Athlete: Justin Ebert, bow, Men’s Varsity 8+
Year & Major: Sophomore, Classics/Economics
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, NJ
High School: Egg Harbor Township High
If I could tell my incoming teammates one thing, it would be: Puzzles are largely underestimated and generally forgotten. If you happen to have some free time, you should invest.
This morning was our last in Henley-on-Thames. I realize it has been a number of days since our last blog update, so I’ll try to recap our experience lately.
Wednesday morning we woke up and started our normal daily routine. After more than a week of practicing at the racecourse, we were looking forward to competition. Of course we were all dealing with some degree of nervousness, but the mood was positive through encouraging pre-race words from Coach B. and to our departure from the dock. In my opinion, the feel of the boat during the warm up was close to the best it had been in the last couple weeks. This gave us confidence as we made our way up the river, and then back down toward the starting platforms.
We pulled in next to Oxford-Brooks B and acquired our point down the course. A couple minutes later, an official called us to sit ready and signaled the start. The first 10-20 strokes found us with a slight advantage over Oxford-Brooks. We extended our lead and led them through the first half of the race. However, we weren’t able to maintain this. A variety of factors contributed to what ended up being one of our less-commendable second-half performances, and with what they described as their “best rowing yet this year”, Oxford-Brooks was able to push through. The verdict was 2/3 of a length.
We were all disappointed. That was blatantly obvious. We would not have the opportunity to continue competing – the reason why we had come to the regatta. It took us a little while to deal with that reality.
However, we did learn that our race posted the two fastest times of the day for the Temple Cup. This simply means that while our performance against our particular opponent that day did not merit advancement in the competition, we were a competitive crew. Our race with Oxford-Brooks was without question the most competitive of our event for the day. In fact, our times remained the fastest for the Temple Cup for the next two days.
The remainder of the week has been filled with lots of time watching races at the course and cheering for our crew of choice (U.S. boats when possible). Yesterday a few of us were able to see a number of events for which new course records were set – and that’s pretty sweet if you ask me. When not at the course, different groups of the team spent time at local pubs, in Lego Land, at Windsor Castle, on a homemade, row-able lawn/picnic table, and at a rope swing on the Thames, among other things. Personally, my favorite time was just sitting together on the patio behind the Row Barge (pub), chatting and enjoying our last evening in Henley-on-Thames.
Our trip to Henley was dosed with a bit of disappointment this year. None of us expected the result, and all had hoped to continue further. But even in spite of this, I can say that the members of the Laker Navy made the most of their time in England. I don’t think I speak only for myself when I say that the memories I have been able to make here with my teammates are invaluable to me. The trip, beginning to end, was defined by good moods, a lot of laughter, and some adventures in some really cool places – especially as the area relates to our sport.
I can’t express thoroughly enough the gratitude that we feel toward any who have contributed to our Henley Trip 2013. Thank you.