Women + NB Squad Captain Introduction – 2023/24

 Hi! I’m Holly, and I am a third year Bio Natsci and the Women’s + NB captain for the upcoming year. I noviced in my first term at Cambridge, and I was quickly drawn in by both the sport and club, especially after getting the opportunity to race in a senior-novice composite for Winter Head. After the excitement of novice term, I signed up to the Winter training camp, which I absolutely loved despite some very cold mornings! About halfway through the camp I was approached by Ian and Emma (the then Women’s captain) and asked about joining W1 for lent. Though I was quite apprehensive (having before considered even W2 potentially too much of a stretch time commitment wise), I said yes, and I am to this day so happy I did. Some of my favourite rowing memories are from my first term in W1, including the very gutsy row-overs trying to reclaim headship in lent bumps and placing in the top 100 in WEHORR. Though the Easter term of that year got off to a great start, a series of badly timed injuries and COVID infections meant the term was considerably disrupted. I still loved my first May bumps despite the results not being what we hoped, and ended my first year of rowing very excited for the next!

W1 racing at WeHoRR – © Ben Rodford Photography

A considerable loss of numbers meant the first half of Michaelmas term of my second year was spent enjoying the beautiful (if cold!) mornings in the IV, with several members of W2 recruited later in the term to make up the Fairbairns VIII. As a Lower Boats Captain, I was very encouraged by the keen novices that we recruited during Michaelmas, with nearly 30 novice sign ups to the January training camp. 3 of those keen novices went on to join the Lent W1, which due to injury had around 3 weeks training in the VIII together before Lent Bumps, where we were second on the river.

W1 racing in the 2023 Lent Bumps – source unknown

Though we had put in as much training as possible in the time we had together, we were unfortunately bumped by a series of very strong crews to end up fifth on the river. A less disrupted Easter term meant we went to May bumps with a good VIII, pulling several lengths away from a chasing Fitzwilliam W1 on the first day and an isolated row over on the second day with the boats around us bumping out. Though we gained on Pembroke W1 on the third day, we were unfortunately caught by a blading Churchill W1, followed by a Trinity Hall W1 on the fourth day.

W1 after racing in the 2023 May Bumps

Looking forward to my final year, I am excited to continue to build the depth in the Women’s + NB squad, and am determined to get some bumps for the Women’s side, with both a Lents headship and W2 blades well within the realm of possibility. I am also hoping to field crews for some off-Cam races, especially WEHORR and potentially Henley Women’s Regatta. I am confident that with the base of rowers we have going into next year, there are some great results that can be achieved by the Womens+ NB side at DCBC!

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