DCBC is getting ready to welcome a new batch of novices! This Michaelmas the Lower Boats Captains (LBCs) will lead a team of seniors in teaching these novices how to row. Lauren and Colin, two of this year’s LBCs introduce themselves to give you an idea of what rowing with Downing is like.
Lauren, 3rd year Lawyer –
I am going into my final year studying law and, along with many people reaching my stage of university, I have decided to make the most of my last year here at Downing. Despite my schedule getting increasingly packed as I commit to as much as I can, I always knew that, apart from the necessary academic demands, rowing was definitely going to play big part of making this year everything I hope it to be.
Some of that enthusiasm stems directly from the wonderful end to Easter term. I had an incredible time rowing as part of a W2 crew who had a smashing May Bumps. Spurred on by the success of an unbeatable W1 (seriously they were undefeated in Easter term) W2 came together as a fantastic crew despite having only 3 senior rowers. All the rest were some of the epic novices whose attitude spurred me to take on the role of LBC this year. Our 4 days racing were some of my best in Cambridge. Starting as sandwich boat, a combination of resilient row-overs, an excellent first-day bump and a brave (if slightly risky) revenge bump on the final day left us in the second division and firmly as one of the highest placed W2’s on the river. Rowing back with foliage in my hair on that Saturday, surrounded by close friends whom I couldn’t be prouder of, is a memory I will treasure for a long time.
I am super excited to be involved with the novice rowers this year. My role as an LBC will give me the opportunity to see a group of people develop the passion for this sport and the respect, awe and love of the people sitting around them in a boat. I am sure there are others who will account for the fact that come rain or shine, defeat or victory, I never fail to pull up to the boathouse with a smile on my face. My optimism for the coming year has only been increased by the knowledge that I will be working alongside some brilliant people in the boat club. On the women’s side of the club, Izzy (one of last year’s wonder novices) is Women’s Captain and I know her dedication, energy and drive will ensure that seniors and novices alike can look to her for leadership and guidance. Rachel is Captain of Boats and the fact that she has rowed for two years and taken away two headships is evidence of both her commitment and talent. With her at the helm and the hard work of all the brilliant seniors in the DCBC committee, the boat club can certainly expect another successful year.
Colin, 3rd year NatSci –
When I came to Downing in October 2013 to study medicine I had always enjoyed outdoor sports, from skiing to sailing, preferring the excitement they gave me when compared with more ‘normal’ sports. However, having taken up rowing with DCBC I can honestly say there are few sports available that can recreate the mix of excitement, nerves and adrenaline that you feel at the beginning of every bumps race. I first joined the boat club during Michaelmas term of my first year mostly because, having arrived in Cambridge, I wanted to have a go at the sport synonymous with the university. It was certainly a good decision. Over that first term, I was taught the basics of rowing by the senior members of the club before I opted to go on the winter training trip to Seville in January. This is where I really learnt to row, with plenty of hours on the water and great coaching, I progressed much quicker than is possible during term time in Cambridge. Returning in January for Lent term, I managed to get a seat in the M2 boat for my first taste of senior rowing. During the weeks of training that followed, our crew quickly became good friends and this sense of comradeship is definitely one of the best things about the sport. My first bumps race, at the end of Lent term, was certainly an experience to remember. With our boat gaining fast on Churchill College M1 in front, many of us were confident of a bump, however, disaster struck as our rudder broke off after rounding Ditton corner. So in a matter of seconds our race had gone from what seemed an assured bump up to an assured bump down! Miraculously, due to our hard work and training and some inspirational coxing (involving steering with hands in the water) we managed to not get bumped and we went on to row over, despite crashing twice! For me this sums up the excitement of bumps racing, where there is always an element of unpredictability. The following year I went on to row with M1 in Michaelmas term in the Fairbairn cup (the big race of that term) before I had to have knee surgery for a pre-existing injury sustained whilst skiing. This prevented me from rowing at all in Lent, however, I was able to come back and row with the low commitment M3 boat in the May bumps, which was great fun despite not being hugely successful! So having participated at all levels of commitment and ability with DCBC I can definitely say that being a member of the boat club and rowing for Downing, at whatever level, is one of the most fun and rewarding decisions anyone can make whilst studying at this great College!
If you’ve recently joined Downing and want to join the Boat Club as a rower or cox, get in touch with the LBCs at firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll also find us at the Freshers’ Fair on Tuesday 6th October, and we’ll be hosting a squash at the boathouse on Saturday 10th, when you can get your first taste of rowing!