Women’s Report 2013/2014

The women’s squad had a strong Michaelmas. We took in some exceptional novices, both in their strength and motivation. Their hard work paid off and after just six weeks of training the first novice boat won Nephthys Regatta. A week later they proved themselves once again, coming second in Christ Church Regatta by only six inches – a nail biting final! The senior squad also did well in Autumn Fours, getting knocked out in the semi-finals by a strong Balliol crew.

With Hilary came rain and a flooded river. Outings were cancelled and at one point even the boat house was unreachable. However this didn’t dampen spirits – our strong novices kept the seniors on their toes and the squad continued to train well. Training sessions took place in the JCR – the rain and floods were not going to beat us. Our one water session of the term came in the form of a trip to Eton Dorney – a week before Torpids – W1 and W2 were to have only this practice before the bumps racing began. With the men’s squad joining us, it led to an amusing day out and helped to raise everyone’s morale after such a wet term. My thanks go out to Hannah Smith and Rebecca Dawes for helping me to organise the trip at such short notice. We returned to Oxford to the news the Torpids was to be cancelled.

Trinity term began after an Easter of hard work – the whole squad was kept fit by our competitive training programme set by our coach, Mads Frank. With the river no longer flooded, the emphasis was now on water sessions – especially for the novices who had only rowed for a total of seven weeks. We welcomed back Clare Jamison and Sarah-Jane Littleford from OUWBC and OUWLRC respectively, and training for Summer Eights began. After some close seat races, two novices made it into W1, Molly Ludlam-Steinke and Francesca Hine, who both showed huge technical improvements in the weeks leading up to Summer Eights. The hard work paid off, with W1 going up two and an unlucky W2 denying themselves spoons and Somerville blades on the Saturday of racing.

On behalf of the whole Women’s squad I would like to say goodbye to our leavers this year, amongst whom are some of our most dedicated and experienced rowers – we look forward to welcoming you back at future boat club dinners! I would like to thank our reliable and enthusiastic coach, Mads Frank as well as my Vice Captain, Hannah Smith, and also Rebecca Dawes and Thomas Stewardson, who have all helped me over the last year. Good luck to the new Captain, Molly Ludlam Steinke, and her Vice, Catherine Craig-McFeely, for the next year of rowing!

– Cassandra Kennedy

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