Selwyn M1 Race Report – Wednesday Mays 2016


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

Rowing after Selwyn: SCBC at Poplar

After moving to London former Boat Club Captain Dave Barton is back in the boat and racing with fellow SCBC friends Christ Cottingham and Ben Gliniecki at Poplar. Here is his report:
It might come as a surprise to some but at Selwyn I really enjoyed rowing. It can be quite hard to let go after four bliss(-ter)ful years of ergs and early get ups. But once a boatie…always a boatie they say. Having moved back to London I realised it was probably time to put the spectacles to one side, get off my lazy arse and start rowing again. You know, just to show everyone how really really good I was.
I got in touch with Ben and Chris who had both been rowing for a year at Poplar Blackwell and District Rowing Club. So far my time at the club has been fantastic. There’s a great mix of young and old, and a range of abilities from recent learn-2-row graduates to ex-world champions! We row on the stretch of the Thames from London Dock (just East of Tower Bridge) to the Thames barrier. Its a beautiful stretch to row on and while conditions can often be harsher than what the Cam offers, it’s great to train on and just makes the “millpond” days even better.
We’re currently rowing with the Men’s IM3 Squad with the goal of racing an VIII in HORR. We’ve already picked up a pot (see below) and are aiming for top 200 in March. I think this would be a great achievement given the majority of the boat have only been rowing for just over a year. After that the focus of the squad is going to be sculling in small boats for the summer regattas.
The club’s facilities are great – lots and lots of club singles/doubles (as the majority of people focus on sculling) to use – a fully equipped gym, a rowing tank and a clubhouse bar upstairs (often showing sports matches on the projector).
With lots of regattas coming up soon it would be great to have even more ex-Selwynites down. We row on Saturday and Sunday mornings and weekday training is Tuesday and Thursday (both Men and Women’s squads) evenings.
Do get in touch if you are interested!

All change! SCBC 1st VIII colours revamped, returning to tradition

Boat Club colours are a source of great pride- members of 1st VIIIs can wear them to show both their achievements and their sense of belonging with the other members of their crews. There is a sense of sharing a connection through time when these traditions are passed down year by year, and the sight of a Mays or Lents 1st VIII bow tie, or a Mays blazer, at alumni events manifests that sense of a community held together by their passion for this mad sport. Below, we see both the 1949 Boat Club and the 1977 Lents crew posing with two things in common: (1) the smiles that people wear when they have bonded as a crew by waking up horrendously early several times a week and propelling a heavy boat down a river using every muscle in their bodies, for fun, and (2) boat club wraps: woollen scarves in maroon for Lents 1st VIIIs and gold for Mays 1st VIIIs.

Selwyn College Boat Club, 1949
The 1977 Lent Bumps crew

These boat club wraps seemed to disappear at some point in time, the tradition dissipating- we’re not quite sure when, but suddenly they weren’t around any more. Bow ties were still awarded to the men who rowed in M1, with silk in different patterns for Lents and Mays. The women of W1 were now awarded their 1st VIII colours in the form of silk garters in the SCBC colours.

That is, until 2015. The women of SCBC decided that it was time for a change- not to something new, but to something old. We wanted something more visible and, quite frankly, less sexist, something which would honour the athletic achievements of women in the 1st VIII equally with their male peers. Ryder & Amies informed us that they still had the design for the SCBC wraps in their records and would be delighted to start producing them again. We told them we would be similarly delighted if they did so. And so the wraps are back, for good this time.


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Lent Bumps Women’s 1st VIII, 2016

We’re happy to inform any women or men who are eligible for Lents or Mays 1st VIII colours (including those who have now left Selwyn) that they can buy the wraps from Ryder & Amies directly, or can contact the boat club to be included in the next order.




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

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

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!

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!

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 ]

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 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’

Introducing the new committee!

I’m Teresa Baron, and I’ll be taking over from Nick Jones at the end of this season as SCBC’s new overall Captain. The coming year may be a challenging one for the boat club, especially with the boathouse being demolished and rebuilt (hopefully in time for next year’s Mays!) but I’m looking forward to another brilliant year with the boat club, and I’ll do my best, along with the rest of the committee, to make sure that new and old members can get the most out of rowing at Selwyn, both on the water and off it. Our main aim is to make sure that, even with the limitations that construction on the boathouse site will involve, anyone who wants to row at Selwyn will have the opportunity to do so. I hope we can continue the great work this year’s committee have been doing in making rowing friendly and accessible as well as competitive, and encourage as many of next year’s freshers as possible to give rowing a try, and to join the amazing community that is SCBC.

Without further ado, let me introduce your new committee:

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We look forward to working with the Henley Fund and Selwyn College to make this another great year for SCBC!