The Cambridge Rowing Tank

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Anyone who has ever been in a rowing boat knows how hard it can be to improve their technique. The conditions during an outing can be poor, both in terms of weather and traffic. Also, translating a coach’s words into physical movements is an art-form that takes some time to master. To this end, Downing College Boat Club decided to build a rowing tank – an indoor system in which athletes can can be coached in laboratory conditions.

These training facilities, used extensively in the US and now becoming more prevalent in the UK, are excellent in developing good rowing technique in novices, and better rowing technique in more experienced rowers. The setup features an advanced audio-visual system, fully rigged up with cameras and screens. Rowers will be able to watch their movements in real time from several angles on a screen in front of them, feedback which we can only dream of having while rowing on the water.

A full collection of photos showing the tank in use can be found here.

Cambridge Rowing Tank under construction
Jim Dreher opening Cambridge Rowing Tank

The money necessary was raised by the concerted effort of a team of alumni and current students over the course of several months. Renovation of the boathouse started in June 2017, and the tank itself was installed at the end of October 2017. Works continued throughout Michaelmas Term in preparation for the opening of the Tank in mid January 2018. The Tank was used for the first time at the DCBC training camp in Cambridge during the second week of January.

Cambridge Rowing Tank was officially opened on Segreants’ Day on Saturday 21st April, 2018 by Jim Dreher.

DCBC’s M1 using the tank for the first time during the 2018 training camp
The AV System at Cambridge Rowing Tank

DCBC have priority use of the tank, allowing us to train our own novice and senior rowers to the highest standard. The unit is also be let out to other colleges, clubs, and schools, which we hope will have a major positive impact on the overall standard of rowing in Cambridge.

This is a hugely ambitious project, and we are incredibly grateful for the support of our alumni who ensured that it could go ahead. Special thanks go to Jeremy Boardman, Simon Wood, Charlie Slater, and Ian Watson for the time, initiative and passion that they contributed to turning this dream into a reality.

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