W1 – Women’s Head of the River Race 2017

W1 by the Tideway

Michael Hope (cox)
Becky Hartwell (stroke)
Charlotte Harrop
Marilou Boddé
Anna Te Water Naudé
Geertje van Rees
Ulrika Andersson
Billie Meadowcroft
Vivi Russell

11 March 2017

This weekend saw Queens’ W1 taking to the tideway for the 6.8 km of WEHoRR. Despite only having a week of training in a new lineup, they hit a solid rhythm straight off the start and left Caius, starting behind them, in the dust. They then held that rhythm for the whole 20 minutes keeping it tidy and efficient. They pushed through two gritty overtakes, the last in the final 1 km to finish 109th of over 300 crews, 6th of Cambridge colleges beating Catz, Christ’s and Newnham. They finished only 5.6s behind Lady Margaret as the 2nd Cambridge college. It was a fantastic experience for the crew, for most of whom it was their first experience of the tideway, and a result to be proud of. Looking strong for Mays!
Another notable result from the day saw Queens’ alumna Georgia Vann (2011) win the provincial pennant with Cantabrigian RC, finishing 14th.

M. Hope

W1 – 1st place! Newnham Short Course 2017

Shiny medals well deserved

Newnham Short Course was the first race of term for W1 to see how they compared with the other colleges. Despite having done little rate work yet this term, we wound up to 34 off the start and held a solid rate 31 for the whole race. The girls gave excellent commitment to the race, and whatever the result we were proud of our row. When the results were first published, we were placed 4th behind Jesus W2, followed by Christ’s (with their coach rowing in the crew) and Caius. These are three good colleges and we were very pleased with the result – but wait, there had been some mistake and the results were taken down. We waited on tenterhooks (or actually didn’t notice in the most part), and when the results were republished we had won! Fastest W1 crew on the river, in 7:57 for 2km. Somewhat taken by surprise by the new results, and very happy, we can look back at a good day of rowing.

M. Hope

W1 Winter Head to Head 2015

Bow: Georgia Vann

Jenny Morris

Georgie Holmes

Lauren Downing

Anna te Water Naude

Lindsey Askin

Rachel Salter

Laura Dearman

Cox: Michael Hope

Race report by Georgie Holmes

Having existed as Queens’ W1 for the grand total of one week, the time had come for us to be thrown into our first race as a crew – with three ex-novices making up three-quarters of bow four, the mere thought of corners was enough to bring us out in a cold sweat, so the row up to the start of the course was a nervous one.

The race was 2x2k, and the first leg was far better than the second – after completing the first 2k in 7 minutes 52, the initial adrenaline/panic had gone but tiredness had begun to kick in, meaning we achieved a much slower time of 8:37 on the second leg (which seems ridiculously slow compared to later 2k times – see report on Bedford for details!!). Nevertheless, our efforts put us in 7th place amongst the Cambridge college W1 crews – or ‘technically 6th’, as we insisted, since Christ’s rowed twice (?!). The fact that Christ’s won the H2H obviously meant that we hated them with every fibre of our being, marking the start of a rivalry that would last all term.

Overall, it was a pretty good start to W1’s Lent racing, giving us plenty to build on for Bedford, WeHorr and of course Bumps.

W1 Fairbairns 2014

Leaving a lengthy gap for Caius in front, trying not to be too overconfident after our term’s success, we set off to give it everything we had over the 3.4km course. Having found our rhythm and strode to a comfortable 32/33, we rowed past the boat houses. However, just as we came under the Elizabeth way road bridge, the clam on Sammy’s blade started to come loose. From the bow seat, I agonizingly watched as she wrestled to keep the blade under control. Eventually, the clam fell entirely off, and though not ideal, made the rowing easier with it gone. We could settle back into our rhythm again, and hope that we had not lost too many seconds. With Caius in our sights from the P and E, we went for the overtake. At the finish line outside the Plough we rowed past Caius, completing our term with style, coming away as the fastest women’s 4 on the river, winning by 11 seconds.

W1 Huntingdon Head 2014

Cox: Sophie Chung

Stroke: Laura Dearman

Anna te Water Naude

Sammy Wallace

Rachel Salter
Huntingdon Head was our first off-Cam race of the term, again in the four (so so much easier to put on a trailer than an eight!) – leaving early on Saturday morning, we arrived to a misty and dewy Huntingdon, with a very narrow river that seemed hidden in a dip between the sports ground and surrounding fields. It was a pretty paddle up and we made friends with a Norwich sculler while marshalling – then off we went, racing through a LOT of corners, hitting a tree at some stage and almost colliding with a double who didn’t give us the racing line as we overtook them … We ended up coming towards the finish behind another four (mixed J18s) and attempted to overtake them too – but we’d been pushing hard all race and could only sit on their tails. Racing for time only due to a lack of entries in our category, we finished 15th overall out of all the 56 small boats racing, with a time of 17.36 for the 4k upstream race. Not too bad! And we enjoyed our trip to the pub afterwards.

May Bumps 2014, M2

Day 1 – Bumped by Jesus M2

We had our closest chance of a bump on Day 1, with a three boat sandwich consisting of Jesus M2 chasing us and us chasing First and Third M2. Our start was good and we immediately gained on FaT, unfortunately Jesus (who went on to blade) started well too. We settled onto a solid rate 32 and began to eat up the distance between us and FaT, a push into first post corner brought us two whistles and the bump was within our grasp. Jesus had overlap as we started the approach into grassy corner and managed to get on the outside of our boat so as our stern moved outwards we made contact and the bump was awarded to Jesus. Had we been able to get the other side of Jesus’ bow we may have had a different result.

Day 2 – Bumped by Hughes Hall

Facing Hughes’ first boat we never stood much of a chance, we didn’t get much past our stride before we were bumped on the entry to first post corner.

Day 3 – Bumped by Darwin

We managed to pull away from Darwin initially, but with their much heavier crew and our disappointing campaign progress, we were caught just after first post corner. A better line into the corner may have helped, but it would have only delayed the inevitable.

Day 4 – Bumped by Wolfson

On the final day, we gave it our all. An explosive start helped us to hold station for a while, but again on the entry to first post corner we were caught by Wolfson.

Overall it was a disappointing campaign. The term was marred by absent coaches and a changing crew. We had many water sessions and our commitment was there, but unfortunately, we were just no match for the far bigger and more experienced crews we were facing.

May Bumps 2014, W2

Having been described as “technically awful”, “depressing” and “pathetic”, expectations were high for the Queens’ W2 May Bumps campaign.

The endless four days of pre-term rowing camp had left us broken, but our new boat had been formed and even though Michael had a temporary escape to W1, his return saw the end of our coxlessness and we began our bumps campaign on the 14th of April.

Despite the presence of a small level of commitment, surprisingly our campaign was not getting off to the best of starts as we encountered some difficulties, with Zoe being shat on by a bird and Laura having an asthma attack whilst stroking. On the bright side, our pursuit of motivational quotes was far more successful as we attempted to engage in ethical rowing (7/7), with the immortal realisation that “I am strong because of my boat”, as “my boat is me”. As bumps drew nearer we knew that every outing was crucial. So crucial that we temporarily forgot how to get into a boat, managing to capsize a four in front of the boat house with the entirety of M1 watching. Power of the Boar!

The first day of bumps had arrived, and we plodded down to the boat house knowing that the day was going to just be a “formality”. Hughes Hall had age, experience and three blues rowers on their side, but had at least warned Christine that our struggle would be over quickly. We marshalled in the sunshine, taking our place between Caius W2 (at the head of the river) and Hughes Hall W1. As the minute countdown began we turned our full attention and focus to the voice beneath our crotch and came to front stops. On the canon’s blast we were off. And what can only be described as Siggis’ “biggest shock of his rowing career” we did the impossible. As we pulled further and further away from Hughes Hall, the whistles started blowing, we were gaining on Caius, Michael kept the rate up and we had to power through the most painful piece of rowing any of us had done before. As Michael screamed hold it up, we knew we had done it, we had secured Queens’ first bump of Mays and almost caused Siggi to enter cardiac arrest out of shock.

Despite the elation of pulling away from Hughes, as we pulled into the bank we realised that we would have to do it all again as we gained the unwelcome title of “sandwich boat”. After practically marshalling in the lock, we knew that we had to bump Christ’s in order to minimise the amount of rowing we would have to do for the rest of the week. At the cannon’s blast we powered through our start sequence, hearing the first whistle before the stride. Christ’s put up a strong attempt to hold us off, but as Michael shouted “Kill!” we gave it everything we had left securing an overlap. Despite the fact that we mounted Christ, their cox did not concede and on one final shout of kill we hit their boat and looked to the bank to see Siggi’s fist pump of celebration. As we put on foliage for the second time of the day, we rowed back proudly to the boat house accompanied by an average at best rendition of “We Will Rock You”.

As the second day of bumps arrived, we were nervous: expectation and excitement now surrounded Queens’ W2, the only Queens’ boat to have bumped on day one. Downing W2 were ahead of us. In the words of Siggi, there was no pressure on us, except for the fact that we had to bump. As the canon went we powered through our start sequence. For the first time in our bump’s campaign we strode down to rate 32 and began to eat away at the water between us and Downing. As Michael shouted “Kill!” we gave one last push and bumped just after the railway bridge.

Friday saw the arrival of the critical third day of bumps. We knew that we had to bump today in order to avoid Hughes on Saturday as well as continue our chances of getting blades. At the canon’s blast we raced off, securing our first whistle after the stride. We powered through the heat, past the railway bridge, with the whistles blowing more and more frequently. At the “Kill!” call came we gave one last push and secured our fourth bump of our Mays’ campaign.

As Saturday arrived, the day we’d all been joking about for the past eight weeks materialised: the chance to row for blades. We were quietly confident, but knew that there with the strong Queens’ presence on the bank came expectation and pressure. We rowed down the river for the last time as a crew, and pulled up between John’s and Clare who posed our final challenge. The canon’s blast saw us unleash our fastest start yet and we raced down the river at rate 44, gaining our first whistle on our second wind. Clare were in our sights, and we powered through the pain, getting nearer with every stroke until finally Michael screamed “hold it up!”. Clare had become the fifth boat to fall during our bumps campaign, somehow the Queens’ W2 crew had been able to defy everyone’s expectations – mostly our own – and not only secure the boats place in the W2 division for the first time this century, but also bump five times, gaining blades.

As we were draped in practically a whole tree of foliage, Michael proudly held up the Boar’s Head Flag and we rowed round the corner past the Queens’ Pimms tent to a euphoric round of applause. Our shock and elation quickly turned into panic as Lizzie was put in the coxing seat and managed to successfully crash despite the river being straight, causing mayhem for the W1 crews lining the river. As we arrived back to the boat house for the last time of the year, cupcakes and champagne beckoned, and the celebrations that lasted into the early hours of the morning began.

Although Siggi didn’t find the “with sympathy” card as hilarious as we did, we knew that his tyrannical training regime had paid off. We had managed to blade, bumping five times in the process, whilst having a lot fun along the way.

From a boat of ex-novices, we had reinstated Queens’ W2 firmly within the W2 division, and were able to celebrate, happy in the knowledge that it would be a while before the phrase “arm’s only” emerged to haunt us again.

Lizzie Popli (W2 Captain Mays 2014)


Cox – Michael Hope

Stroke – Lizzie Popli

7 – Jess Moxom

6 – Christine Cuthbert

5 – Elena Georgalla

4 – Laura Douglas

3 – Helena Pomfret

2 – Jess Tray

Bow – Zoe Sciver

Coach – Siggi Martinsson

Subs – Laura Dearman and Elaina Davis

May Bumps 2014, M4

Went down -2
Finished 3rd in the M5 division and as the 3rd fastest fourth men’s boat

Day 1 – bumped by Magdalene M3

We started our Bumps campaign at the head of the M5 division and with high hopes of moving up into M4 with a strong effort on Day 1. Our coach, Jack, had warned us, however, that being sandwich boat meant that we equally could row over twice and be subjected to the same plight again the next day. There was a lot of discussion in the boat about the best strategy to pursue, including conserving energy should the boats behind bump out. Above all, the general consensus was that “Queens’ don’t get bumped by Magdalene.” In the end, however, this was all moot, as Magdalene M3 proved to be just too fast off the start, and the day ended quite prematurely without the satisfaction of even one row over, even though we had all been in it “for the long haul.” The situation was complicated by one of our crew coming off his seat and the seat coming off the rails entirely, a bizarre commotion ahead involving sirens, and carnage behind that led to rerows for most of the division behind us. Our start sequence left much to be desired, so, admittedly, it might not have mattered in the end.
Day 2 – bumped by Sidney Sussex M2

On Day 2, despite our confidence having been knocked down a peg, we were determined as ever to hold off the boat behind us, which happened to be a second boat. The atmosphere of apprehension grew when the division was delayed at the start for about 15 minutes when a horse, jolted by the four-minute cannon, galloped down the towpath and had to be tracked down and guided back up towards the Lock. Our start sequence was markedly improved from Day 1, and it seemed that we had learned not to panic like we had the day before. Unfortunately, holding off a second boat proved to be too much to ask, and we were bumped around First Post Corner, having barely finished our start sequence. We could, however, take solace in knowing that we had made some gains on Jesus M4 in front of us and could give them a run for their money on another day.
Day 3 – row over!

On Day 3, Sidney Sussex M2 promptly bumped Trinity Hall M3 in front of us, so we were left to go for the row over. And boy did we do just that. Our lead on Kings M3 grew exponentially at each bend to the point where any observer might have assumed that there had been several bumps between us. The lead was reported by Cam FM as being “enormous” and quantified by our coach, Tayo (who is an engineer by the way), to be “six to eight lengths.” Several of the crew, including our cox, Tom, had deplorably been in the spoon-winning M3 boat in Lents, so this row over came as a huge and welcome relief. It was a pity we were so high up in the division, or we could have perhaps been close to an overbump otherwise.
Day 4 – row over

On Day 4, the deck was stacked, and we all knew it: Jesus M4, whom we had been chasing and gaining on back on Day 2, had been bumped by Sidney Sussex M2 and was again ripe for the taking. We rowed with ever more hunger as we raced past the congregation of Queens’ alumni gathered at First Post for the QCBC Garden Party. Unfortunately, Jesus M4 bumped up on First and Third M4 before we could make a pass at them, which left us settling for a row over again. Things were much more interesting on this day, however, as it seemed that Kings M3 had made some progress overnight, and they were “only” three to four lengths behind us at Ditton Corer. Halfway up the Long Reach, one of our crew caught a crab, which took over ten nerve-wracking seconds to resolve. Our lead dropped to three lengths…two lengths…one length, but, fortunately, once we recovered our rhythm, we were able to row over in convincing fashion. Overall not a bad effort for the week, as we had proven that we could row, as two row overs could not possibly be a fluke. But oh, how things might have been different…

Tim Xu (M4 Captain Mays 2014)


Cox – Tom Hiom

Stroke – Tim Xu

7 – Tom Crawford

6 – Chris Bray

5 – Jamie Harris

4 – Tom Stafford

3 – Rob Davis

2 – Ben Sutherland

Bow – Dan Henderson

Coaches – Tayo Moore, Jack Amey

Lent Bumps 2014, M1


Cox: Chris Clark

Stroke: Tom Bury

7: Mark Varley

6: James Edgley (c)

5: Alex Duncomb

4: Henry Cathcart

3: Helge Dietert

2: Fernando Bravo

Bow: Jack Amey

Coach: Charlie Adams
Day 1 – Rowed over

With all the chaos from the term it was hard to tell how we measured up to the crews around us. Bedford was cancelled due to the weather and we were unable to do any sparring because of the erratic changing of the flag, so sitting on the start line on day one, anything could have happened. As it so happened Queens’ M1 did what they do best and rowed over with Downing ahead bumping Caius to gain headship, and behind us Jesus bumped FAT before first post corner. Our row over wasn’t particularly elegant but it got the job done keeping LMBC at a comfortable distance behind. We were still third on the river!

Day 2 – Bumped by Jesus

After seeing Jesus decapitate FAT in under a minute we knew we had to improve our performance drastically from the first day if we wanted to hold our podium position. We got off to a great start holding them off at a length by the time of our stride. Not going to lie, the race was over pretty quickly after that. Jesus pushed up on us extremely fast. We tried to respond but we just could not match the power they had in the boat and the inevitable happened half way down the gut. At least we made it further than FAT.

Day 3 – Bumped by LMBC

LMBC also bumped FAT extremely quick and we knew we had another difficult row ahead. We got off to a sensational start holding station with LMBC behind and Jesus in front. Keeping them at a length coming into grassy 4th place was all to play for. We took a good line round grassy but still lost about half a boats length. Quickly bringing the boat up to race pace out the corner we hit a strong rhythm and kept LMCB at bay. Just outside the plough LMBC put in a huge push to try and take us down. They got to within inches of our stern but no closer. Zigzagging around and giving it everything we had we held them off going into Ditton. Unfortunately they managed to get their bows down the inside round the corner and from then on it was game over. We put in a great rowing performance and showed great fighting spirit. Who knows if we had managed to hold them off round that last corner we might have been able to hold them off to the finish.

Day 4 – Bumped by Pembroke

Having put in such a good performance against a very strong LMBC crew we had a lot of positives to take into the next race against Pembroke. Again they caught FAT extremely quickly but we knew if we put in a good performance we could have them. Once again we put in a great start keeping Pembroke at station. Our performance went downhill from here. We were putting a lot of check on the boat and we could not find that efficient cruising speed. As a result Pembroke just steadily ate into the gap and bumped us on Ditton corner. If we had put in the same performance we did against LMBC no doubt we would have walked away from that fairly average Pembroke crew and it was a shame to end the campaign on such a disappointing note. Being 6th on the river is still isn’t though.

The fall from grace is a difficult pill to swallow but we shall use this experience to our advantage as extra motivation to train even harder for the all-important May Bumps and Henley Regatta.

James Edgley, Queens’ College Boat Club Men’s Captain 2013-2014

Lent Bumps 2014, W1

W1 were very pleased to be the most successful Queens’ boat this campaign, going up from 11th to 9th place in Division 1.

After many hours training and being coached by the wonderful Bill, we were raring to go on Day 1 and lined up at station 11, behind arch rivals Catz. This first day evolved into an incredibly gruelling row over. Despite our determination, Catz held us at half a length the whole way and we trailed in their dirty water, never quite able to close the gap. We were as demoralised as if we had been bumped (although King’s behind us had been bumped by Ditton) and returned to the boathouse to cheer ourselves up with cake.

On the second day, things were over much quicker than expected when Catz bumped Pembroke on First Post and neither cleared the river, forcing us and LMBC behind to stop. We were given a technical rowover (although LMBC were asking for a re-row) and rowed the rest of the way home calmly to conserve our energy for the next day when we would have a shot at a bump on the rather slow Pembroke crew who were coming down.

Day 3 we were quietly confident if not a bit scared of the very angry LMBC crew behind. Sure enough, one whistle of the start was easily ours, but then for an agonising minute or 2 down the motorway reach, LMBC got a whistle on us and we had nothing more on Pembroke in front. Then we made our move, LMBC dropped away and then within a few seconds it was 2 whistles, 3 whistles and Anisha shouting ‘2 feet!’ down the cox box and it was all over. We rowed home adorned in foliage; for some it was their first bump in Lents and it was Claire’s first since 2009!

On the final day of Lents, we had Newnham in front who had been bumped twice and rowed over once. We had hopes of catching them but knew it would take longer and we wouldn’t have any threat behind us pushing us on. Again, we had a whistle off the start and then until grassy we held them more or less on station as they got 2 whistles on Catz who had bumped them the day before. Coming out of grassy, Catz made a move to get away, Newnham died as they had given everything already and Anisha’s line easily gave us a length in a few strokes. We bumped them outside The Plough (clearly just waiting until we had the largest audience!), which importantly was quicker than Catz had bumped them the day before.

We finished the week pleased with the result and had a great Bumps dinner to celebrate. A huge thanks you to Paul, Dr Walker and friends who came to bank party and support us each day and Bill who has coached us with great dedication all term. We now look to Wehorr on the Thames with great excitement!

Cox: Anisha Mistry

Str: Jemima Graham (Captain)

7 Elaina Davis

6 Helena Wickham

5 Anna te Water Naudé

4 Sammy Wallace

3 Rachel Salter

2 Laura Dearman

B: Claire Armstrong
Jemima Graham, Captain W1