I’m a second year medic, and this year I take the Women’s Captain reins from Rachel, now Captain of Boats, who did an incredible job with the squad last year. The 2014/15 season was my first as a rower, I noviced in Michaelmas, went on training camp and then into W1 in Lent term. When I look back, my first year appears to have passed in a crazy whirlwind of medicine, boats, blazers, friends and food. Trying rowing with several of my friends was undoubtedly the best decision I’ve made since coming to Cambridge, the irony being that I almost didn’t (thank you to the people that got me hooked so quickly!). I find the whole thing irresistible- being outside away from my books, getting fitter, racing in bumps- there’s nothing else like it.
The women’s squad has achieved a lot in this past year, with multiple sets of great results for both W1 and W2. We also became very close through the year, every boat I rowed in had an atmosphere of support and friendship, we are certainly not short of character in our crews! There are several highlights that stick out for me. Us and the boys making the final of Queen’s Ergs in our first term is definitely one, the atmosphere and the noise in the hall were electric. It was our first ever taste of competition, and everyone smashed it with some huge scores being put down.
Going into W1 in Lent was fantastic, I learned so much from the experienced rowers around me. The defining moment of that term wasn’t a win, or bump. It was the first day of Lents, when we held off the crew behind us, who had been significantly faster than us that term, until about 100m from the line. On paper, we shouldn’t have been fast enough, but we came together and sheer willpower got us that far. Although at the time it wasn’t easy, knowing that every girl was giving everything in that moment is not a feeling you forget.
Then, the last day of May Bumps. Just before we boated we heard W2 had bumped up to universal cheers. Our own race still gives me goosebumps, it felt like we were flying. I remember it in snapshots- Ruth’s words just before we pushed out- “I love you, and I mean it” have been a source of (loving) jokes since. Coming round to the Plough and hearing the cheers, then hearing our M1 shouting as we came past marshalling and thinking “we can actually do this”. We built into the finish with the call “be brave” and flew through the line. The aftermath is caught on camera- looks of disbelief, tears, hugging (as far as you can in a boat) and lots of laughter and splashing. Jumping the burning boat (and the hedge) at dinner were the icing on the cake.
It’s that feeling that keeps me, and everyone else, wanting to come back for more.
Coming into this year, I’m just really excited. We have a strong group of seniors to kick start Michaelmas, and I’m looking forward to working with Lauren, our women’s LBC, to bring on the next group of novices. Ellie, our Social Sec and Zara, who is heading up the Camenae this year have got plenty of plans for social events for the squad to get together, relax and have fun. The main races we train for are Fairbairns and Bumps, but we’ll also look to race Off-Cam during the year (day trips out of the bubble!). Our January training camp in Seville is one to look forward to, enjoying some sun, clear water and the inevitable single scull capsizes before Lent. Currently 4th in Lent Bumps, we have all to play for to make it a really exciting four days. In Easter term we’ll all enjoy Segs Day and racing Head of the Cam, then look forward to Mays where we will hope to retain the headship. The final thing I’d like to say going into Michaelmas is thank you to everyone who has coached me, and supported me this year, and especially those who encouraged me to run for Women’s Captain.