W2 Pembroke Regatta – 16/02/19

Pembroke Regatta was W2’s first race of Lent term. Having had quite a steep improvement curve in previous outings, we were confident in our abilities to succeed.


After a solid row down to the marshalling area, and a subsequent good practice start, our first race was against Sidney Sussex W2. We sat off head-to-head, but easily left them behind after a couple of strokes and won the race with no problem.

Next, we raced against Caius W2. Knowing that their club is quite serious on training we were a bit more aware of the challenge than in the previous round. However, once again we were able to leave them behind with a great start and a great rhythm, giving our everything.

In the semi-finals Downing W2 was our enemy. Although we were already fairly tired by this time, we gave another huge push, reaching an 500m split of 2:05. Unfortunately, Downing was able to beat us, but we didn’t let them win easily as we were right by their bow for the whole race.

Altogether, all of W2 is very proud of our performance on the race and we are looking forward to future successes together.

W1 Pembroke regatta – 16/02/19

Queens’ vs. Selwyn
Crew: James Zimaras (cox), Billie Meadowcroft (stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (7), Ulrika Andersson (6), Kathryn Van der Byl (5), Pippa Sayers (4), Katy Relph (3), Charlotte Hallam (2), Kate Attfield (Bow)
A week of illness had hit the QCBC W1 following their trip to Bedford. 6 of the squad suffered from a short lived but aggressive colds, our 4 seat managed to get a chest infection and the bow seat fell victim to some unsavoury sushi which took her out for a few days with nasty food poisoning. The only survivor is Katy – no one knows how she has managed to avoid it… Copious amounts of Berocca might have been her secret weapon.
Nonetheless, the crew got on with it and arrived on race day with spirits high (but lung capacities low). A focused and balanced paddle brought us to the marshalling zone, and then up to the start line. We exploded out of front stops and hit r40 on the winds as the start buzzer took us by surprise. The messy start was quickly recovered as we reached our ‘stride’ and we started to gain on the crew beside us. Seat by seat, we pushed away until we arrived at the halfway mark where our cox was in line with their 2 seat. The crew had set up a beautiful and strong rhythm at a solid r34. Unfortunately this is where our race started to break down, Selwyn had a huge push which brought them back level with us, and all our best efforts were fruitless as the Queens’ crew tried to hang onto their handles and transfer any of the force they had left into the water. Selwyn started to gain some water on us and we simple could not respond. We crossed the finish line half a boat length behind them.
A disappointing race in many ways but a ban from training from our coach, and a prescribed rest hopefully will get this wonderful crew back on their feet (/into their stretchers?) and back on the water to get some great training in ahead of bumps.

W1 Bedford – 10/02/19

Crew: James Zimaras (cox), Billie Meadowcroft (stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (7), Ulrika Andersson (6), Kathryn Van der Byl (5), Pippa Sayers (4), Katy Relph (3), Charlotte Hallam (2), Kate Attfield (Bow)
After an early departure and a rigging session in the rain, the QCBC fleet arrived just in time to the start line of the Bedford’s Eights and Fours Head. We rowed through the two low rail bridges with our characteristic “chunky paddling”, and James called for the first draw: the race started. A confident rhythm was set up as we pushed onto and out of all of the consecutive bridges, that we had mentally mapped as the corners on the Cam. A rate of 31 strokes per minute carried us through the first half of the race, and although the water felt bouncier than what we are accustomed to, the crew reached round their riggers to go and get the first few inches of the stroke that we have been working hard to make the most out of in the weeks leading up to the race. We came under the low arched town bridge as James called for strong finishes. As a response, the echo of our feathering under the bridge marked the start of the second section of the race. Our tried and tested “new rhythm, new race” call set us up nicely and we braved the straight wide part of the river that we know our boat runs beautifully on. A level head and confidence in our ability saw us under the suspension bridge in no time at all, and we started increasing the pressure as we felt the finish line approaching. A sequence of ‘up two on the rate’ brought the whole crew into gear as we wound up and attacked our finish sequence. Using our last drops of energy to lever ourselves through the finish line, we clocked a time of 7:06 which left us in third position and a mere 8 seconds behind the winners – Jesus College BC. All in all, despite the wet and cold conditions, this racing day was a huge success for the QCBC W1 crew. We executed the course to the best of our ability and concluded our Head’s racing season on a high. The next obstacle is to learn to sprint…

W2 Fairbairns

Coach: Isabella Mahoney
Crew: Leonhard Redlich (Cox), Isobel Jack (Stroke), Bethany Capstick (7), Caroline Breeden (6), Emma Campbell (5), Zsofi Belovai (4), Carly Gilson (3), Alice Wenban (2), Jennifer Michail (Bow)

Michaelmas had been a difficult term for our crew, with fewer outings than we would have liked, mostly because of the pesky yellow flag! But come racing day, we were excited to challenge ourselves and prove a W2 worthy of both Isabella’s fabulous coaching and Queens’. With our regular 6-seat unfortunately unavailable, a saviour came in the form of novice Caroline, who very kindly and courageously stepped in to the 6-seat last minute. As the 42nd boat of our division, marshalling was long and slow, but slowly and surely the starting line got closer and soon it was ‘Queens’, whenever you are ready’.

And we were off! With the race divided into four sections, we focused on rhythm and power through the winding river to Green Dragon Bridge. After the plough we hunkered down and settled into a good rhythm, Leo calling for length and power. Before any of the rowers knew it, we were closing in on the crew in front, Darwin W2. As we raced down the Plough Reach and with the rowers hardly believing it, Leo called ‘come by! Through some expert coxing and the encouragement of both Isabella and the W1 coach Lisa, we powered past Darwin on Grassy and began to pull away from them. Spirits were high after our takeover and the third section of the race flew by. Soon we were nearing the Motorway Bridge and Leo called for us to empty the tanks. We pushed with the final strength in our legs and crossed the finish line.

We finished in a time of 18:49, the third fastest W2 crew. We were very excited and it was a fitting send-off for our cox Leo, who has been amazing this term and will be going home to row in Germany. Congratulations to W2 and we are looking forward to Lent

W1 Fairbairns

Crew: Beth Kemp (cox), Billie Meadowcroft (stroke), Léa GP (7, captain), Ulrika Andersson (6), Kathryn van der Byl (5), Pippa Sayers (4), Katy Relph (3), Charlotte Hallam (2), Kate Attfield (Bow), Lisa Silk (coach)
Having logged the water miles and clocked the watts on the ergs, Fairbairns was anticipated by the Queens’ Michaelmas W1 crew. They had been training hard for many weeks and were a committed, determined crew. The girls were prepared with a solid race plan in mind that split up the long race into four distinct sections. This race was their opportunity to showcase the tremendous amount of progress they have made throughout the term.
The weather conditions were idyllic, as it was unseasonably warm, sunny and the wind was in our favour. The girls were nervous as they boated and marshalled past the boathouses. ‘Queens’ whenever you are ready…’. We came to front stops. Two strokes and into a rolling start. We started the race with a long and steady pace, holding back slightly, aware of the 4.3km that lay ahead. We weaved in and out of the corners in town and under the Green Dragon Bridge. Beth cornered nice and tight around Chesterton and delivered the ‘gear change’ call. This marked the end of the first section.
Up two on the rate, more pressure in the water. A real shift was felt in the boat. A long stretch of water lay ahead and the crew was determined to make the most of it. Best of all, Newnham W1 ahead of us were only 5 boat-lengths away. With a new goal in sight, we placed our blades into the water and drew them into our chests with intent. Along the Long Reach, we chipped away at the distance that separated us from the crew in front making sure to stay strong with our posture and efficient with our rowing. Beth went through the pairs, asking for strong catches from the bows, a real shunting feeling from the middle four and a sustained rhythm from the stern. On all fronts, the crew executed whatever was called and the boat was flying through the water.
Ditton marked the end of the second section. By this point in the race, we weren’t thinking anymore, we were just pushing. We had gotten to two boat-lengths between us and Newnham, and had to take the corners slightly off the racing line to avoid a collision. Nonetheless, the girls mastered the corners, applying the right amount of lateral pressure into their riggers to stay on top of their platform. Rowing in the wake of the crew ahead of us, we feathered high and kept executing our racing plan. 20 bigs strokes got us through the gut.
Once the rudder was off, we knew that we had entered the last section of our racing plan. The end sequence. This is a section that we have been working on all term. Going up on the rate and power at the end of the race without losing the balance or technique has always been a challenge for us. We went up two. The power matched the increase in speed. Our blades were going in and out cleanly, only one boat-length away from the crew ahead of us. We came under the motorway bridge and Beth called for us to ‘sit up and go’. We shortened our strokes, and wound through the finish line, just half a boat-length off of Newnham.
We had finished in 17:11, 35 seconds off of the winning college crew and placing us 6th within the colleges. A result to be very proud of. A smashing end of a nearly perfect term of rowing, which has left the whole crew very excited about Lent.

NW2 Emma Sprints

On the cold but sunny day NW2 a.k.a The Raspberries raced Emma Sprints in the morning division. After a solid row down to the Green Dragon Bridge (leaving a slightly bit late but being fast as the wind) the 9 girls, dressed as rainbows, queued up to the start. Our first race was against Lucy Cavendish NW2. The Raspberries had a very solid start and our competitors crashed right at the beginning so we had the window of opportunity to row away. Without any sight of Lucy around our bow we won the race. On the way back we raced against Darwin NW2. Both crews had a great start and we rowed head-to-head all the way to the finish line. Unfortunately Darwin was a tiny bit faster than us, so they won the race with about 5 cm. Altogether, The Raspberries had a very successful morning and we rowed homed content. With our crab count being zero and with two successful starts, the girls are looking forward to racing in Clare Novices and Fairbairns.

QErgs Seniors

Crew: Pippa Sayers, Freddie Markanday, Alice Wenban, Noah Milton, Ulrika Andersson, Lex Van der Stoep, Lea Gansser-Potts, Balint Szepfalvi

The QErgs Senior division was won by Queens’ last year.

Following a cheeky warm up on the ergs whilst the other teams were standing outside the FItzpatrick hall, the Queens’ Boars sipped on their Red Bulls and energy gels with nerves and adrenaline following through their bodies. As the competitors arrived into the halls, so did the Queens’ supporters. The balconies were flooded with familiar faces, the home advantage was clear.

The marshalls lowered their clipboard and the race begun. Pippa went off to a flying start, as the crowd erupted to support her, then came Freddie with determination in his eyes commanding the split to stay below 1:30/500m. And it did, easily. Alice was next. She moved her arms, body and legs somewhat randomly but unbelievably effectively. The whole hall was aghast by the incredible and seemingly impossible strength that Alice was demonstrating. 1:37.6, the fastest women’s time by far – she was unreal. Noah had a tough act to follow as he strapped his feet in but the Men’s Captain was unfazed by the pressure and pulled the handle, strong and steady, until his 500m were behind him. Ulrika stepped up, and exploded out of the start line, with her gaze fixed on the screen – nothing was going to get in her way of crushing this race. By this time, Queens’ was pulling away from the main herd. The screams were getting louder, the MC was getting more biased and the team was getting more excited. Lex was next on and he put in a huge performance. Lea followed. The QCBC’s women’s captain nearly fell off her seat as she took her first stroke, but the President’s calm words of encouragement saw her through to the end of her 500m. She got off and on got Balint. Our secret weapon. The 1.20m tall Hungarian that all other colleges fear.  Neck and neck with FaT as he started, Balint hit 1.08/500m on his first strokes. The crowd went insane – he is big and he is strong. Everyone was screaming, and cheering our friendly giant towards the finish line which he crossed in an whopping 1:19. There were only 2 seconds between the victors and the runners up. Every stroke, from every Queens’ rower made a difference. What a team, and what a race. Everyone in the hall went insane. A sea of people in green jumped and flogged round the team on the erg. It had happened again. The QErgs senior division was won by Queens’.

Uni IVs Semi finals vs. Newnham W1

Crew: Beth Kemp (Cox), Billie Meadowcroft (Stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (3), Charlotte Hallam (2), Kathryn Van Der Byl (Bow)

Getting back into the boat after their memorable row a few days before, the crew’s plan was to go out and replicate their QF race. After marshalling in the rain, the crew came up to the start line. From the get-go, Newnham presented much more of a threat and Queens’ stoically held them at station round all the corners. They never quite settled for the same natural rhythm as the previous day but a fantastic reset in the Reach allowed Queens’ to try out their new finish sequence. Unfortunately, the Newnham crew crept up on Queens’ on the straight and crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of our W1. They then went on to win the final again Lady Margaret’s W1. Not the race that Queens’ had hoped but a 3rd place to be proud of nonetheless.

Both the W1 and W2 Uni IVs crew, which make up the 2018 Michaelmas W1 VIII have hugely benefited from training in the 4+ boats. This has allowed them to focus on fine tuning their technique in the more sensitive boats, as well as getting invaluable race experience. It was generally thoroughly enjoyed and the girls are excited to get back into the bigger boat to see their improvement.

Uni IVs W1 division Quarter finals vs. Kings W1

Crew: Beth Kemp (Cox), Billie Meadowcroft (Stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (3), Charlotte Hallam (2), Kathryn Van Der Byl (Bow)

Made up of 4 girls in their 3rd years, the W1 Uni IVs crew has been rowing together since they all learnt. With Beth in the cox’s seat, training leading up to these races had been a lot of fun. On race day the crew came up to the start line, ‘attention, GO’, and they were off. The start sequence went very well, and the boat was feeling light. A strong and natural rhythm was set up by the stroke pair, whilst bow pair effortlessly backed them up. The corners disappeared behind them as they increased the distance between them and Kings with every stroke they took. By the time Queens’ was going onto Ditton corner, they could see that Kings was no longer a threat. With a series on calls from Beth asking for the crew to give it their all, Queens’ ploughed through the finish line an incredible 44 seconds ahead of Kings. The whole crew was delighted with the performance they had just delivered, and I am sure that they will remember that race as a benchmark for good rowing for many races to come.

Autumn Head W1

Crew: Beth Kemp(Cox), Billie Meadowcroft (Stroke), Lea Gansser-Potts (7), Ulrika Andersson (6), Kathryn Van Der Byl (5), Pippa Sayers (4), Charlotte Hallam (3), Zsofi Belovai (2), Kate Attfield (Bow)

The autumn race took place on the 2nd Saturday of term which allowed for very little water time for the new and fresh-faced 2018 Michaelmas W1. The crew met the night before to go over the race plan, and after an intense 3 hours long crew meal, our fabulous new cox Beth emerged clutching an incredibly detailed map of the Cam scribbled all over with where she should deliver each call.

The condition on race day were far from ideal. With a strong wind all along the 2.7km course, the crew knew that they had a flight ahead of them. The start sequence quickly turned into the ‘stride’ call, and with the first corner coming up, Beth was in complete control of her crew. Her commands kept the crew on top of the wind and we whipped round all the corners. ‘The thirty best strokes of the race’ were asked for on Plough Reach, and the crew sat back into the wind and courageously kept their rhythm going. Once Ditton Corner had been negotiated, the Long Reach saw a reset from the crew and a real push to establish a rhythm that they could sustain. The milestones along this long stretch of open water started to pass the crew by, first the white house, then the railway bridge and eventually the P&E. At this point the crew started to sit up as the finish line was in sight. With Beth keeping the crew focused at all time with a stunning demonstration of her natural coxing skills, the crew crossed the finish line by the Green Dragon Bridge in 12:04.1 seconds, securing the 5th place for Queens’ and only 23.6 seconds behind the winners.

There were two main outtakes from this race. Firstly, Beth, who had only coxed a senior crew a handful of times before the race, was beyond fantastic and the women’s side is very lucky to be able to have her on-board. Secondly, the W1 crew should hold their head high as they demonstrated determination in buckets as they braved through the course in difficult conditions even for the most experienced crews. A promising start for the Queens’ women’s side.