Michaelmas started well with a strong novice intake and a large complement of returners. Out of the novices, Cameron Montgomery stood out and was promoted into the senior squad for an informal head race. Another, Alex Seaton, had tried out rowing in the last few weeks of his first year, but struggled. However, he took up cycling over the summer and returned to us as one of the fittest novices; certainly deserving of a ‘most improved’ award.
After 7 weeks training, the novice boats were ready to race. Novice A lost out in the Christ Church Regatta quarter-finals by one inch, but more importantly, they were starting to row like they knew what they were doing. Under the careful guidance of coach Sam Calder, 16 beginners had become 16 rowers. Fired up by their loss, a good number of novices continued into Hilary term, hoping to taste success.
Unfortunately, the rain didn’t let off throughout the new year. The only water session during Hilary term was one Saturday morning spent at the 2k lake, Eton Dorney. This was great fun, especially as it happened to be the sunniest day of the term, but cost and time limited us from further trips. Instead, we spent the term on rowing machines. We recently purchased seven new rowing machines, taking our total to twelve, eight of which are up to date concept 2s. A competitive, motivated squad took the tough training schedule, set by our coach, in its stride, and often had ten to twelve rowers training at once. As expected, Torpids was cancelled, leaving us untested for the moment. Instead, we decided to test ourselves on the rowing machines over 2000m. All round the squad was significantly fitter than a year prior, notably Alex Grundmann, achieving his first sub-6:20.
During the Easter vacation, we took one boat to Worcester for a four day training camp. This was, in part, a pilot run for future training camps. Coached by the University of Birmingham coach, Richard Poole, we made dramatic gains. After the success of this year’s camp, we’re now planning a larger scale trip for next Easter.
The weather dried up, the sun came out, and finally, as Trinity term began, we could start rowing once again. Immediately, the benefits of hard work on land paid off. Crews were set, and the depth of ability within the men’s squad showed during competitive paddling sessions between M1 and M2: the two crews were almost inseparable. The year’s hard work came to fruition during Eights, when M2 went up three and M1 went up one, though were unlucky not to get another place on Saturday.
The future’s looking bright for the club as we move into our 200th anniversary. The squad is growing in size, which we’ve been able to sustain through dedicated, quality coaching from Sam Calder. Joe Keel and Cameron Montgomery are taking over the roles of captain and vice-captain and I wish them all the best of luck.
– Ben McDonnell