DCBC returned to Cambridge a week before the start of Lent Term for an intensive training camp. Usually held abroad in destinations such as Seville or Banyoles, the 2018 camp took place on home ground (or rather home water) to give the Squad the opportunity to enjoy the recently-completed Cambridge Rowing Tank. Building work for the tank started in the summer of 2017, with finishing touches being carried out right up to January. With two 50 foot tanks containing 10 tonnes of water each, this is a serious piece of equipment designed to raise the standard of rowing across the whole of Cambridge and beyond. DCBC had exclusive access to the tank for the training week and were able to make full use of the six side-on cameras, two overhead cameras and live displays to really hone their technique. This yielded some exciting water sessions throughout the week and gave extra opportunities to integrate the novice rowers of first term into the senior squad.
The Tank was opened to external clubs on 15th January and has seen great interest from as far as Norwich. From top Cambridge crews ironing out the smallest details in their technique to groups of students who have never sat in a boat before and even corporate team building sessions, the tank has proved to be a huge asset to Cambridge rowing. The official opening of the tank will take place on Segreants’ Day, Saturday 21st April 2018.
Another piece of brand new kit that arrived at the beginning of Lent Term was a world class women’s VIII. Generously funded by DCBC alumnae, the new boat is named ‘Rachel’ in honour of Rachel Penny (née Pearce, 1986) and is sure to give W1 that extra edge in future races.
Lent Term 2018 saw the debut of the Downing Eliminator. The event was great fun and saw Newnham crowned the winners of the women’s competition while Downing were victorious in the men’s.
After a term of training in bitterly cold conditions, DCBC were excited to translate those long hours into results on the river, with five crews entered into Lent Bumps. However, Mother Nature decided to throw a rather large spanner in the works; the infamous Beast from the East.
With temperatures below freezing, heavy snowfall and a lethally icy towpath, no one had prepared for conditions as extreme as this. Cancellations due to the weather meant that no crew was able to race all four days, a gutting blow for a squad that had put so many hours of training in. Nevertheless, DCBC achieved some fantastic results and every single crew member showed true perseverance in the face of such a challenge. W1 bumped Clare, climbing to second in the division, and M1 ended their campaign in third place after a mighty battle against Caius. W2 climbed two places up the charts, an exhilarating first Bumps campaign for the majority of the crew. M2 had an unlucky campaign, which saw them being bumped by three first boats, but will be looking to bounce back and prove themselves next term.
Following on from the emotional rollercoaster of Lent Bumps, both M1 and W1 headed to the Thames to test their skills on the Tideway in HoRR and WEHoRR.
There was a huge turnout from the squad in London for front row seats to watch Cambridge’s historic victory in all four Boat Races. It was a particularly emotional day for DCBC, with Downing rowers representing both CUBC and CUWBC. First year Callum Sullivan rowed in seven-seat for Goldie, while fourth year and CUWBC legend Thea Zabell rowed four-seat in the Blue Boat and made the front page of a national newspaper! With a 5th place start for both W1 and M1, this is just the sort of inspiration the squad needs heading into Mays. Fingers crossed for warmer weather so DCBC can really prove what they are capable of.
Feroces ad mortem