Term Report – Michaelmas 2021

With our Annual Winter Training Camp on the Calendar next week, we wanted to have a quick look back and recap Michaelmas Term! It was set to be an exciting year, with our Inaugral Autumn Training Camp kicking us off before the start of term, and all the fresh faces from our novice boats last year coming into our senior boats, as well as some new faces joining us, (senior and novice alike) ready to race out on the river. Please read what our captains had to say about the term.

Novice Squad

Fairbairns2021_BCD_LBCsThis term us LBCs have loved welcoming a new generation of novices to Downing rowing. It was a strong start to the term with over 80 sign ups and a very successful taster day at the boathouse. From then the novices have improved rapidly and shown great commitment to DCBC. The first novice race of term was Emma sprints with our ‘Follen’ and ‘Robinson’ crews putting in an excellent showing in their fancy dress outfits of an airplane with a ‘cox-pit’ and Mario Kart characters respectively. Sadly the second race of term was postponed due to bad weather but this gave our novices lots of extra time for more outings and tank sessions. Finally, after a few socials to get in the mood, including the likes of Freshers’ formal and Bridgemas at the boathouse, Fairbairns came around. With 4 crews entered and lots of magenta face paint, the Downing novices were hard to miss and all crews put in performances to be proud of. We’ve loved seeing all the progress the group has made and can’t wait for them to join us in the senior squads next term!

Ella, Daisy, Imogen, and Bob – Lower Boat Captains, 2021-22

Women’s Squad

W1 VIII - Cambridge Autumn Regatta, 2021For the Senior Women’s Squad, the Michaelmas Term 2021 began in mid-September with the Cambridge Autumn Regatta. Coming off the back of a ‘nearly normal’ Easter Term, the enthusiasm of the squad was evident through the number of keen rowers that enabled an VIII to race. Progressing to the final of the regatta was an excellent result and the event was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

CamAutumnHead2021 - W1Following this and with the return of all students, the term kicked off in usual DCBC style – with a Training Camp, which was a first for many of the squad due to COVID preventing the previous year’s January camp. At this point it became evident that the Michaelmas senior women’s squad would be the largest in many years, with a W1 VIII, a W2 VIII and a W3 IV. The week of training led nicely into the first race of full term – Autumn Head, in which the senior women fielded a W1/2 composite VIII that rowed a fantastic race to become the fastest women’s eight on the river!

The next date in the race calendar was an initial source of excitement, as very few of the squad had competed in University IVs before. However, with the return of a more normal term, also came the return of ‘freshers’ flu,’ and with both W1 and W2 VIIIs off sick, it was a struggle to field a crew. However, thankfully we managed to pull together four of the least ill W1 members and take part in the race.

Fairbairns2021_BCD_W1_1It wasn’t until Winter Head on the 20th of November did W1 race together as a full crew, and the hard work put in the previous week to combat the time off from illness paid off, as we finished with a 3rd place just behind Caius and Newnham. Unfortunately, we did not manage to close the gap on the day of the Fairbairn’s Cup, but the crew put in excellent effort over the longest distance 7/9 members had ever raced before to finish in a close 4th place. W2 also performed extremely well over Winter Head and Fairbairn’s, finishing 5th and 6th respectively.

Fairbairns2021_BCD_W2_1 Looking forward to Lent Term promises excitement with a Headship to defend, a W2 legacy of earning blades to upholdand a large squad to field a W3 and maybe even a W4, I look forward to working with new members, coaches, and alumni to have fun and be competitive at races both on and off the River Cam.

Emma Greer – Women’s Captain, 2021-22

Men’s Squad

M1 IV+ - Autumn Regatta, 2021

The men’s squad first success came before the start of term, with a victory in the 4+ at Nine’s Autumn regatta for some lovely pots. We then began the season with the autumn training camp, and the squad returned to the Cam for the first ‘normal’ term in 2 years. Despite losing some big characters over the summer to something called ‘graduation’, and the captain trying to remove himself and his stomach lining from contention, the squad started the year looking healthy with around 20 rowers, 2 coxes.

Uni Fours 2021, Day 1 - M1Training got off to a shaky start, with the lads trying their best to dash Ian’s hopes for the year by (almost…) capsizing an 8+ at Baitsbite, but we soon got ourselves on track and established the M1 and M2 crews.

M1’s first test came at Autumn head in mid-October, with the 8+ and 4+ both achieving a respectable 2nd amongst college crews, albeit with some key rivals missing. Sadly, owing to availability, some new faces got a last minute call up and a different M1 4+ was formed only days before Uni IVs. This went on to beat Homerton in the first round, before being knocked out by a very strong but medium-sized Magdalene 4+ in the semis to finish off the first half of the term.

20211120_092424The second half of Michaelmas brought with it some truly dreadful weather, with CUCBC’s yellow flags seriously impacting M2’s outing schedule. Thankfully, M1 powered through reasonably unscathed. Both VIIIs took to the water for Cantab’s winter head in late November, representing the last test for M1 before Fairbairn’s, and the first race for M2 of the term. Both VIIIs put in strong performances, with M1 coming out in 4th place amongst college first boats and M2 12th amongst second boats. 

Fairbairns2021_BCD_M1_1Fairbairn’s presented the final race of the term for the squad, and the one we had spent the 8 weeks training for. Four crews lined up on the day – with M2 splitting into an 8+ and 4+, some alumni blowing off the cobwebs to join in a Tribe 4+, and of course the M1 8+. M1 emptied the tank and stormed down the course as the 3rd place Cambridge college, moving up a considerable number of places from 11th in 2019. After a turbulent term of outings, M2 came across the line to finish a respectable 14th in second VIIIs and 11th in the 4+, which are very promising results given that the squad could not field 2 VIIIs in Michaelmas 2019. The mighty alumni 4+ finished an impressive 3rd, and in addition to the cobwebs, well and truly blew the doors off.

A big thank you to all those involved in making these fantastic results possible, and well done to all the crews who took part, you absolutely smashed it in what was a difficult term to get through! Who knows, now that I actually know what I’m doing, the Lent term may run slightly smoother in comparison….

Rian Howe – Men’s Captain, 2021-22

We are all very excited for our training camp next week. As unfortunate as it is that we couldn’t go to Seville like we had planned, all of the club will be putting in a lot of hard work, ready to have a strong showing this term, especially at Lent Bumps! Please check out our Race Calendar with more in depth reports of all the races from the term so far, and follow our Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with the club’s results!

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