Michaelmas 2017 was set to be an exciting term for DCBC right from the word go. In September, it was announced that Downing’s own Holly Hill would be representing Team GB at the World Rowing Championships alongside fellow Cambridge student Melissa Wilson. The pair went on to take 4th in the world, an incredible result sure to inspire the coming generations of Downing rowers.
Another source of excitement heading in to the new term was the imminent arrival of the Cambridge Rowing Tank. Over the summer, construction had taken place at the DCBC boathouse to make room for our 8-person indoor rowing tank, set to be installed later on in the term. The tank was successfully installed in only three days by the team from Dreher Products, with work continuing throughout the term to prepare the tank in time for DCBC’s home training camp at the beginning of January. The existence of the tank required a new Committee role to be developed, namely Tank Officer, to oversee the bookings, publicity and maintenance of the tank over the course of the year. This role was deservedly given to Charlie Slater, already on the committee as Sponsorship Officer, who has worked tirelessly to make the Cambridge Rowing Tank a reality. The Tank is now open to bookings from clubs across Cambridge starting from mid-January and it is hoped that this fantastic new facility will not only significantly improve the rowing at DCBC but raise the standard of Cambridge rowing as a whole.
Within DCBC itself, a huge recruitment drive at the start of the term from Lower Boats’ Captains Ollie Boyne, Hannah Marsden, Kirsty Nangle, Nathan Parker and Naomi Wilson introduced a new generation of novices to Downing rowing. The novices showed commitment to the Club right from the start and improved rapidly throughout the term. They were also able to enjoy many fun social activities during Michaelmas, including the new addition of a cocktail night, which provided great opportunities for integration with the senior members of the Boat Club.
Despite the mornings turning colder and the busy river limiting the amount of work that could be achieved, seven DCBC crews made it to the start line of The Fairbairn Cup. There was some very impressive rowing in all three novice crews, with NM1 coming a proud 10th place and NW1 achieving an impressive 8th place. A strong row from NM2 means Downing will move into Lents with dedicated rowers and some real competition for seats. There were great results from the senior crews as well, with M1 coming 7th and W1 coming 5th. The Men’s Squad also entered a IV, which came 5th, and the Women’s Squad entered a W2 VIII into Fairbairns for the first time since 2009.
The squad have continued to put work in over the holidays to ensure they come back fighting fit for the training camp in January. With the Cambridge Rowing Tank and a new World Class VIII+ for the Women’s Squad, generously funded by the DCBC alumnae of the Segreants, Downing will be heading into Lents with the skills, facilities and motivation to achieve many incredible results.
Feroces ad mortem