chilling cold we endured through much of the spring season. One of the most incredible parts of spending hours in the summer on the New Meadows has been experiencing more of the wildlife on the river. The bald eaglets have begun to learn how to fly, but are still raucous in their nest by the boathouse, until silence descends when their parents bring back fish. As the jellyfish swarmed the estuary, Nora learned that she especially loved poking the jellyfish as they glided by, and even picked several up out of the water. Additional sitings include ospreys, herons, cormorants, seagulls, Canada geese and goslings, ducks, a family of foxes, horseshoe crabs, and the ever-present “Jumpy” the seal.
Aside from the rowing, one of the most incredible parts of Henley camp has been bonding as a group and exploring Maine. Some of our favorite activities included post-practice trips to Fat Boy, movie nights, a lazy afternoon at Sewell pond, cooking dinners together, brunch in the Basin on Coachie’s launch, read-aloud nights, and a trip to Reid State Park. Maddy did her best to remind everyone to put on sunscreen at the beach, but despite her warnings, most beach-goers ended up with fairly terrible sunburns. Courtney particularly loved riding on the launches to the Basin and lazing around while eating lunch there.
Over the course of our training, all of the shows of support from families and friends has been amazing. Meals provided by Coachie and Edie, Maddy’s mother, Audrey’s family, Sophie’s parents, MB’s family, Steve Peck, and the Shott family were among our favorite memories of the last 3 weeks (despite delicious meals we made in our tiny kitchen in Brunswick Apartments, opportunities to enjoy home-cooked meals were greatly appreciated). Canoeing and motorboating around the lake by the Shotts’ house after a lobster dinner was a favorite experience of many rowers. Maddy loved jumping off the rope swing, while Erica thought that “Not only was the food delicious, but the scenery was absolute Maine perfection!” Audrey loved dinner at Enoteca Athena with Steve Peck, saying that her chicken parmesan was one of the best dinners she had ever had. Katie Ross’ favorite part of Henley training was the high level of support she felt from not just our food benefactors, but also the overall Bowdoin and Brunswick communities. People we meet in Hannaford, on the quad, and along the New Meadows wish us luck sincerely, and the Bowdoin housekeeping staff, despite having to work around us, have gotten particularly excited about our upcoming trip. Katie Ross feels that getting to race for the Brunswick community will be a particularly rewarding aspect of rowing in England
All in all, after an incredible training period, we’re excited for our last practice on the New Meadows tomorrow and to embark on our adventures in England. As Coachie likes to say, “Now, you just gotta go.”