Women's Eight Head of the River Race

Press – Inspired new rowers

Poplar, Blackwall and District novices strive for Olympic spirit

Continuing our series of articles focussing on some of the people and crews that were inspired to take up rowing following seeing the Olympics last summer, we now feature Poplar, Blackwall and District Rowing Club. They are a novice club crew who took up rowing for the first time in September 2012 as part of Poplar’s Learn to Row Course. They range in age from early twenties to late fifties, training alongside busy jobs and families.

Crew member Sara Brewer writes “The Olympics were, and are, incredibly inspirational for all would-be rowers and this year especially for the women rowers I feel.  Katherine Grainger’s gutsy performance showed us the importance of not giving up but to go for each race with only one possibility in mind, going for gold.  But even more than that is the fact that this is inextricably bound up with teamwork, the fact that you only succeed as a team and that no matter how good an individual might be if there is no cohesion there is no crew.  Apart from the joy of the sport, it was this realisation of the importance of the crew as an entity which had such an impact on me and nowhere was this more apparent than in the Olympics.  We are not Olympians but we aspire to reach that spirit and if you asked each of us what our main driving force is ahead of the WEHoRR, I suspect it would be that we do not want to let our fellow crew members down but each wants to do our best for our Crew and our Club.”

For one of the other rowers, Miranda Housden, the Olympics provided just the right stimulus to actually get out onto the water. “I was first inspired by rowing 8 years ago, when two of London’s Watermen took me on a speedboat to see the Doggett’s Coat and Badge race on the Thames. After being very involved in the development of the Olympics with the Institution of Civil Engineers, I decided to sign up with Poplar.”

The crew have been brought together by their coach Chris Kendall, and had their first race at Greenwich Head a couple of weeks ago. They will be hoping to build on that experience for their row at the WEHoRR where they start 262nd.