After a 2 year hiatus, The Neptunes is back. In this issue, find out about our novices’ and our coaches’ experiences of Michaelmas 2016.
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.
If you want to join MECBC as a cox or a rower, this is the time! Sign up below. If you have previous rowing experience and would like to try for our senior squad, please contact the Captain of Boats (email@example.com) for more information.
Want to be part of the fabulous ladies of MECBC? Here is your opportunity. Just fill in the form below, and we will be in touch. Still unsure? Come and chat to our Lower Boats Captains and current members at the Boatie Tea in the walkway from 3-6pm today (5 Oct 2015).
To all current and aspiring boaties,
Welcome back to another year of early mornings, frozen blades, heavy boats, grumpy coxes, and pain. If this is your first experience of rowing, don’t worry – it’s great fun and the description I just gave was a complete lie. Just picture unicorns and fairies and you the most accurate picture of what rowing is really like.
I just wanted to briefly (re)introduce myself to everyone looking to return to MECBC or just dip their toes in the water with rowing. My name is Emily, and I’m a second-year HSPS student, professional procrastinator, and waaaay to keen on rowing. For those of you who know me, you know that my stomach is a bottomless pit, and I order Dominos Pizza far to often for my own good. But one of the perks of rowing, it must be said, is the great excuse it gives you to eat ALL THE CARBS. Anyway, if that doesn’t paint a picture of a responsible adult ready to handle the duties of being Captain of Club, I don’t know what will.In all seriousness, aside from the rainbows and unicorns, rowing has definitely been one of the highlights of my Cambridge experience so far. The camaraderie, the inside jokes, and the way that we all rely on each other to do our best in outings, (most) ergs, and races, means that rowing pushes you to your absolute limits as an individual and as a crew. And when the race is over and you feel like death and have absolutely nothing left in your legs or lungs, it’s the best feeling in the world. It sounds counterintuitive and terribly masochistic (we’re entering slightly strange territory here….), but the bonds you form with crews and coaches is unlike anything else. They are what keep you coming back for more. Of course you want to win, but it’s also about making your team proud, and representing your college, and making sure that, even if a race didn’t go as planned, it’s important that you as a crew did your absolute best, and stay motivated to keep going.Last year, I noviced in Michaelmas, and then was lucky enough to row with W1 for Lent and Easter term, as well as squishing my butt into the cox’s seat for the third boat in the last term. There was a massive intake of novices, but sadly many of the senior rowers graduated and left in 2014. There are a few still around kicking, and many alumni come to see us race, but on the whole we are quite young club in terms of rowing experience. That being said, we made the finals of Queen’s Ergs, our first boat moved up two places in Lent Bumps, and our second boat did the same in the Mays. I won’t lie, there’s still a lot of work to be done if W1 and W3 want to redeem themselves this coming May, but the only way we can go is up. Going down three places and spooning was crushing, but I hope that, instead of feeling disheartened and tempted to resign ourselves to that fact, we come back fighting hard.
I’ve made this joke too many times for it to still work, but I’ll do it anyway. It’s an incredible honour to take Christina’s place as Captain of MECBC. She was such a wonderful friend, leader, and cox and, even though her feet are very small, I hope that I can fill her shoes in this position. There’s a lot to look forward to this year, from off-Cam racing to (hopefully) an away training camp, as well as lots of pasta, stash, and boatie love.
Rain. That was the weather forecast for Sunday morning. Our cox warned us about it and we came prepared. But no preparation is enough for a cold and rainy race. Geared up with our reindeer antlers, we headed to the start line and waited our turn.
Our first sprint start was not quick enough and we were immediately left behind, unable to see Newnham NW2’s boat and losing motivation. However, with the unceasing encouragement of our cox, who could see them just a few meters ahead, we were able to keep a constant distance. Despite losing that first race, we did not despair and tried to stay as warm as possible during the break.
With our second opponent-to-be disqualified, the marshals had a few minutes of confusion before deciding we would race against Emma NW3. All our efforts went into that second sprint. We had a great start and reached a very good pace, moving fast and leaving our opponents behind. Everything was looking too good when 7 caught a crab with the same power she was putting into her strokes, which made steering very difficult and sent us into the bank. Even though our recovery was surprisingly fast, Emma was by then 3 boat lengths ahead of us. We gave our best and managed to reduce that distant to 1 boat by the time those 800 meters were over, leaving a few sets of antlers behind.
We will now prepare for the challenging Fairbairns race. It will be the first time Absolut races such a long distance but we are confident that the latest outings and erg sessions will prepare us for it.
Joaquina Delas Vives
This page gives updates on what our novice crews have been up to so far so you can keep track of the fantastic progress they are making and their race results.
MECBC is one of the friendliest boat clubs on the river, and our members have the flexibility to participate as much or as little as they like. Most members join us having never rowed (or seen a rowing boat!) before, and many continue to train with the club throughout their time at Cambridge – often making it into our top crew (W1) or even rowing for the university. Don’t worry if you don’t want to commit to frequent, intense training sessions though – we also have more relaxed crews who only train once or twice a week. MECBC also loves a good social – for example we have ‘swaps’ with other crews, which are a great chance to sample other colleges’ food and meet a few guys!
If you would like to novice row or cox, we would love you to join us – please get in touch with one of our Lower Boat Captains. Under the “For Novices” tab above, there is information on how to find the boat house and some tips – make sure you have a look before your first outing!
Find out about Fairbairns, our Lent Bumps Campaign, what it’s like to novice with MECBC and much more. Enjoy!
There were some funny sights on the Cam as Ariel, Murray Edwards’ NW1 boat, rowed up to the start line of Emma Sprints – many colleges had put as much effort into their fancy dress as their training. Cox Alicia Caunter was dressed as Santa and the 8 rowers as her reindeer. As we made our way amongst pirates, Crayola crayons and Dalmatians, we tried to remember the techniques which would give us extra speed required to win – squaring our blades early, sitting tall, and level hand heights to sit the boat.
The race begins from a stationary start, and we were told that many sprints are won and lost in the racing start. We knew we had to focus but nerves were high. As the race began, we were out of time but not looking too bad. Then, disaster struck and Darwin blades battered our bow-side blades and even Santa Claus herself. We managed to pull away from the other boat and set up a good race pace which re-focussed our crew as we crossed the finish line in first.
The next heat was against Christ’s College, and we knew it was going to be tough from the off. We had a good start but unfortunately it was not as strong as Christ’s, who quickly took the lead – by less than a boat length. We refused to let that dishearten us and kept pressure on the legs and focussing on techniques and timing. We could feel the other boat slipping away from us and unfortunately we crossed the line in close second with only a length between the two boats.
It was a different style of racing to what any of us had done before and we found it a lot of fun. Onwards and upwards to Fairbairns!
We arrived at Queens’ having no idea what to expect and were immediately struck by how busy and energised the place felt. We collected our number tags and t-shirts, quickly changing before a brief warm up amongst the other teams outside the hall. We were the last college to file in and our erg was right next to the door and speakers, the perfect space to zone out and focus on pushing as hard as we could. Once the race began, we got off to a really good start and proceeded to maintain a good pace, only dropping a few seconds off the split from each rower to the next. The atmosphere was amazing, with great music pulsing through the hall and loads of people up in the balconies cheering us all on. Although we didn’t manage to place well enough to get through to the finals, I think most people managed to secure a new PB on their split and we all pushed hard enough to be utterly jelly-legged by the end of our stint!