Alarm goes off. I hit snooze, and enjoy a mini lie-in of 10 minutes before eating a hurried bowl of Crunchy Nut.
I go down to the Plodge, unlock my bike and meet the rest of the crew there. Somehow, knowing everyone else is getting up early makes it so much more bearable.
We arrive at Selwyn’s boathouse; turn the heater on.
We do a bit of stretching to prevent injury while our coach tells us what we’ll be focusing on during this outing, and then push off from the side onto the cold morning river. The water is so crisp and still, a thin mist hanging over the surface, and the sun low in the sky. Matt, our cox calls us “all eight to backstops … Ready … Go”, and we take the first strokes for the outing. We feel the boat slice through the water, our minds focusing on technique points we’re trying to improve upon and hone during the outing. The sight of the sun rising in the clean blue sky is beautiful; nothing quite beats the feeling of rowing in the crisp, clear mornings. It’s one of the best ways to escape our normally hectic university life.
We return to the boathouse, smiling and joking as we get out of the boat. The coach gives a bit of feedback and we then arrange a time for groups of people to do some land-training later in the day.
Those with lectures are just starting them now. The rest of us head back to College for a much-needed breakfast and shower (in that order)!
I go to the gym and start setting up for a workout with some of the others. We catch up on how our days were, as well as talking about the outing that morning. We discuss which other colleges had crews on the river, and who is looking strong this year. There’s a real comradery about the crew, always encouraging each other to aim high. When someone does well (in or out of the boat), we all get a lift.
Weights session blitzed through in 45 minutes. I’ve gone back to my room, showered and head down to dinner.
I work for an hour before going over to a non-rowing friend’s room to relax a little. A few of my friends don’t really understand the attraction of rowing, but I’ve given up trying to convince them. Rowing isn’t for everyone, but I know that it’s definitely for me.
Chris Cottingham (SCBC Boat Club Captain 2009-2010)