Men’s Captain Introduction – 2017/18

2017/18 Men’s Captain, Matthew French. Photo credit: Giorgio Divitini

Hi, I’m Matthew and I am DCBC’s Men’s Captain this year. I started rowing at Downing what seems like a very long two years ago. The number of breath taking races and equally exhausting socials I have enjoyed with the Boat Club since then is staggering. The terms themselves fly by: a blur of training, working, eating and sleeping with a probably suitably unhealthy number of social events thrown in! Then come the long breaks where I can rest and recover (as well as slip in a few training camps). I came to Cambridge with the intention of avoiding rowing and sticking to the sport I knew but after I’d signed up for the rugby team I was pulled aside by the then men’s captain, Charlie Slater, and persuaded to give it a try. I am very glad he did because the friends I’ve made and experiences I’ve had have been an integral part of my university experience. An experience which still includes rugby league first team and rugby union second team varsity matches (and more than surviving my Engineering degree), so any athletes from other sports have no excuse not to broaden their experience!

Matt rowing with M1 in May Bumps 2017. Photo credit: Giorgio Divitini

Thanks to the exceptional coaching provided by our boatman, Ian Watson, as well as countless current members and alumni I was able to progress quickly and made M1 in time for May Bumps in my first year. The Bumps are a sporting spectacle like no other with hundreds of crews taking to the winding River Cam and aiming to smash into the boat in front, often in front of roaring crowds packed in along the bank. I have experienced the highs and lows, bumping to headship in Lents last year before an agonising freak kit failure sent us back down the following day, as well as rowing over the whole two and a half kilometre May Bumps course to escape the chasing Peterhouse crew by only a few millimetres, securing our successful “up-two” campaign on the last day. Our efforts last year put M1 in prime position to claim the Lents headship, so cruelly snatched from our grasp, and have a crack at the double in Mays. I will also be focusing on maintaining the upward trajectory of M2, whose magnificent efforts last year make me confident we have a very successful year to come, as well as maintaining an M3 or even M4, so as many people as possible can enjoy the sport and keep the club a key part of college life. I eagerly anticipate the arrival of a new group of enthusiastic Freshers, to add to the wealth of returning talent!

M2 in May Bumps 2017. Photo credit: Giorgio Divitini

Feroces ad Mortem

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