Hello! My name is Stephen and I’m DCBC’s new Women’s Captain. Before you reload your browser, yes, I’m a guy and, yes, I’m in charge of the women’s squad. This is a quite unusual situation in college rowing and is the first time this has occurred at DCBC for a long time. As I’m sure you’ve now guessed, I am a cox and have been in charge of the women’s first boat for the past year and a half. I have experienced the full range of highs and lows that competing at the top of college rowing can provide and am excited for what we can achieve as a squad this coming year.
In October, I will be entering my 3rd year at Downing, studying Engineering. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first 2 years at Cambridge and love the work-sport-life balance that rowing provides. There’s nothing I look forward to more than heading out onto the water and improving my own skills whilst also helping every member of my crew to improve as well.
My first taste of rowing came during Freshers’ week in my first year. Attending the Freshers’ taster days at the boat house, I got to meet members of both rowing squads and have my first go on an erg, or rowing machine as I then called them. After coming in a resounding last place on the 100m sprint challenge I decided rowing wasn’t for me but perhaps being the person in the boat whose aerobic fitness doesn’t matter would be more suitable.
For the first two terms of my coxing I was in the men’s half of the Boat Club. Taking NM1 to some results, quality best left unmentioned, before sadly getting spoons with M2 in my first Bumps campaign. While I can joke about these results now they taught me a very important lesson of rowing. “What you put in, is what you get out.” This is something I’ve since tried to always think about, putting maximum effort into each rowing session I do.
The past four terms of being W1 cox have passed in a crazy blur. From winning a headship in my second Bumps to coming agonizingly close in Lent of the last year and ultimately to the disappointment of this year’s May Bumps. I think it can be quite easy after a result like our May Bumps to forget where we are in the scale of women’s rowing at Cambridge. We are still a dominant and intimidating force; anyone that underestimates us this year will most definitely regret it. It is still possible for us to win two headships this year- unlikely, but possible. This will be my ultimate aim, from the first day of my captaincy to the last.
Women’s rowing at Downing has so much to offer outside of the top crew. Last year’s second boat was the quickest second boat on the river by far and managed to go up a crazy nine places across eight days of Bumps racing. I hope I can contribute to their continued success as they push ever higher up the bumps charts, toppling many first boats along the way. Downing also managed to have a casual W3 for the first time in a few years, something I hope to continue and hopefully push them towards competing in more races.
I am incredibly excited for the coming year of women’s rowing at DCBC and hope I can be a captain that members of my squad are proud to row for.