Hey! My name’s Andrew and I’ll be the Men’s Captain at DCBC this year, taking over from the capable hands of Charlie. I’m a fourth year aerospace engineer, just back from a year abroad at MIT and looking forward to getting back on the Cam.
I learned to row at St Andrew Boat Club in Edinburgh back when I was still at school, and kept it going when I came to Downing in 2013. I rowed in M1 for my first two years, and was also Lower Boats’ Captain in my second year, before going off to MIT in my third year where I rowed in the Varsity squad. Rowing has given me my best memories at Downing, from bumping Caius to take the Lents Headship in 2014 to partying at boat club dinners and at the Tribal Barbecue, and I can’t wait to get started with my final year of it!
Rowing is an absolutely fantastic sport, and I would encourage anyone who’s interested in trying out something new to come and give it a go. Racing is incredibly fun, especially bumps racing, where you all start in a line at the same time and you have to hit the boat in front of you before the course runs out. The training for it is intense, which makes victory all the more satisfying and means you form a great bond with your team over the short Cambridge terms. The strength of the rowing community, both within Downing and in the university as a whole, is amazing, which makes it a great way to meet new people.
I strongly believe that rowing has helped me do as well as I can in my exams at Cambridge. Although the time commitment is significant, the chances are that if I wasn’t rowing I would just have procrastinated that time away anyway. As it was, exercising regularly helped keep my mind focused and active, and gave me a structure to work around when lectures started to taper off in exam term. If you’re concerned that rowing might hurt your academic career, don’t be – the effect is likely to be the opposite!
We’re planning to have a great year this year. We have a lot of strong rowers returning from last year, and are looking forward to bringing a whole lot of new novices into the squad. If we train hard and work well together, we should be able to take the Lents Headship back from Caius and fight our way back to the top spots in the May Bumps. Our winter training camp in January will this year be in Banyoles, near Barcelona, and will as always be great fun. We’re also looking to attend races outside of Cambridge, to compete at as high a level as we can on the national stage.
If you’re interested in rowing – whether you’ve done it before or not – drop me an email or a Facebook message, or come and chat to me if you see me around College!
Andrew Niven, DCBC Men’s Captain 2016-17