Women’s Captain Introduction – 2020/21

imogenHi! I’m Immy, a third year natsci and incoming Women’s Captain for 2020-21.

I came to Cambridge keen to try something new; gave rowing a go in Michaelmas and was hooked. After moving from NW2 to NW1 in novice term, I rowed in the seven seat of W2 for my first Lents and Mays, moving up 4 and 1 places respectively. From the very start, DCBC has introduced me to some of my closest friends and the most inspiring women I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

My love of rowing firmly cemented after first year, I decided I wanted to pass this on and encourage the next year of novices to take up a sport which had already become so intertwined with my own university experience. As lower boats captain, it was a pleasure to see people come in as I had a year before, no clue how to even hold a blade, and develop over term to become some of the best novice boats on the Cam. Seeing the amount of sheer determination and commitment from every crew member while bank partying NW1 for Fairbairn’s was incredible, and one of my proudest moments this academic year.

W1 Lent Bumps 2020

At the beginning of second year, I made the step up to W1 along with several of my teammates from the previous year’s W2. Becca and Anna were hugely supportive and, with some excellent coaching from Ian I soon became confident as a member of the first boat. Finishing Fairbairn’s in a strong second place behind Jesus was a bittersweet result – we had given it our all in both the 17 minute race and the weeks leading up to it, only to fall just short. Nonetheless, it was a race to be proud of, and spurred us on into Lents with a headship within reach.

wc1While Lent Term and its cold, early mornings was undeniably tough, each individual came to outings focussed on one, common goal. To end the bumps campaign with headship was a feeling like no other, and I can only thank the other 8 crew members as well as the numerous alumni and coaches for their time, effort and encouragement.

Under Becca’s captaincy, not only the first boat but the whole women’s squad has gone from strength to strength. In Michaelmas, the W2 IV placed strongly in a field of W1s. With the addition of a strong novice cohort, we were able to field three VIIIs into Lent Bumps. W2 continued their upward trajectory, bumping up to the top of the third division in the first two days, thus sacrificing their day off to row (and bump!) as sandwich boat on Thursday. A further two bumps saw them securely established in division 2, with well-deserved superblades.

W2 Lent Bumps 2020

W3 also successfully earned themselves a spot in Lent Bumps for the first time, in itself a huge feat. Three gutsy row overs saw them get agonisingly close to bumping, with their perseverance finally paying off with a bump on the last day.

The cancellation of Easter term and May Bumps due to the Coronavirus pandemic was a huge blow to everyone. Without the friendly faces of DCBC both on the river and in the Butterfield, I certainly struggled to find the motivation to complete my work online in my room. I was however extremely heartened by the club’s willingness to don their trainers and get stuck into virtual bumps instead. The friendly yet competitive spirit and positivity with which everyone approached the new challenge of running proved to me that DCBC is just as much the people that make it up as the boats and river, if not more.

W3 Lent Bumps 2020

Looking to the new academic year, I hope that a return to Cambridge will bring with it the opportunity to train together as a club as much as possible. While we must be mindful of restrictions in place for public safety, I am confident that DCBC will remain a community characterised by mutual support, effort and achievement. I look forward to being able to return to the Cam with a Lents headship to defend and hopes to move back into the top 5 in Mays.

Imogen Shaw – Women’s Captain 2020/21

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