After many mornings in the cold and a strong effort indoors at QErgs the women’s novices were eager to finally race on the water. The row to the start was a focused one – the excitement to finally show their progress was apparent. The NW1 boat (nicknamed the Gummy Bears) lined up at the start next to Caius NW1. The start was an even one, with Caius coming out slightly ahead only to move into the bank and be forced to a stop. Queens’ pushed away ahead to show their speed even without a competitor near to push them, but then a cross-wind hit and they too were forced to restart as they hit the bank. Caius were now a length ahead with half the race to go, and so Queen’s did a massive push on long strokes to regain the lead and came up next to them. Both crews were getting tired and pushed to their limits by being neck and neck with the competition. In the last 200m, the race was excruciatingly close, neither crew keeping the lead for more than a couple of strokes. In a brilliant call from cox Ellesheva Kissin, Queens’ gave their all in the last strokes to push ahead and won by half a foot!
Their second race was against Clare NW1, and here too the start was even. Queens’ pushed ahead by a canvas as they lengthened out and settled into a solid rythm, keeping Clare there for 300m. The crews drifted together closely and as their blades interlocked in the headwind a couple of crabs occurred in both boats, causing the boats to turn towards each other. Clare came out ahead as they faced towards the right side of a bend in the river and could thus restart fairly swiftly. Queens’ took up the chase and gained significantly but ultimately had too much to gain and too little river left. They lost by a length and a half in the end, but were happy with their first race day and looking forward to another regatta, Clare Novices, next weekend.
The NW2 boat entered in Emma Sprints was a mixed crew made up of half Skittles and half Jelly Babies (these are two of the tree women’s novice QCBC crews this year). Spirits were high as we pushed off in the Chrysalis all dressed up as queens, and the row down to the marshalling area was neat and looked promising. Our first race was against Darwin NW1. After the ‘start’ was called, our marvellous novice cox Leah Schmitt, cloaked and crowned, called the draws and winds and we crept ahead of Darwin. Unfortunately, Darwin was the faster crew over the course and they overtook us and won the race. Queens’ took this defeat in their stride and lined up for the second race against Trinity Hall NW2 with determination on their faces but again, our elegance and demeanour weren’t enough to claim victory and we crossed the finish line behind Tit Hall. Altogether, what the day lacked in victories, it had in positivity. The whole crew enjoyed the competitive spirit that the races nurtured, and came away from their first rowing regatta with good memories.
I am excited to announce the completion of the refurbishment of the coaching room at the boathouse. This was a project that I started over the summer, and has been finished off this week by the arrival of the centrepiece – the new honours board!
The board lists previous Captains and Presidents of QCBC, with Men’s Captains backdated to 1924! The boards have room to expand up until 2065, and so this represents a long term investment in celebrating the Club’s history and preserving this information for many years to come. A special thank you must go to the Alumni Office and to alumni themselves for supplying and verifying the names.
Aside from the honours board, the refurbishment has involved the replacement of the sofas (the previous sofas having been in place for perhaps 30 years!), fitting of blinds, installation of proper storage cabinets, and a new high quality television. This TV is already being put to excellent use by coaches, who can now take crews up to the room to debrief after outings and discuss technical points using footage from the outing.
The room has also become a comfortable place for rowers to relax before and after outings, with tea and coffee making facilities and snacks, and is suitable for working as well as chilling out on the sofas with the TV. I hope that the room will continue to be utilised to its full extent, and will serve to enhance the coach ability of crews and also the use of the boathouse space in general.
We are also pleased that after many years and many attempts, I am very pleased to announce that the College has permitted us to store and use two ergs in the College. They are currently stored outside the Bowett room, where they will remain initially for a trial period. The provision of ergs in College is something the Club has long felt passionately about, and now means that QCBC members have easy access to the equipment without having to travel to the boathouse, which we all know can be wholly unpleasant and time consuming in the winter months! Many thanks to the College for allowing us this privilege.
QErgs hosted 900 competitors this year for an evening of ergtastic fun! For the first time ever we live streamed the event on Facebook which was very well received. We also partnered up with the Teach First charity who ran a stall in the bar giving out energy snacks and information to competitors. The event ran smoothly this year thanks to the help of the dedicated members of the club who gave up their free time to marshal and set up. Queens’ were particularly successful winning the novice men’s and the senior division, celebrating with a club finale victory dance to ABBA.
We have now had our two competitions with the novices. First was Qergs for which the women’s side entered 3 boats and everyone thoroughly enjoyed. All who participated said they had a really good time and it inspired them to want to do more competitive rowing. The squads on the women’s side have stayed as 3 main crews with 9-12 in each and this has worked well and allowed everyone to be able to go out on as many outings as they have wanted to. We look forward to rowing faribairns with 3 strong women’s crews entered.
The men’s side has a strong base this year with two full eights. However we have learnt that coxes during the colder months are a rare commodity with some rowers having to take to the rudder (with varying degrees of success!). President Chivers proved that he deserves his name on the new honours board, stroking M2 to victory at Winter Head, winning the student M2 category. We have strong hopes for M2 for Fairbairns – good luck boys!
M1 had a rocky start to term, but gained over 20 seconds against other colleges in Winter Head compared to Autumn Head. This is in part due to cox Jayna Patel running ruthless core sessions while barking orders and wielding a large stick. The crew has also benefited from strong technical oversight and encouragement from coaches Rob Jeffrey and Chris Clark.
After Autumn Head, a new squad based training system was used where up and coming rowers got the opportunity to row with more senior members. This had huge advantages to consolidate the squad rowing style, improve cohesion and bonding as well as vastly improve individual technique. This has paid off for both boats in Winter Head and we hope to see the returns for the rest of the year.
QCBC Men’s Captain 2017/18
Last night QCBC hosted their annual fireworks party and BBQ at the boathouse for members of the College, and it was a great success with over 100 people attending. It was a great chance for college members across the years to get to know each other and learn more about the boat club and some of it’s history.
The novices at Queens’ have arrived in huge numbers this year, with over 100 signing up at the freshers’ fair alone. On both the men’s and women’s side we’ve seen a real enthusiasm to commit to the club, and this should stand us in good stead as the term progresses. The women’s LBCs have set up 4 squads of 12 rowers each, allowing for easy interchange between rowers and subs, and ensuring no boats will be unable to race for lack of participants. The men have, following the tactics of a successful Michaelmas term last year, created a top squad of 16 rowers spread across 2 boats, allowing for inter-club competition, and two further flexible squads of 12 to ensure the maximum number of students are able to row.
The first target of the term is, of course, QErgs, which we go into with great confidence that the novices will do the college proud! Following QErgs, the crews will begin to become more fixed, in order to maximise the amount of time each boat has to train together before the races begin on the water. From Emma Sprints to Fairbairns at the end of term, we hope the novices will not only perform well across the divisions, but also get a sense of how fun racing at Cambridge can be.
Finally, the social side. This year sees an increase in the number of inter-club socials, aimed at fostering a real sense of team spirit amongst Queens’ rowers, which will hopefully translate into noticeable improvements in performance.
The start of this term has given us all great confidence that we can match – or even better – the achievements of last Michaelmas, and we look forward to a fun and friendly start to the rowing year!
The women’s side at Queens’ has got off to a promising start this year with a very strong Michaelmas senior squad. Alongside an impressive number of experienced rowers from last years’ Mays, we’ve also welcomed a small number of schoolgirl rowers to the club, giving us a depth and strength that will stand us in good stead over the course of the year. We’ve also brought in a fresh pair of eyes in our new coach, Lisa Silk, whose experience and skill is unparalleled – we’re looking forward to working with her this year and having our most successful year yet!
Our first few outings have been in mixed combinations to find the quickest crew, and one such mixed combination was put to the test in the W2 division of Autumn Head on the 14th October. Despite a slightly patchy race, we ended up narrowly winning our category, showing that although there is plenty of work to be done we have a strong foundation already! Next up is University IVs beginning on the 24th October; as the only Queens’ crew to enter, our W1 IV has been training hard to do the club proud.
Off the water, we’ve been reviving the social side of the club to reinstate QCBC as the most sociable, fun society in Queens’, and our calendars are very full already! Highlights so far include a cheese and wine night, several post-row brunches and an all-girl formal for both the senior and novice women. The team spirit off the water is translating into excellent commitment to and improvements in training, so we’re going to maintain it through the year to keep QCBC’s women happy, successful and climbing up the Bumps charts!
Georgie Holmes, QCBC Women’s Captain 2017-18
Welcome to all new students! In the last week we have held rowing taster sessions for new and returning students. It’s looking good for this year of new rowers, with over 100 people signing up! The coming weeks will be filled with rowing and socials alike. Special congrats to the women’s squad, who have their biggest novice signup in years with 5 boats worth of rowers.