SCBC assembled a strong crew for Qergs, with 5 Mays W1/M1 crew members and an assortment of strong up and coming crew members. Historically, results had been mixed,
so this year we went out with a point to prove. Hector started first, with a strong sub 1:30
split, followed by Charlie Cullen, former CULRC president, who pulled a blisteringly fast
1:25.3 to put SCBC well in contention. This was followed by our newest SCBC member,
Ellen, who also did a very fast time along with Aimee, to consolidate our position amongst
the rest of the competing teams. This was followed up by Women’s Captain Maria as well
as Jenny, both of whom are 2x Mays W1 rowers, who did 1:44.5 and 1:46.3 respectively.
The gauntlet was set then for Men’s Captain Harry and 3x Mays M1 rower and current
President Charlie Nye. Harry put the hammer down and smashed out 1:24.9, while Charlie
did an impressive 1:26.6. Overall, Selwyn finished 5th out of 12 in the rankings, much improving upon their result from last year.
Author: Harry Prudden (Men’s Captain, 2016-2017)
With the new boathouse now in full operation, we interview our boatman Roland. Roland started his role in 2013. Like all Selwyn staff he is very supportive of our athletes, and his (often behind the scenes) work is an integral part of the working of our Club and boathouse.
SCBC: What made you apply to become the new boathouse manager?
Roland: I’d been running a business for twenty years and we needed a change. I’ve always been around the local rowing club, wherever I’ve been, and I had a lot of fun rowing at Fitz in the late seventies/ early eighties, oh and my wife wanted me out from under her feet.
SCBC: Your many roles and work is often behind the scenes. Could you tell us a bit about your role as boathouse manager?
Roland: There is space for near enough a hundred boats in the boathouse, I could spend all my time repairing rigger rash. I try to apportion my time fairly between the clubs, and I try to get a feel for what I can do to help the different clubs move forward, and have a thought for the lower boats, people who are new to the sport don’t know when something isn’t working right. Of course in the last year I have emptied out the workshop and store room and now replaced everything, and tried to keep a rowers eye on the new building. I don’t let myself be restricted by my job description, but there is only so much time in a day. I do try to keep coaches (and the master i/c rowing) sane, that’s certainly not in the description.
SCBC: Tell us about the new boathouse, especially your workshop? Any cool new tools?
Roland: Well there is room to put a boat, light, and ventilation, if not a lot of heat, so for most of the year it will be a good place to work on boats. We all hope the boathouse and the training room will encourage people to try rowing and become better at it, but the interesting question is how the new environment will affect the organisations, will we be stimulated or distracted?
SCBC: Are you a rower yourself? What is your Cambridge background?
Roland: I’m off to the Rhine Marathon for the seventh time in October, a fair way short of Chris Lloyd’s record, and sharp eyes might have noticed City 7 in the town bumps was a (not hugely successful) Billygoats crew. I was generally a steady rather than a spectacularly successful rower. I did row one year in the trial eights race, my being dumped immediately after was overshadowed by Richard Budgett being left out of the blue boat, but the Fitz crew (stroked by another CU reject) did get to the Saturday of Henley.
SCBC: When not fixing our boats, how do you spend your free time?
Roland: Last week we were exploring the upper reaches of the rivers of Norfolk in a canoe. My home is in Northumberland, my wife runs the cinema in Hexham. When I get back I don’t do a lot more than watch a film, see a Hexham debate and chill out.
SCBC: Why is Selwyn your favourite Club in the boathouse?
Roland: You can’t ask that! OK, it’s a love/hate thing. Generally Selwyn has the most charming people, and there’s a great feeling that getting out rowing is something to be enjoyed. I’m hoping for a change from, ‘we did the best we could under the circumstances’ to ‘we got our act together and nailed it’. Certainly the boys last term made that shift and were magnificent, but it’s one thing doing that for a crew, another to get the feeling throughout a club. Good at keeping boats clean, bad at shutting doors, you’re a conundrum, but always great fun to work with.
SCBC: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We can’t wait for Michaelmas Term!
SCBC: Tell us about your SCBC past. How did you get into rowing and what are your favourite SCBC memories?
HARRY: My college dad was Tom Gibb, who I think was the Club Captain at the time. I’m pretty sure I had committed to novicing by the end family formal (shortly before we carried him back to his room). My 1st term as a senior garnered a spectacular set of Lents spoons in M3 – This was only partly redeemed by going up 3 into second division with M2 in Mays the same year, rowing the course 7 times and ending up only a dozen places behind M1.
From that point I rowed M2 for the rest of my time at SCBC (4 years in total!). In my final term I gave M1 my best shot, but seat racing through the locks put me in the 5th bow side seat and ended my SCBC blazer aspirations. Ironically, this was probably the best outcome for my rowing, as it gave me the motivation to keep rowing when I graduated!
SCBC: When you graduated, you continued rowing? How hard was the transition? What kept you going? Where are you rowing now?
HARRY: When I graduated I moved to Oxford to work in one of the Science Parks. Having decided that after 4 years of rowing I needed to get at least one vaguely notable result, I went down to City of Oxford Rowing Club (AKA CORC) that September. Without really knowing what I was doing I signed up to their ‘Tier 1’ squad, which aims to race at Henley Royal Regatta.
Transitioning from SCBC M2 to a squad that trains 4 days during the week and does a minimum 24k on the water both Saturday and Sunday was a pretty big step, as was a training season that lasts 9 months as opposed to three 8 week blocks.
The coaching was (and is) excellent (“I can only really coach the lowest common denominator, and right now that is you”) and 7 Months later when we beat 23 other crews to win IM3 4+s at Wallingford regatta, I guess some of it had stuck.
SCBC: This is your second year competing at the Henley Royal Regatta. What is special about Henley? Do you think Selwyn should continue it’s drive to qualify crews to the Regatta?
HARRY: It’s actually my 4th! And really, it is the chance to race at Henley that keeps my coming back – racing against the best club crews from around the world at probably the best organised rowing event in the world is fantastic. Having Pinsent umpire your first race with Redgrave in the starters tent is pretty cool as well!
For Selwyn, I think the HRR qualifying races are one of the best ways to see where your crew stands on the national stage. Even if you aren’t sure you will qualify, the chance to race down the historic HRR course is not to be missed!
SCBC: Tell us about your races this year? What are your goals for next season?
HARRY: We raced a lot this year – we did all the sweep tideway heads and put in a half decent 8s head performance (79th with a LOT of injuries – only down 14 places from the year before). It came together a bit better for regatta season with a win in the Open Club 4s event at Wallingford – 3 years on from my first win there! We were a second off a win at Nottingham City in IM1 4+ a couple of weeks later and after switching to the VIII we made the C final of the Championship 8s at Met Regatta – both notable achievements!
I’m the fittest I’ve ever been (2k PB a couple of months ago), next season we have a lot of returners and hopefully our good result at Henley this year will mean some good new comers – maybe a Friday next year?
SCBC: Any final words?
HARRY: Don’t be afraid to go down to your local club when you graduate! Rowing after university is great fun and who knows – we may end up on the Henley start line together!
SCBC: Thank you. We wish you all the best! Keep the Selwyn spirit high.
After gaining three whistles in the final day of Mays last year, but failing to finish the job, Selwyn M1 went out with a vengeance to get that day one bump on Magdalene. Aware of our strong performance in Cambridge racing this term, Magdalene went off quickly and kept us on station through to the Gut. To our dismay they caught Churchill right before Grassy, and we were forced to row past the two crews listening to the loud and emphatic cheers of Magdalene, with the sudden realisation we would not get the day one bump on them we had been hoping for all year.
However, we had settled into a strong race pace and were determined not to go home empty handed. Having started six and a half lengths away from Christ’s, who were three places ahead of us, the gap had already closed to four. We chased them through Grassy, past the Plow and onto the Reach. By this point the gap had narrowed to two lengths and we knew the over-bump was in sight. Our cox called for our race move, allowing us to hit another gear and move into Christs at the fast rate we had all race. One whistle quickly turned to three and before we knew it we had overlap. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly for the crew, our cox slammed on the rudder as he went for bump in the second half the reach, causing us to face the bank. Having been a length away no more than ten seconds ago, confusion quickly turned into cheers as we realised we had just got the first division one over-bump in 13 years. Our focus now turns to the remaining three days of our campaign, and we are eager to bring home for bumps for Selwyn!
Robert Galbenu Men’s Captain 2016
Our very own Charlie Cullen will be leading the Cambridge Lightweights in this Sundays Henley Boatraces.GO CHARLIE!
See our exclusive interview:
SCBC: How did you get into rowing?
Charlie: I started rowing at school in Norwich, when I was about 15 and just did more and more every year.
SCBC: Do you have any nicknames?
SCBC: What has been your best moment at SCBC?
Charlie: May Bumps, of course, has to be the highlight of anyone’s rowing year. Staying away from Robinson in my first year with overlap for about a kilometre was a really strong memory.
SCBC: What was the greatest challenge as lightweight president?
Charlie: I think the hardest part of being President has been trying to set an example when you really want to take your foot off the gas. All in all it’s been incredibly rewarding and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
SCBC: What’s been your best moment with the Lightweights?
Charlie: Every year just before the race we row our boat from Ely to Cambridge through the locks. It’s quite an exciting trip and a great tradition – it really brings the season to a fitting end.
SCBC: WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR THE RACE ON SUNDAY. GDBO!
We introduce and interview our athletes who will lead and present our College on the water in Lent bumps (Feb 23-26). Selwyn athletes not only perform on the water, but are also great students and researchers.
SCBC: “Why did you decide to start rowing?”
Nigel “Two of my cousins had previously rowed when they were both at Cambridge. One at Sidney Sussex and the other at Downing. They had always told me that it was great fun. After watching the detailed coverage of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, I was hooked. I signed up.”
SCBC: “What’s your work and research about?”
Nigel: “ I am working for the European Space Agency (ESA) to develop Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS devices) for use in space satellites. Specifically and simplistically, I am developing a tiny (micro-scale) ohmic (metal-to-metal) contact MEMS switch that will replace older and bulkier electromagnetic relays that are currently in use. Employing traditional lithography fabrication techniques along with more novel approaches, such as inkjet printing and shape memory alloys (SMAs), as well as new materials and composites, such as diamond-like-carbon (DLC) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs), a reliable device may be realised.”
SCBC: “Thank you. We wish you and your crew a fab lead up to Lents in two weeks!”
Photo credits: Aleka Gürel