Newnham Short Course: W3 RACE REPORT

The Newnham short course was the first race for some of us in a senior crew in W3. We were all very excited to see how much we have improved since novice term. Although one of our crew members injured her back earlier in the week, we managed to find a sub in order to race.

The weather was sunny and warm for February- a perfect day for rowing. We were off to a strong start once the race began, with a great start sequence we had tried to perfect many times during training sessions. We maintained race pace at rate 31 spm throughout the first part of the race. Halfway through the race, some of us were starting to get tired, but with persistence and continued encouragement from our cox and coach on the bank, we maintained the pace and finished strongly with a power ten. This was certainly the best 2km we as a crew have ever done, and even managed to beat a few W2 and one W1 crew in total racing time!
We were all cheering and smiling happily rowing back to the boat house, knowing all the training and fitness sessions have paid off. Special thanks to Päivi for coaching us this term and giving us so much invaluable advice and tips. We are now looking forward to other races happening this term, having the confidence that we can do well.

Vanessa Cheung, 2


Now we were officially in a senior crew, there was a lot of pressure to do well in this race and as we got the boat ready there were nerves tingling everywhere. Having practiced those 2k sprints and pieces, we were determined to give it our best and make the rest of MECBC proud.

As we headed up the river, we were a bit shaky and our strokes weren’t quite in time, however we put our best smiles on and focused on our target: “Come on guys, we can’t come last”. As we nibbled on our Haribo, (we got an extra packet because they forgot to print out our number) with the determination of coming at least second to last, we watched all the boats ahead of us start their race with anticipation.

We started with a steady rolling start and increased speed once we were past Newnham bridge. Our initial aim was to row at a steady rate 27 to avoid getting too out of time, however with effective calls, adrenaline, skill developed after all that training, and maybe a bit of a sugar rush from that extra packet of Haribo we rowed in time at rate 32 most of the way. Exhilarating! Päivi cheered us on as we powered along and we ended the race on a high.

We found out later in the day that we had come second place and were beaten by just a second, ONE second!!! We were all over the moon considering our initial target. Päivi has been a great coach and we have all improved significantly with her coaching. W1 and W2, watch out!

Emily Larcombe, cox


After just one week of rowing in our crew we had our first race last Saturday. Full of excitement everyone arrived punctually at the boat house and we were all surprised by the nice weather and the warm sunshine. Since some of our rowers could not make it to the race, we quickly set a new crew order, took the boat out of the boat house and did some last minute repairs to the boat. Then we set off and made our way along the boat houses to the P&E for marshalling. At the P&E we finally met the bank party our cox had organized only a few minutes before! After just a couple of minutes of waiting we set off again and started the first leg of the race from the railway bridge to the motorway bridge. Our cox was very encouraging and everybody was pushing hard so that the boat behind us was unable to overtake us. After a short break we started the second leg of the race. Since the boat behind us was able to catch up with us close to grassy corner we had to change the line we were taking and unfortunately we didn’t quite make it around the corner and one of the rowers hit her back in the process. This could not discourage us so as soon as we could six of us continued to row until we finally reached the railway bridge.

Lisa Kreusser, stroke


With under a weeks worth of training, the new MECBC W1 VIII faced the Head to Head race. A good start soon fell apart as the lack of experience in the newly formed crew began to show. However, the team pushed through, despite the challenges created by a passing St Catherine’s boat. After turning at the lock, W1 set off to tackle the second 2km of the course. Prepared to oppose the strong winds, they got into a solid rhythm. Half way through the stretch, a few crabs shook the team. However, after these set backs W1 composed themselves and fought on, pulling it back with a strong rhythm and hard leg drive. New found determination knew no bounds as the crew caught up with a men’s town boat towards the end of the course. W1 delivered and overtook the other boat, bringing a trying race to a very positive end.

Leanne Hagger, 5

Crews Lent 2017

Cox – Christina Larkin
S – Lily Stratford
7- Emma Roth
6 – Joey Skinner
5 – Amanda Sjodahl
4 – Heather Dudley
3 – Leanne Hagger
2 – Taine Ranaghan
B – Neeraja Bhamidipati
Coach – Mark Jacobs

Cox – Alice Levin
S – Lisa Kreusser
7 – Barley Collier
6 – Tilly Farmery
5 – Joaquina Delas Vives
4 – Issy Pearce-Mason
3 – Jules Thompson
2 – Heather Smith
B – Yue Zhang
Coach – Sarah Williams, Emily Busvine

Cox – Emily Larcombe
S – Clara Percival
7 – Holly Philipps
6 – Katherine Wong
5 – Lisa Al-Faradzh
4 – Bethany Cross
3 – Danielle Oxborrow
2 – Vanessa Cheung
B – Zoe Ye
Coach – Paivi Pirhonen

Results 2016-2017

Fairbairns Cup
W1- 18:34.1 – 18th of W1s – 22th overall
W2- 19:29.7 – 4th of W2s – 30th overall
JK Rowling – 13:02.3 – 18th of NW1s – 24th overall
Cleopatra- 13:44.7 – 21th of NW2s – 59th overall
Beyonce – 15:44.5 – 3rd of NW3s – 38th overall

Clare Novices’ Regatta
Cleopatra – Lost against Pembroke

Winter Head
W1- 10th – 10:57 – 10th of Cambridge colleges W1s
W2- 16th – 12:58 – 16th of Cambridge colleges, 4th of W2s

Queen’s Ergo Competition
JK Rowling proceeded to the final

Fairbairns 2016: Novice crew Cleopatra

1st of December 2016. It was the final race that we had been preparing for all term so it was obviously exciting for us as a crew. However, since some of our own crew members could not make it to the race because of other commitments, the captains had to find other novices to sub for them, and while this meant that we had not had prior training as a full crew before, it was still great because it meant that we had a full crew to race in Fairbairns.

The weather had been particularly chilly the day before the race and most of us had expected it to continue into the day of the race, but fortunately, the weather took a nice turn and the sun came out just as we were about to set off. I rowed in the number 5 position on bow-side, and although I prefer to row on the stroke-side, having rowed on both sides through the term while subbing in other crews made me confident enough to be able to switch sides as needed.

We were off to a great start once the race began – the cox said we were rowing at around 27 spm. However, one of the crew who had not rowed with us before ended up crabbing three times through the race, and since she was not able to get her blade back after continued effort and all of bow four dropping out, we had to stop rowing every time and start over, which meant that we didn’t end up doing nearly as well as we would have liked to. However, the team spirit shown by the entire crew in the boat was incredible, and we pushed ourselves to row on, motivating each other to catch up with the boats around us, and I believe we nearly did.

It was a great experience overall, and while it might not seem like we did well to someone who hadn’t seen us on the river, I know that all of us feel like we gave our best.

Neeraja Bhamidipati

Rowing and sculling club for Murray Edwards College (founded as New Hall)