Hi, I’m Becca; I’m about to start my third year studying HSPS at Downing and I am going to be DCBC’s new Women’s Captain for the 2019-20 season. Having learnt to row in secondary school on the River Dee with King’s, Chester I thought I would take a break from the sport when I arrived at Cambridge to adjust to uni life. However, the atmosphere of DCBC and the incredibly friendly people I met in my first few weeks drew me in very quickly, and I ended up stroking the W2 eight in Michaelmas of my first year. I stayed in the second boat for my first two bumps campaigns, moving up 2 in Lents despite the Beast from the East and the baltic temperatures, and 1 in Mays. On both occasions Bumps proved to be unlike any other event I’ve experienced in rowing.
In Lent term of my second year, as a result of support from both Kirsty (my predecessor as Women’s Captain), Ian (both coach and boatman), the squad and the nature of the club in general, I took the step up to W1 and haven’t looked back. A tough Lents campaign saw us fall a couple of places behind two very strong crews, one of which went on to take headship. Leaving us determined to fight back and reclaim those places in 2020 with a headship of our own still within reach.
Thanks to Ian’s dedication both in time and coaching, I improved dramatically over my first term in W1, moving into the stroke seat of the boat for Easter term, which saw us finish Mays as the highest boat on the river with no returning Blue Boat rowers; a well earned achievement.
Downing has a history of not only a strong first boat, but also a strong second boat. This has been proved continually throughout my time here, with W2 continuing to move up their division in both Lents and Mays. The upward trajectory of our boat in Lents in my first year was furthered by W2’s achievement of blades this year, putting them within touching distance of moving up to the next division in 2020. In addition to bumps, they continue to produce wins in other races throughout the term, earning them the reputation of one of the top second boats on the river – a title they are more than deserving of.
Kirsty did an incredible job of managing not just two, but four boats this past Mays, with W3 narrowly missing out on blades of their own, moving up 3 places, and creating a strong foundation for progression in the year to come. With a number of keen rowers making up the W4 squad, I am confident that with the addition of the incoming freshers this boat will go from strength to strength, and I hope that we will be able to see them in a bumps campaign this season – an entirely feasible goal.
I am not only incredibly grateful for the opportunities Downing has given me as a rower, but also the impact DCBC has had on my university experience as a whole. I have made amazing memories and friendships through the various social events, races and training camps that I have been able to participate in, and the Boat Club dinners are always one of the highlights of my term. It’s an incredibly friendly place, and I would encourage anyone to get involved, from experienced rowers, to those who have never set foot in a boat. Whilst the training sessions and early mornings are undeniably tough, with Downing priding itself as a boat club with some of the hardest training crews on the river, the energy, dedication and motivation of the fellow rowers, coaches and alumni makes these challenges a team effort. It’s this club ethos that makes me incredibly proud to be entering next year as Women’s Captain, and they are qualities I hope to embody myself, as we welcome new and returning members at the start of the season.