After a great start to the rowing year, it’s time to have a look back and recap Michaelmas Term! It was fantastic welcoming so many new faces to DCBC and we look forward to all our novices joining our senior crews next term! We’re also looking forward to our Annual Winter Training Camp taking place next week!
We had an encouraging start of the term with 100 sign-ups at the fresher’s fair and novice induction events, after which we were able to put together crews of highly enthusiastic rowers and coxes. We entered two crews into QErgs, which everyone enjoyed and came together incredibly well despite only one practice session. The first race of the term was Emma sprints, in which we entered both a men’s and women’s boat. Both crews did incredibly well, with the men’s crew making it to the quarter finals in their first ever outing as a crew. Next was Clare novices, where the women’s crew came together well and gave Jesus a good race. The term ended with amazing rows from both crews in Fairbairns, with our mixed boat beating some NM1s as well as the women’s boat coming 14th overall. We celebrated our successes at the Boat Club dinner and we look forward to welcoming our novices into senior crews!
Holly, Max, Jiali and Rijuta – Lower Boat Captains, 2022-23
Women’s + NB Squad
In the Women’s + NB squad, our term started off with numbers being slightly lower than last year, due to many rowers from last year’s squad graduating. Nevertheless, we pressed on, training with mixed crews initially before settling on a W1 IV and a W2 VIII for the rest of October. In these crews, we got stuck in to training, making some good gains and preparing well for the first race of term, Autumn Head! The W1 IV was the fastest college Women’s four on the day, winning our first silverware of the year, whilst the W2 VIII was the third fastest W2 crew out of 6 competing – tucked right in with rivals such as Lady Margaret, Caius and Pembroke.
Pushing on from these promising results, W1 set their sights on University IVs, a big focus for the club this term. A strong block of training set us up well for the race, but it wasn’t to be, with a 3 second loss to Caius W1 on the first day of racing. Despite the disappointing result, however, we took pride in losing narrowly to the fastest crew on the day (also finishing only 2 seconds slower than eventual champions of the tournament, Lady Margaret), and the crew knew that we were right in the mix with the best college fours on the river, right where we wanted to be! Moving on to November, the crews reshuffled to refocus on Fairbairn’s – W1 became a VIII, bolstered by some strong W2 rowers moving up, while W2 became an IV, both crews remaining like this for the rest of term. With barely a week of practice, Winter Head came around, and we entered the W2 IV, as well as a W1/Novice composite boat, to give some novices a chance to experience senior racing (and what a well-sat boat feels like!). The W2 four performed well considering it was a first race in a four for the majority of the crew, coming second in their category, while the composite eight performed comparably to many strong W2 crews, but more importantly had a good race helping the novices get some invaluable race practice! Finally, with only a few weeks left of term, our focus was fully on Fairbairn’s – after some time adjusting to our new crews, we made rapid progress, finding our rhythm and learning a lot from both our wonderful coach lan and some alumni! We went into the race not knowing how well we would do compared to other crews, but confident that we would put in our strongest performance.
W1 came in slightly below where we had expected to, 55 seconds off the leaders Lady Margaret (albeit coming in closer to our direct bumps rivals such as Emmanuel and Newnham), whilst W2 came second in their category after a blade clash with another crew slowed them down. Despite the mixed results, I am proud of the resilience of all of the squad this term, and for every single member of the squad giving 100% every session, from the start of term through to the Fairbairn’s finish line. I also feel confident that we have a lot of progress we can make between now and Lent Bumps – when we bring our promising novices up to the squad and all train hard over the holidays and throughout next term, we will have a lot of potential, and we are all excited to see how the squad performs throughout the rest of the year! in Lents, W1 is in a strong position at 2nd on the river, with Headship within sights if we put in the work before Bumps, while W2 will be looking to make a push back up to the 2nd division, and W3 will be looking for a strong showing in the Getting on Race to qualify!
A massive thank you to everyone in the squad and all the indispensable others who helped keep me and the rest of us going throughout this last term, it was definitely one to remember! Now onwards and upwards as we return to Bumps.
Max Filley – Women’s + NB Captain, 2022-23
Men’s + NB Squad
After the long summer break the men’s squad headed into Michaelmas term diminished in numbers but not in spirit, prepared to take on some increasingly cold mornings in pursuit of big results.
The squad started the term in an M1 IV and an M2 VIII to allow M1 to prepare for University IVs, with the first race of the term, Autumn Head, to come before then. Despite having under two weeks of training together, both crews finished a very respectable 5th in their divisions, a good starting point to build on across the rest of the term.
For M1, the next challenge ahead was University IVs at the end of October. Following a crew change a couple of weeks before the race, the crew pulled together quickly and made swift improvements in the bow-rigged, bucket-rigged and bow-loaded boat. Our day one draw was favourites Jesus, and unfortunately, they carried that form into the race, knocking M1 out on the first day. Despite the disappointing result, we posted the 5th fastest time of the day, beating Lent Bumps rivals Pembroke and Caius.
Following Uni IVs, the squad switched boats, with M1 becoming an VIII for the run to Fairbairn’s, and M2 becoming a IV. On the day of Winter Head, M1 put in a superb row in their first race together, coming 7th overall among the college crews, just 15 seconds away from 2nd place Peterhouse. Meanwhile, M2 entered in a composite VIII alongside 4 novices who got their first taste of racing! Despite some Ditton corner complications including a three-wide moment with ex-Downing cox Cam Watson, they all put in a strong row and had a fantastic time in a large race with a BR division.
The final race of term was Fairbairn’s, the largest on-Cam event besides Bumps. M1 were racing the full 4.3km course, while the M2 IV raced the shorter, 3.4km fours course. M1 went hard off the line and with plenty of encouragement from the bank they hung on right the way through to the end, putting in a rate 36 finish and never letting the split drop. A 7th place finish among the college crews puts the boat in a good position to build from next term. M2 rowed very well together, holding a solid rate and split to come 5th among college 2nd boat IVs.
After an enjoyable BCD, a quad and a IV entered Christmas Head from the men’s squad, alongside two further mixed boats. The quad was the second-fastest men’s quad on the day, and the fastest student quad in an absolutely packed division of a single boat. After some dubious rowing to marshalling and some musical entertainment from cox Adrian, the IV went on to come 5th overall in the 4+ division.
The whole squad is now focussed on training hard over Christmas, maintaining our fitness and starting the Lents preparation early, with the goal of defending and improving our positions on the river.
Alex Pennington – Men’s + NB Captain, 2021-22
We are all looking forward to our training camp next week and are ready to put in the hard work and 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!