On a climactic day on 10th February, 548 crews gathered in south-west London for the Hampton large boats head. The gruelling course of 3.4km was filled with harsh bends along the river Thames and choppy waves from start to finish. What didn’t help the rowers were the conditions as the temperature didn’t reach above 4 degrees. The category’s varied significantly from rowers who had only started in September to crews who had recently rowed as part of team GB.

The day was split into two divisions and the first race of the day began at 10am. The rain fell down on many spectators who lined along  the Surrey bank in Hurst Park. This was a chance for every boat to build momentum before the much anticipated schools head on March 12th between Barnes and Hammersmith, a very similar course to the famous boat race. Overall, Eton won gold in the J18 eights with an incredible time of under 8 minutes. Although the Hampton first boat will be happy to hear they were only three seconds off the pace.

In the J15 category, there was an upset which saw Kings college school win the competition over favourites Westminster and Hampton school. Nick Thomas was part of the Hampton J15 eights crew who finished second in their category. ‘Looking back on the race I know that we have not yet unleashed our full potential. It was our first chance of the racing season to compare against our rivals from last year such as Westminster and St Pauls. I can’t wait to race again soon and show how hard we have worked to beat these other crews’.