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.
(written by Ian Tillotson, Secretary of the HF and SE 92-96)
As part of kicking off the activities for SCBC and SCWBC for the coming academic year (2016/17) the annual meeting with the Selwyn College Permanent Henley Fund was held on Saturday 8th October. This is an annual meeting in college where the Committee from the Henley Fund meet with the lead officers of SCBC and SCWBC to go through plans for the year ahead. The Henley Fund is the alumni association for SCBC / SCWBC, with members contributing annual donations that are then held by the Fund and used in support of Selwyn rowing. A key action in this annual meeting is for the boat club to summarise and request funding support needed for the year – primarily to support provision of external coaching, of any major equipment purchase and also support for any planned training camp.
As well as attendees in College (the SCPHF Chairman – Steve Spencer, Treasurer – Brian Hornsby, Secretary – Ian Tillotson and committee members Fiona Morrison, Dave Barton, Emily Hopkinson) this year’s meeting was notable for including remote attendance via skype of Matthias Beestermoeller from Germany.
With the excitement of the boathouse build and opening now behind us and a number of attendees invigorated from the alumni outing earlier in the day, focus for the meeting was very much on the year ahead and continuing to build on the successful performance of the Men’s club last year and in supporting the Ladies’ club in building a successful campaign for the year. The discussion overall was very productive with key highlights being the potential for some new equipment purchase this year (watch this space for more updates), and also encouragement from the Henley Fund Committee of both clubs to participate in off Cam activities such as HORR, WHORR and also to consider qualification at Henley
Engagement with recent leavers from SCBC / SCWBC continues to be a focus area to ensure new contributors to the Fund are identified, enabling the Fund to continue providing the ongoing level of support to Selwyn rowing. The Committee left impressed with the plans and objectives for the year, and looks forward to continuing to engage with SCBC / SCWBC throughout the year.
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.
With nothing ahead of them, W1 were determined to settle in and make this a solid row-over to keep their place at the head of the division. However, we hadn’t bargained on such a strong Magdalene crew chasing us. Our start was strong and we quickly pulled away from Magdalene and gained some ground, but the chasing crew inched up behind us and had gained a whistle by First Post Corner. Cox Aleka called for a burst of power and we managed to gain a little space, but Magdalene closed the gap again through the gut, pushing up to two whistles by Grassy Corner and immediately following it with a surge which took them up to three whistles. Unfortunately our efforts couldn’t match the faster crew and we had to concede a bump on Plough Reach.
Catz had been bumped down by Magdalene the previous day and so we had our target in sight. Only a few strokes out of the start Selwyn W1 had already moved up to a whistle, only a length away from Catz. Spurred on by this, we took a power ten and gained another half a length in the Gut, and were on three whistles before Grassy Corner. The bump was in sight, and we sat on three whistles as we took the corner and came onto Plough Reach. A good line by the Catz cox spared them what would have otherwise been an assured bump. Unfortunately for Selwyn, Fitz W1 had been moving steadily up towards us as all this went on, and as we tried to chase Catz down and close those last few inches, Fitz put on a huge burst of power and got their bump in first, hitting us just by The Plough.
Determined to get our bump back, Selwyn W1 managed to get a whistle on Fitz almost straight out of the start, and held them there through the gut, though losing some ground on the straight between First Post and Grassy. Fitz weren’t going to go down easy, though, and pulled away by Grassy to close in on the boat ahead- however, when they bumped, they failed to clear, and were left sitting halfway across the river as Selwyn approached. Making a safety judgement, our cox Aleka called for us to easy. At this point, Trinity Hall bore down on us, their cox unable to see what had happened, only holding it up when Aleka raised her hand to stop them. While the umpires at the scene agreed that Fitz had caused an obstruction, the deputy chief umpire awared Tit Hall a “technical bump” against us- obviously deeply frustrating and disappointing for Selwyn, but the result was sadly not retracted despite our appeal.
The last day of Bumps saw us being chased by Homerton W1, a crew packed with CUW returners- not a prospect any of us felt very enthusiastic about! But we decided that if they were going to get us, we were at least going to make it hard for them. Sure enough, we pulled away from them with a powerful start and a high ten, gaining a whistle on Tit Hall, ahead of us. We managed to keep the gap open between us and Homerton past First Post corner, after which they managed to pull back up to station. Aleka made some excellent calls and Selwyn gave it their all, but Homerton steadily closed the distance between the two boats, ending it with a dramatic bump just past Grassy Corner.
M3 went into the first day of bumps full of enthusiasm for the week of bumps. For almost the entire boat, it was their first experience of the carnage that ensues on the river cam. A strong start meant they held FaT |V on station until past the railway bridge. Unfortunately, inexperience in the choppy water caused by ARU meant several crabs were caught and they we’re quickly bumped in the ensuing chaos. Despite this, the crew were happy with their first race and knew they had more to give for the remaining week!
A rousing team talk beforehand from our substitute cox, Lorenzo, rallied the crew together. Today was fly-in-order to avoid the sandwich boat position. Lessons were learnt from the day before and every member made a strong effort to square early and hold their bodies strong. Pembroke ||| were just that much faster though, and easily caught Selwyn ||| just before the railway bridge. Everyone knew they had given there all though, sometimes the crew chasing is just faster!
M3 today saw the return of their main cox, Oli, who loyally came straight from his last exam (smelling suspiciously of Cava). Unfortunately, they also lost Afnan, probably their strongest rower who had to whizz off the America for work. The plan was to try and hold on for the row over, being top of the division and hope Churchill ||| could quickly catch a faltering Queen’s |V, who had gone down the previous day. They started well, with Churchill gaining on Queens and Selwyn holding them on station past 1st post corner. Despite an excellent line taken by their returning cox around the corner, a lack of fitness and experience showed and they were bumped by Queens. An unfortunate day but nonetheless a solid row!
Well aware that they were on the verge of spooning, M3 approached the final day with trepidation. They knew Churchill were fast but could not catch Queens yesterday, so were quietly confident about there chances. However, perhaps from overall tiredness from the previous days racing and of course exams, they were quickly caught to 3 whistles after a slightly dodgy start. Oli called for a power 10, yelling at them to empty the tanks and leave nothing left. They held for a few seconds and nearly pulled away, but Churchill’s excellent fitness and mental discipline meant they were bumped just before first post corner. They had spooned, but not without dignity. There was clearly some excellent potential in their boat and they look forward to continuing rowing next year. Beers were shared round and they could start looking forward to BCD!
Going into day 1 we knew we were faced with a strong Magdalene crew behind us given their very strong performance in champs head. However as a crew we knew we had made significant improvements since then and were keen to go out hard on Trinity Hall in what was three of the crew’s first May bumps. After a strong start we began gaining on Trinity Hall but not quickly enough. We were bumped by Magdalene around the plough.
Going into day 2 we were being chased by Fitzwilliam who had overbumped the day before. Knowing they clearly weren’t a slow crew we knew we were going to fight and that we did. A very strong start and row through the corners kept Fitz on station we weren’t giving them an inch. Just after Ditton Fitz made a move but we countered straight away and the gap remained. It wasn’t until near the end of the reach that Fitz made another move. Unfortunately this time we had nothing left in the tank. They soon started moving up on us and despite giving it everything they caught us 200m from the finish.
Stirred on by the knowledge that we were could hold Fitz for almost the entire course we knew that the bump back was more than just possible and we were determined to get it. After a very strong and focused row up and a very promising practise start we were very positive in anticipation of the days racing. We lined up to start and as the cannon went we performed easily our best start of the term and got inside station on Fitz. Throughout the course we gradually ate into Fitz until we had three whistles coming passed the plough. Some brilliant steering by our cox, Peter Mooney, saw us to the bump around Ditton. After my initial confusion as to why I was being told to hold it up mid race I soon realised we had bumped as the crew cheered and we rowed to the bank to collect our greenery.
On day 4 we were chasing Churchill who were on for spoons and who were just bumped by Trinity Hall a crew we knew we were quicker then. What we didn’t realise at the time was that they were only bumped due to a rogue crab and were actually a very fast crew. We went out hard but not hard enough and Fitz had an incredible start. They started to gain on us early on and rowed incredibly well and caught us before First Post corner. Unfortunately, the unreliability of budget airlines had caused our 7 to have to miss this day but a big thank you to Edward Lewis for stepping in. Thanks also to our Coach Gareth for all his hard work.
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!
We approached today’s racing with the momentum of yesterday’s over-bump, but also the knowledge that we would be chased by a hungry “fly and die” Magdalene crew. Our warm up was strong and effective, having got rid of nerves that seized us yesterday, and the crowds were cheering “GO SELWYN”. We bumped Catz in 400m after opening a wide gap on Magdalene, and watched joyfully as they rowed past with the clear expression of sorrow on their faces that read “what might have been”.
On Friday we will be chasing Kings and a bump will place us at the top of our combined boathouse, a position Selwyn has not held for at least 20 years.
On Friday we chased Kings, giving us the opportunity to reclaim the top spot of our new combined boathouse. Hot of the back of our success yesterday we were determined to do it again. We got of to a strong start and within thirty seconds had our first whistle. From there on we executed the job swiftly, bumping them before first post corner. Bring on the last day.
We approached Saturday confidently, knowing that Emmanuel, who we were chasing, had not been able to move on Queens in Friday’s racing. To our complete surprise they gained rapidly off the start, and we were forced to use our race move ‘Hawaii’ as we entered the gut, or risk the two crews in front bumping out and leaving us with no one to bump. 800m in Emma had overlap on Queens going round grassy. Meaning after only 2 minutes we were doing our second big race move. The tension and potential disappointment in the boat was massive. Huge thanks go out to Queens were able to hold on and move away from Emma, who’s “fly and die” tactic became apparently clear as we closed a length on them in under 20 strokes. We bumped right before Ditton, achieving our blades and going up six places over the week. Perhaps excusable was the slightly over enthusiastic greenery. Huge thanks to our coaches Rachel Crockford and Henk-Jaap Wagenaar.
Now that Henley is over it is time to announce our new committee. This past year has been a huge success for SCBC. The new boat house was finally completed, M1 got blades and despite boating from a shipping container for the majority of the year we had more keen rowers then ever, including a great group of novices. I want to thank all those who made that possible, especially Teresa and her outgoing committee.
We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year and I’m lucky enough to have an amazing committee to make it all happen with many experienced hands and at least one member from every boat Selwyn put out in Mays this year.
I’m looking forward to working with this lot and the Henley Fund to make this the best year yet (it will be my 5th). It’s also the first year the overall captain isn’t also the Men’s/Women’s captain so I’ve really got no excuses. Do get in touch if you any questions at all.
This year’s Tom Page award (for enthusiasm and dedication to the Boat Club) went to one of our first-year students, Theologian Amy Bland. Amy came up as a senior rower, having rowed for the best part of the last decade already, and rowed with Selwyn W1 in Michaelmas before taking over as W2 coach for Lent and Easter. We interviewed Amy about her rowing life…
SE: What made you start rowing?
Amy: I started rowing when I was 9 years old. We were given a booklet at school of sports you could try during the holidays. I wanted to do kayaking, but you had to be 10, so I thought rowing was the next best thing. From then I was hooked and have since rowed in all the different boat classes (except 2+) in a whole variety of races.
SE: What do you like most about rowing?
Amy:I love the feeling of being on the water and making the boat go fast and smooth. Also the team element is really great.
SE: What’s your favourite thing about SCBC?
Amy:I love the mix of people in the boat club and how visible the improvements are. There were some people who rowed in the first boat who only picked up an oar in October.
SE: Is there anything you would change about the boat club?
Amy: More integration between the men and women’s squad. The first time I spoke to most of the men was at training camp very Easter.
Thanks Amy, we hope you have a good summer and stay in love with rowing!