By combining the Colts and Senior groups in January, we started with two trial eights for the first time in several years. These two crews went out together only once or twice, but it was good to see competition for places. A so-called 2nd VIII emerged from these beginnings. It was in fact mostly Colts B (as the 1st VIII contained several J16 boys), but the crew also had on board some older personnel, including a J19 oarsman. What a mixture! The mix did in fact gel, and a good crew spirit developed, even if training and racing were undertaken only in a fairly gentle way. The results at the Schools Head and the Head of the River Race only confirmed the coach's assessment that the crew was extremely slow. Races cannot be won if training is minimal and lacking determination.
Despite all the problems, the crew came to Nantes, and made some progress, even after two members of the crew announced (just before the first outing on the Erdre) that they were opting out of rowing in the Summer.
The crew was re-formed as a J16 crew for the Summer Term, and were entered for the J16B VIIIs event at National Schools. Despite an underlying lack of speed, they got through the first round, and came 4th in the final. After that, thte some of the crew went to the Henley crew, and the remainder melted away frfom the river. It was a pity that potential experience was not gained at this stage of the year, because several members of the crew will be back next year, and their latent talents will be welcomed in the top crew of 2004.