HRR Update Twelve

HRR Update Twelve, from 51.5358° N, 0.9029° W

Sebastien Simko, a rising fourth year and stroke of the four (the later, bucketed edition) has written today’s post. As our trip is in the final stages, we will only have a handful of more posts to come.

By now many of you know that our run here at Henley 2017 has come to its end. On Wednesday the four boat raced and were defeated by Colgate University and the eight dueled Goldie. I believe I speak for most of us when I say we were truly honored to race such universities that could push us until the end; requiring each one of us to make the most of our technique and power application. The eight fought their own tough battle that day and successfully beat Goldie, Cambridge’s development squad, with a good bit of open water.

With good energy still flowing through our team we were ready to see what Day 2 of Henley could bring our eight as they battled against Santa Clara University. A tight finish, the eight lost by only a few feet after fighting all the way down the course. As you can imagine it was a rough time for all of us on the sidelines, but even rougher for our friends in the boat.

The eight gathered with Frank in the boat tent

Many crews hold onto the losses so tightly they forget to make the most of their experiences, but Virginia Rowing did something remarkable. As we put away oars, I looked towards the boat rack and saw the eight and our coach, Frank Biller, huddled together. At the official end of our long 2016-2017 race season there is nothing but joy from all ten of them because they know the dedication and effort they have given this team has brought them this far. Although I am sure they are sad to be done racing, for some of them their last time rowing with Virginia, they will carry on knowing they gave their all for one another. Until the very end, our eight fought for every inch and they can be content with what they left on that course and carry it, and the everything else they have gained as a part of Virginia Rowing, with them for the rest of their lives.

So what next? With our races at their end, we will hang out in Henley for a couple more days until our flight home early Monday morning. Although for some, the adventuring does not stop here as we’ll leave them here for more exploring  Some of us rowers will travel throughout Europe before starting working later this summer. A few guys will travel together through several countries and others with their families that have journeyed over here, for what I am sure is a well-deserved vacation. The rest of us will return home to our families and friends who have been waiting an entire semester to have us back. I for one am excited to return home and be with the people who have supported my endeavors with VMR because without them I know that much of what I do would not be possible. As our program says, “entitled to nothing, grateful for everything”.

It will be hard to adjust to a new schedule without my team for the next two months, but I know we all have places to be and things to do for ourselves. I am grateful for the month we have spent together working for this regatta because it brought something special to each and every one of us. Lastly, thank you to Frank Biller for making this experience what it was because we know that without our coach we would not have had such an opportunity. Thank you as well to Papa Biller for all of your support here.

If you’d like to see more of our adventure, you can also follow our travels on twitter (@VirginiaRowing) and instagram (@vmensrowing).