Anyone who rowed at Selwyn any time up to the year before last will remember the joy of erg sessions in the old gym. I wasn’t sentimental enough about it to take pictures then, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I describe it: a converted garage (converted in the sense that there were no cars in it any more- not much was changed apart from that) equipped with three ergs and a few weights. The air conditioning was easy to operate: in winter, when the mirrors started to steam up, you opened the door. In summer, the garage doors could be pushed up and the ergs dragged out towards the pavement for a little more in the way of air circulation. The audio system consisted of the slightly-broken speakers someone, at some point, had left behind, which worked if you plugged the audio jack into your phone/ipod/whatever and then used the weights to hold the cable in place at exactly the right angle.
Lo and behold, though, after many months of Cripps Court inhabitants being woken up at by drills and hammering, we had a new gym, which we’ve now enjoyed for a full year. Sure, there are a few downsides- the low ceiling means that if you’re over 6ft, you should steer clear of the cross-trainer- but all in all it’s been a massive improvement. For one thing, erging is no longer the only fitness option for Selwynites, as we now have a treadmill, cross-trainer and stationary bikes, and the range of weight-training equipment has been expanded in a big way.
It’s a far cry from the sometimes claustrophobic, cave-like confines of the old gym, and it’s size and range of equipment means that more than two people can actually train at once. The internet TV and speakers also mean that, despite the sign on the door prohibiting amplified music- apologies to any Selwyn porters reading this- we can blast the music we need to get us through yet another 6k erg. Or, if you’re me, you can move an erg into the middle of the room and watch Death in Paradise.