Queen’s Ergs

NW1 before our first race!
NW1 before our first race! (Also, my phone ran out of batteries right before we started warming up, so I have no pictures of my own ūüė¶ .)

Wow, this has been a busy week! I spent a lot of it mentally exhausted from trying to keep track of everything I was doing, all the stuff I’m planning to do in the next, oh, two and half months, and getting places on time and with my full working brain so that I could actually be productive. I decided to split things up into a short-ish, rowing-focused post, followed by a longer one tomorrow about the rest of the week’s adventures (involving meeting the Master, threading¬†a 50-micron needle, and a many-hour cross-country odyssey of epic proportions).

The Queen's Ergs room setup. The big screen is just out of frame on the right. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
The Queen’s Ergs room setup. The big screen is just out of frame on the right. Photo: Amanda Chen.

The first major event was Queen’s Ergs, AKA Quergs, a 4000m erg competition held at Queen’s College. Colleges enter teams of 8 rowers, each of whom complete a 500m sprint on their team’s erg, with 20 seconds of switching time between competitors. It’s all held in a big room surrounded by a viewing balcony with a screen showing the relative positions of all the “boats,” and you pretty much can’t hear anything during the competition because every single team has¬†between two (if it’s just the coach/captain and cox) and nine (if it’s also the rest of the boat) people surrounding their erg, screaming their heads off.

Me on the erg, with team and timing official. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
Me on the erg, with team and timing official. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.

My boat got to compete in a preliminary heat in order to see whether or not we would make the top twelve and move on to the novice women’s final. We actually came in second in our heat, which was really exciting, but meant that we had several hours of waiting before our next race. The second novice women’s boat had a straight final competition, which was very fun to watch. It was really impressive to see how well everyone did despite the fact that we haven’t really been working on fitness very much yet, just rowing technique and staying together. NW2 came in 6th, which was pretty cool.

My housemte/literal next-door neighbor Amanda competing for NW2, displaying one of the many excellent pain faces seen throughout the night. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
My housemte/literal next-door neighbor Amanda competing for NW2, displaying one of the many excellent pain faces seen throughout the night. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
NW2 getting psyched. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
NW2 getting psyched. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.

Right before the novice women’s final was the final for senior mixed-gender crews, which Churchill won! (Some would say on a technicality, as we basically tied with Selwyn.) So that was a good way to get psyched up for our final, although watching it meant that we didn’t warm up very much. We ended up getting 6th in the final, with a faster time than our qualifier. While obviously not as exciting as a win, I think we did very well considering that most of us had never touched an erg before a few weeks ago! Our first race in an actual boat is next Sunday, and I’m simultaneously really excited and really nervous for it, but generally pretty optimistic.

Paula on the erg for the anchor (last) leg, everyone else either yelling or checking our  position. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
Paula on the last leg of the erg, everyone else yelling or checking our place. Photo: Giorgio Divitini.
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