WOMEN OF SCBC: Eleanor Salter (SE 2015)


We introduce and interview our athletes who will lead and present our College on the water in Lent bumps (Feb 23-26). Following portraits of Selwyn women to mark 40 years of co-education, here the SCBC version: Eleanor Salter

SCBC: “What’s your favorite rowing memory?”

Eleanor: “When we were rowing in Emma Sprints, it was our first proper race as a novice crew, and our cox, Maria, repeatedly shouted, “We’re gaining! We’re gaining!” to try and make sure that we would keep going, despite the fact that we were emphatically not gaining. It was just very funny, and she said it way too many times for it to be real. It was a ridiculous race.”

SCBC: “We wish you and your squad all the best in the run up to Lent bumps!”

Photo credits: Aleka Gurel

From SCBC to Tromso, Norway

An interview with SCBC alumnus Nick Tyler.


SCBC: You are an SCBC alum. When did you row? What did you win and what is your happiest memory from the boat club?

NT: I went to the fresher’s cocktail party … and never looked back.

SCBC was undermanned.  There were a few star oarsmen – Charlie Laurie rowed for Goldie and Mike Wells was a blue – but talent was a molecular monolayer (a phrase I learned in Part II Biochemistry).  So, I, a complete novice, ended up in the 1st Lent VIII.  Amazingly, I was selected for the 1st May VIII and, no less amazingly, we went up two places (bumped Clare I and Emmanuel I and got within a whisker of Jesus I, too). 

In my second year I was Secretary of SCBC.  Rowed in the 1st VIII in the Lents – grim – and in the 2nd VIII in the Mays – excellent!  We were as fast as the 1st VIII or, if we weren’t, there wasn’t much in it.  They had a wretched time; we went up a division and made five bumps. First oar.  Nice. I was Vice-captain SCBC in my third year.  We were 3rd fastest in the Fairbairns and won our oars in the Lents (bumped Downing I, 1st & 3rd I, Caius I and Clare I).  Second oar.  Nice.  The May VIII was the best I ever rowed in.  We made one bump and ended fifth on the River.  Very nice.

SCBC: Ice rowing is becoming more and more popular (link). Are you an active rower still? How do you stay in shape these days?

NT: I’ve hardly rowed since – though I have sculling boat here in Tromsø where I live – but those days were simply glorious.  Memories and friends for life. 

I stay in shape by drinking gin and tonic: haven’t had a single bout of malaria to date.  (Oh, summer fieldwork in Svalbard helps, too: we do a LOT of walking.)

SCBC: Can you tell us a bit about your work as a reindeer scientist?

NT: In my third year – now in Part II Biochem. – I met Andrew Laurie who was at Selwyn writing up his work on greater one horned rhinoceros in Nepal.  I was captivated.  Mammal ecology for me – and, having no relevant training at all, I was too ignorant to realise what impossible odds I faced in making a career in this field.

Incredibly, I found a project (population ecology of Svalbard reindeer) and money to support both it and me.  Even more luckily, I found a supervisor at Cambridge (Professor Peter Jewell) and so, having graduated in 1977, by 1979 I was back at Selwyn. 

Population ecology is NOT a topic for a PhD (unless you do invertebrates or small mammals and hardly even then) but no one seemed unduly worried as I kept on shuttling between Cambridge and Svalbard (except my parents, but they said little, bless them).  In 1985 I got a post at the University of Tromsø, wrote the last two chapters of my thesis here … and have been here ever since.  I love my work as I loved SCBC: quite different, both of them, but each is infinitely rewarding.

The 1977 Lent Bumps crew with Nick (went up four places)

SCBC: How do you go from Selwyn to Tromso, Norway?

NT: Bicycle to Drummer St., bus to Heathrow and aeroplane the rest of the way.

SCBC: In your picture you are wearing a “1st May wrap”. What is this and would you like SCBC to reintroduce it?

NT: Wraps are big scarfs made of single-ply wool.  You’ll have seen them around the necks of blues.  Those persons who are awarded SCBC 1st VIII colours are entitled to wear a wrap: maroon for 1st Lent and Old Gold for 1st May colours, respectively.  Mine are treasured possessions.  A chum of mine had his car stolen: he didn’t care a fig for the car but he was bitterly disappointed to lose his wrap.  Some things insurance companies cannot make good.

SCBC: Finally, can you confirm that Rudolph and everyone is well at the Northpole? Are Christmas preparations well on their way?

NT: Well, the population of reindeer I study is now about 70% bigger than it’s average size when I started 37 years ago so, in a sense, they are doing fine.  In fact, that’s quite impressive because so many of the climate change enthusiasts predicted that winter warming would bring reindeer populations to their knees.  Hasn’t happened yet …


Well done SCBC Alumns at Fairbairns!


Race Report, Fairbairns Cup, Alumni VIII.

A.P. Custard, sometime guest editor of Kiwi, sent us this report


“All eight sitting ready, this is it guys, we’re going to do it…”

In the crisp blue sky and golden sunshine of a Cambridge winter morning, the grizzled (sorry Penny & Clare) veterans of Selwyn’s Alumni VIII wound it to 30 once more, in aid of the Boat House appeal.

Form and fitness found for the Boston Marathon and honed over three outings since, they would now be tested not just against the ravages of time and un-reliability of memory but other invitational and, most worryingly, current college crews. A rolling start from Jesus flagpole may not provoke in Boaties of any age the pavlovian, pulse-quickening reaction of hearing the Bumps’ one minute canon, but, by then, the realisation had dawned on even the most gung-ho of them that 4300m was quite a long way and might be quite hard work…

Any hope they would be an endearing novelty was not to be; there is already a growing body of other alumni crews: Black Prince (First & Third), Lord Protector (Sidney Sussex), Cross Keys (Peterhouse), Crustaceans (Christ’s), to name a few –they were a lone mixed crew in a sea (well, river) of MAMILs and EMILs (elderly men in lycra)…


Unsparingly coxed by current SCBC overall captain, Teresa Baron, who steered a fine racing line, the stern pair of youth and experience in Robin Hellen and Huw Champion, middle four of Alex Goold, Hugh Wood, Richard Ingram and immediate past SCBC captain, Nick Jones, in the ejector seat, and the bow pair of Clare Heppenstall and Penelope Jarrett, had what can only be described as a very solid, very gutsy and very committed race, from start to finish. Ably supported by the all ginger bank party of John Pritchard and Jeremy Broadis, they powered 10 for Selwyn before winding again at the P&E, powered 10 at the Railway Bridge to “seriously gun it” along the Reach, before winding again at the Plough, giving it one more power 10 for First Post Corner and leaving it all out on the water by the Motorway Bridge –luckily, they also kept going for the finish at the Little Bridge!

15th out of 16 invitational crews tells only part of the story. With a time of 17 mins 44 (avg 2.03.7) and a very strong field, (fastest men’s VIII 13 mins 49, slowest women’s VIII at 19 mins 46), they can feel justifiably proud even to be mixing it in such elite company.

“A massive well done, you really kept it together; that was so impressive…”

I’m betting they’ll be back next year.

Here is our heroes’ crew list:

Teresa Baron (current Overall Captain)
Alexander Goold  (SE 1989)
Huw Champion (SE 1966)
Robin Hellen (SE 2003)
Nick Jones
(SE 2015 tbc)
Clare Heppenstall
(SE 1984)
Penelope Jarrett
(SE 1980)
Hugh Wood (SE 1988)
Richard Ingram (SE 1988)
John Pritchard (SE 1988)
Jeremy Broadis (SE 1988) all photo credits to you! THANKS!

SCBC do yoga

New to SCBC this term: Yoga For Rowers!

Timarie Chan has led us in four beginners sessions of yoga focusing on areas most beneficial for rowers, having worked with CUBC in the past and now with us and a couple of other college boat clubs. In the last few weeks, we’ve been working on flexibility in the legs and back and stability in the core, and we’re already starting to see the difference in the boat- a little more flexibility in the rock-over, a little more control around the catch (and while holding your entire body up on your hands isn’t essential for rowing, it’s a great party trick.)

It’s been a great opportunity for our men and women to have time training together, and we’ve also been joined by some non-boaties from around college. After the success of this term, we intend to make yoga a permanent weekly fixture next year.


Selwyn W1 do Uni IVs


From left to right: Maria, Amy, Aleka, Teresa, Jenny

This term, the Selwyn women’s senior squad are doing everything in IVs- working in IVs has been fantastic for our technique and our responsibility in the boat (you can’t slack off if there’s only 3 other people pushing!) Our first race of term was University IVs, and it was certainly an interesting one. While we’d done plenty of practice pieces, we hadn’t yet done a complete bridge-to-bridge piece before the race, and only realised the day before the race that we hadn’t done any starts. We quickly put one together and practiced on the way up for marshalling, and showed it off in front of our competition as we rowed up to Baitsbite Lock. Our first race was against Queens; it started somewhat unexpectedly (no one had told the umpire he should count down before the whistle) and we managed to quickly widen the gap between us and Queens W1, heading into a power 10 straight out of the start sequence. We lost Queens at First Post Corner and held our distance out, only catching sight of them again when we were half-way down the reach; they started to gain on us a little out on the straight stretch of water but not enough, and we held them off all the way down to the finish post.

Through to the semi-finals, our next race a couple of days later was against Emmanuel W1. Our starting positions were reversed from the previous race, so we were chasing Emma (we had been chased by Queens in the first race). We had an excellent row up to the lock to marshal, including ‘the best start we’ve ever done’ according to our stroke, and got into position to begin the race- unfortunately another unexpected start caught us mid-adjustment, but we managed to recover fairly well and get the boat moving, launching into a power 10 under the motorway bridge. We had a consistent and gutsy race but Emma were the faster crew and beat us solidly- sad for us, but good practice for our next race.

Our next race is Winter Head on Saturday 14th November, along with W2- wish us luck!

Selwyn alumni go for a paddle…


As part of the annual Selwyn old boys’ and old girls’ weekend, which also happened to coincide with this year’s Henley Fund meeting, we thought it would be a great idea to organise an SCBC alumni outing. By some stroke (pardon the pun) of luck (or a spectacular feat of organisation by Emily), we ended up with perfect numbers to take out a men’s VIII and a women’s IV, with coxes.

The men, coxed by current Overall Captain, Teresa Baron, pushed off and headed downriver to the lock. Despite never having rowed as a crew together before, they had a great paddle to lock and back up to the P&E, adding in some technical drills here and there, and even doing some piecing when the water was clear of novices.


The women, meanwhile, pushed off the hard and paddled upstream past the boathouses and spun at Jesus Lock. It was only then that we realised we’d placed ourselves right at the centre of novice carnage… However, Emily Hopkinson (SE 2008) coxed us expertly through the meandering novice VIIIs (ignoring the occasional shout of “Selwyn, no!”) and swiftly got us onto the Reach, where we bumped (not literally) into the men and decided to organise a race…

Both crews did a standing start from the spinning zone at the bottom of the Long Reach, the women starting some 100m ahead of the men (just to even the odds…), and set off towards the Railway Bridge, which had been deemed the finish line. About halfway through the race, the men started edging out into the centre of the river for an overtake, but the women held them off all the way to the bridge (which may have been due to an oncoming novice crew forcing the men to wind it down, but essentially the ladies won….actually: Selwyn won!).

All in all, it was a great morning (despite the weather) and although it may have been a painful reminder of what blisters feel like, and how unfit many of us are, everyone had lots of fun and hopefully we can do the same next year!

Crews: Emily Hopkinson (SE 2008), Penelope Jarrett (SE1980), Moira Kelly (SE2008), Lizzie Robinson (current), Clare Happenstall (SE 1984), Teresa Baron (current), Robin Hellen (SE2003), Huw Champion (SE1966), Alexander Goold (SE1989), Christian Vaquero  (SE2009), Dave Barton (SE 2009), James Robinson (SE2008), Matthias Beestermoeller (SE2008),


Exciting times for the boat club… A report from the Permanent Henley Fund‘s Annual Meeting

The SCPHF Committee

Last weekend, the current boat club officers met with the Permanent Henley Fund’s committee to discuss current and future events of the Club and how the Henley Fund can help facilitate SCBC success on the water. We had a very enjoyable meeting with alumni from across the generations.

For those not present we are happy to share some insights from our meeting:

  • The boathouse rebuilding is in full swing, and expected completion is at the end of April 2016. WE PLAN A BIG REOPENING PARTY, the date of details of which we will announce shortly.
  • We will publish a calendar of events with all SCBC and SCBC alumni highlights to plan around. We are planning a gathering at the Boat Race.
  • The Henley Fund is committed to improve the facilities of rowing where it can and where possible and necessary. The meeting reviewed the boat refurbishment plans to ensure our equipment is maintained to a high standard. Furthermore the Henley Fund will fund the purchase of two new erg handles for the gym and a new set of cox box headsets.
  • We continue to financially support SCBC coaches and support SCBC’s activity off the water and on training camps off the Cam.
  • We will organize yet another alumni outing at next year’s Selwyn alumni sports weekend. Recent and very recent boat club alumni are especially welcome to come along and see how much fitness they still have.
  • Following the achievement of last year’s men’s first VIII we plan to take ownership of a second hand Simms boat.
  • We are working to renew our sponsorship deal.
  • We invite all SCBC alumni especially recent leavers to stay in touch and follow us on Facebook. We will continue to post actively about alumni events, activities of the boat club and the work of the Henley Fund!

So there is indeed lots happening… Would you like to get involved to support our current generation of rowers? Do you have suggestion for improvement for our alumni work? Anything else? We would love to hear from you. Do not hesitate to get in touch (matthias.beestermoeller [ at ] econ.lmu.de)

We wish SCBC all the best for the current season. Keep working hard! Everyone rows hard on race day, SCBC rows hard always!

Selwyn Alumni – Boston Marathon 2015


Following last week’s email – I’m delighted to report that the Boston Rowing Marathon 2015 was successfully completed with a gutsy and determined performance by a very impressive Selwyn crew.  To read more about just how they did – and to show your respect and appreciation for their efforts on behalf of the new Selwyn Boathouse – visit https://www.justgiving.com/SelwynBoatHouseAppeal/

And to inspire your generous sponsorship – former rower and alum John Farr (SE 1951) has kindly offered to match pound for pound every donation that is made  up to a total of £15,000!  Thank you John. Gift Aid is collected directly by Just Giving – so a £20 donation becomes £25.00 and is then matched £ for £ to become £50.00!  Not a bad return!

So please – help us to raise at least £30,000 in aid of the new Boat House and the provision of better facilities for the next generation of Selwyn rowers.

(NB The Just Giving page has been set up by my colleague Andrew Flather – Development Officer – so don’t be put off if you see his name.  But all those who support – and please give your names – will be recorded in the next issue of the Selwyn Annual Report).

Just to remind you – the aching backs and blistered hands belong to:

The Crew

Huw Champion (SE 1966)

Robin Hellen (SE 2003)

Hugh Wood (SE 1988)

Matt Sloan (SE 1988)

Penelope Jarrett (SE 1980)

Peter Jones (SE 2004)

Clare Heppenstall (SE 1984)

Alexander Goold (SE 1989)


Lizzy Johnstone (SE)

Logistical and Moral Support

Robin Heppenstall (SE 1956)

All the best

Mike Nicholson – Development Director

Goodbye Garage – a look at Selwyn’s new gym

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. IMG_2421

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.

IMG_2422In my opinion, all it needs now is a webcam- something to reduce the number of times I head over there to erg, only to find that the whole of M1 has taken over the gym….

Selwyn Alumni train for Boston Marathon

Alumni outing next to our about to be demolished boathouse
Alumni outing next to our about to be demolished boathouse

‘A number of male and female alumni from across several decades foolishly answered the summons to row the Boston Marathon, some of us before realizing that it wasn’t in glamorous Boston Massachussets but in fact a 31 mile slog across the fens from Lincoln to Boston with nothing but a bank on either side to look at for 4 and a half hours.

For any reader of this blog our leader Huw Champion will need no introduction, as he bestrides A P McEldowney’s history of the club from 1882 to 1974 (mainly in the latter years mind) like a colossus. McEldowney charted his impact from arriving in 1966 and ‘working beaver-like on the lower boats’ through to rowing with the men he’d trained in prior years to win oars in the 1st Division in the 1969 Mays. Terrifying to think he’d done all that before I came bawling into the world about a month later. I feel too old to be doing this, while its his 45th (?) Boston marathon and I think he’s the only person not terrified at what he’s let himself in for.

We first gathered on 28th June at the Portacabins by what used to be the boathouse, and enjoyed the kind of sunny limpid Cam day an alumni’s memories are made of! The way we sat it would have been remarkable, if not for the fact we never plucked up the courage to go all eight rowing and kept the stabilizers on throughout! So far we’ve managed 4 outings, managing no shows and last minute changes and never with the same crew twice. We had such a good outing with only 7 in the boat we’re thinking maybe we should always do it! 2 more outings left, and its the big day on 20th September!

So if anyone is feeling generous please use below link to the club’s donations page for the new boathouse, and wish us luck…..

Hugh Wood, SE 1988-92’