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!
Having been on the Cam since 10am, we waited until 11:40am to push off. We warmed up rowing up to the start line and set into a nice rhythm, nervously wondering how our first race, as a novice crew, would go.
Four minutes into the race, after building up our strokes, and after pushing a strong 10 power strokes, we started catching up with the boat in front of us. After overtaking, we realized we had actually gone past two boats! No words can express the amount of adrenaline and emotions filling us, although we still had more than half of the race to go. When Owen passed under the last bridge all we had to do is keep our rhythm and push it to the finish line.
It took us 12:08min, and more than 360 strokes. 360 opportunities to catch a ‘crab’, 360 opportunities for something to go wrong. We focused at one stroke at a time. With minor mistakes here and there – we conquered each new stroke with every push of the legs, looking at the girl in front, squaring up early, synchronizing each movement until the very end.
More work to come, but it already feels amazing to be part of a team that is eager to do its best in order to win!!!
‘Queens ergs’ is the best experience to introduce novices to the competitive environment filled with adrenaline that rowing provides. This year it must have been the combination of loud, deafening music plus the shouting, and the massive screen that helped us ‘push back’ and ‘stretch those legs’ faster and harder. We had a very promising start and managed to stay on the third position for most of the time, struggling to overcome Christ’s and Clare! We finished on the eighth place, but this was by all means a great victory as it made us all understand better the notion of team playing and seeded the desire to get better!! After the competition I could still feel the adrenaline and the excitement, and all this made me question once more: who needs anything else when you have rowing??
Post-novice term Neptunes, with novice reports, senior race reports, socials and more
Comet 260 arrived at the boathouse, eager as ever, fresh faced and ready to race. However, it turned out that we were perhaps a little too eager having arrived half an hour before our race was due to start. Not to be discouraged we embraced the opportunity to put in some last minute practice and were soon slicing our way through the Cam. We returned to the waiting area only to discover that the race was delayed. By this stage, our initial enthusiasm was ebbing but the boat was cheered up by Natalie’s production of space blankets and the realization that our waiting spot provided a perfect opportunity to admire the rest of the talent on the river.When we were finally called to the start, having extracted ourselves from the traffic jam the nerves, again, began to rise. We were directed to the very end where we discovered, much to the amusement of a UCL boat and distress of a marshall that parking is, perhaps, something we needed to work on. Having finally managed to wedge ourselves into the bank we proceeded to continue to admire the Cam’s display of talent whilst listening to Georgie’s rendition of ‘What Katie did’. When, finally, it was our turn to race the nerves were subdued by utter confusion as to what was going on. Consequently, our start was shambolic, but we managed to recover and pulled away from it in true style. Bringing out the Murray Edwards power we pushed through and managed to maintain a good pace throughout, with some truly epic drives we stormed to the finish line. Well hard girls!
“Just like thunderdome” – Comet 260 third fastest women’s novice boat in Queens’ ergs
Queens’ ergs is somewhat of a rite of passage for any novice rower in Cambridge, and this year’s results go to show that our novices will be a force to be reckoned with during the coming terms.
The girls of “Silver Arrow” and “Comet 260” were the first to brave the storm of chants, music and yelling of the “arena”, averaging a split of 2.04.2 min (Silver Arrow) and 1.54.8 min (Comet 260) respectively. Ranking 3rd in their division, Comet 260 proceeded to the finals. Here, the crew impressed by taking over half a second off their average split (now 1.54.2 min), and were rewarded with a 3rd place behind Churchill and St. Catherine’s. “Nimbus” came 4th in their division (tied with St. Edmunds), with an average of 2.05.1 min.
This year, MECBC also teamed up with Girton Boat Club to enter a mixed senior crew (which proves that the mixture of excitement, frenzy and post-erg baked goods that is Queens’ ergs lures back even those who should know better). With an average split of 1.39.3 min, they came 10th in their division.
Queens’ ergs has once more been a fun, exhilarating and (to be cliché for just one moment) maybe even inspiring experience for both novices and seniors. Thanks to everyone who provided mental support for our competitors, especially the Lower Boats Captains Georgie, Mollie and Natalie. Finally, and most importantly, a huge cheer and WELL DONE!! to all of us who participated, especially our novices.
It’s that time of year again– join the Boat Club! Learn to cox or row. No experience necessary.
Want to find out out more? Come to the Boat Club Tea in the Walkway on
Monday 1st October 12:30pm-3pm
Eat cake, drink tea, and chat to current rowers and coxes about what training with MECBC is like.
Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/121969647951640/
Want to sign up in advance and avoid the queues?
Fill in the form below. Don’t fill it in again if you made a mistake after submitting, just email firstname.lastname@example.org
MECBC is looking for people keen to learn to row or cox. We will be running tubbing sessions over the next few weeks to give you a taster and are looking to put a crew together for easter term.
If you are interested see the poster below and click on the link https://mecbc.soc.srcf.net/for-novices/learn-to-cox-and-row/ to register your interest
We look forward to seeing you on the water! 😀