After a successful training camp in Aiguebelette, we started the term with 27 members in the men’s club, just enough for three 8s.
M1 had a difficult term and struggled with a number of injuries. In all, they only managed to have seven outings in the full crew. M1 took these setbacks in their stride, with their coach, Kate Hurst, pushing them on through some tough sessions. They produced good results early in the term in Newnham Short Course and Robinson Head. M1’s stroke suffered a cycling injury in the run up to bumps, forcing a significant change in crew order. Whist a result of -3 is not what they were hoping for, M1 produced some of their best rowing of the term during Bumps week, a standard we were all proud of given the difficult circumstances. There will be real competition for M1 seats next term, something we all know benefits the boat speed. Bring on Mays!
M2 had a big shake-up this term. Four of last term’s rowers were replaced by recent novices. This meant the coach, Stephen Mathew, had to focus on the fundamentals of the stroke, but the crew responded well and returned to their recent form early in the term, both in boat speed and crew atmosphere! They started second in division three in Bumps. They had three strong row overs, but were bumped by Emmanuel on Day 2. M2 are expecting a couple of returners for next term and are looking in good shape for a strong Mays campaign.
M3 consisted mainly of last term’s novices. They had a strong start to the term, finishing 6th in their category in Newnham Short Course. The new M3 coach, Jack Wilson, brought real enthusiasm to the crew. They were determined to ‘get on’ to Bumps. Sadly, they were the third fastest non-qualifying crew, the same result as last year’s M3. With the majority of M3 intending to continue into the summer, we are confident that Jack will have them sharp and ready for May Bumps.
We began Lent term fresh from our winter training camp in the French Alps. This term, the club had two senior women’s VIIIs; W1 consisted of existing senior women plus a newly-noviced rower from NW1 who had stood out during the previous term. W2 was composed of rowers from NW1 as well as one complete novice who received a baptism of fire at the start of term as I threw her into W2 after a crash course in tubbing.
Launching into term as a scratch crew, W1 soon developed a fantastic connection with each other. To begin with, the technique of the crew left something to be desired and constant reminders of power were needed. Our race performances were so-so and the frequent need for subs hindered our progress. As we grew closer to each other, our competitiveness on the river grew. The realisation that we needed to raise our standards in order to progress was a turning point in our rowing and from then on, we firmly established ourselves as a W1 crew in both name and standard. Our superb crew atmosphere complemented our desire to row well and we went into bumps with confidence. In spite of being one of the smaller crews in terms of weight, we knew we stood a chance. Overall, we had the joint best performance of Christ’s W1 crews in Lent Bumps since the Headship crew (-2). The highlight was the last day, where Trinity Hall gave us a thrilling chase and as usual, W1 came together under pressure. Although we were eventually bumped, it was our best and most satisfying race of the week and our coach, Kate, found herself calling shouts of encouragement, as there were no technical calls to make! Sadly Women’s Head of the River race (WEHoRR) was cancelled due dangerous weather conditions. We had been greatly looking forward to it and we will instead channel our excitement into May term.
Mostly the same crew as last term, W2 was able to continue where they had left off. The weather of the start of term was not in their favour and as yellow flag after yellow flag stopped them going out, they became very good at checking the weather forecast and bringing erging kit to outings. They also experienced the frequent need for subs. Nevertheless, they retained admirable optimism. A lively crew, W2 kept up their bubbliness from last term. As technique gradually improved, they moved their focus to power. They were pleased with their race performances, coming 10th in Newnham Short Course and finishing in good time in Winter Head to Head (racing for time due to a male sub). Sadly, W2 did not reap the rewards of their training in Lent Bumps. It was the first Bumps race for all members of the crew and certainly a memorable one. They received their spoons with spirit and go into May term better equipped to attack May Bumps.