During Long Leave, the Upper Boats' crews of the 1st VIII and 2nd VIII travelled to Ely, Cambridge for a weekend of racing against Cambridge crews. It was their first outing in provisionally selected crews for the benchmark race of the half, the Schools Head. On the 6km stretch of water, the 1st VIII battled against the Cambridge ‘Goldie’ crew, the University’s second VIII, and on the final day rowed alongside the Blue Boat – the University's 1st VIII – who are due to row in the Boat Race in a few weeks' time. Meanwhile, the 2nd VIII rowed against the women’s Blue Boat on Sunday morning, completing a 5km piece a few lengths ahead.

After the rowing, the boys were very lucky to visit the Cambridge Goldie boathouse and talk to the university students about rowing at Cambridge, what life is like on campus, as well as being given guidance on which courses and colleges to apply to when the times comes around. We would like to thank Cambridge University Boat Club for giving the Upper Boats the chance to use their facilities and for a terrific weekend of rowing in preparation for SHORR.

A week later, 10 Etonians were selected to compete at the GB trials in Boston, Lincolnshire, following coaching from Head Coach Mark Fangen-Hall a few days beforehand at Dorney. Five pairs of Etonians made the 3 hour journey to the 5km diagonal stretch on Friday 16th February, with a brief session to adjust to the water that only 4 of them had experienced prior to these trials.

The results of the Saturday session were positive: our top pair, of Max Ridgwell and Max Shakespeare, finishing 13th out of 40, and our next pair, of Oscar Carr-Middleton and Nathan Swidler, finishing 22nd. The next day however, with a few switches in the pairings, the results were dramatically improved, with 3 of our 5 pairs finishing in the top 20. Ridgwell and Carr-Middleton came 7th, Shakespeare and Simon Nunayon came 17th, and Swidler and Henry Pooley came 19th right behind them.

We shall soon see whose results qualify them for an invitation to the spring assessments, where the athletes invited have a chance to compete for GB at the Munich regatta at the start of the Summer Half.

Many thanks must go to Mr Fangen-Hall and Ellie Milne for taking the time to accompany the athletes to Boston.

Nathan Swidler