May Bumps Round-up!

W1 (Louise, 3rd year Medicine, ex-Captain of Boats)

W1 started Easter term with a few new faces compared to the Lent crew who for most had their first experiences of not only racing but also bumps. Building up from COVID with not much bumps experience, our crew tried to get experience racing against other crews side-by-side in 99s regatta and getting a win under our belts against a Wolfson crew who had beaten us the week before at Champs Head. My first ever win at Medwards!! This prepared us nicely for bumps in the nice sunshine after most (but not all) exams had finished!!! 

Day 1 

On day 1, we tried to build ourselves up not knowing much about the crew ahead, Jesus W2, or the crew behind us, Lucy Cav W1. Convincing ourselves we were faster than Jesus W2 based on race results previously, we were excited for a good bumps campaign, trying to improve on the spoons we, unfortunately, got in Lents #notspoons2022. Ben and Forbes, our coaches, reassured us that Lucy Cav’s starts looked not great, and we definitely had a chance of catching Jesus W2 over a longer race.  

Lining up to the start doesn’t get any less daunting even if you have done it a few times before. This time in position 8 we were quite close to the cannon which meant the loudness just added to the atmosphere. And we were off, keeping our heads very much in the boat and trusting our fabulous cox Anna to guide us through the race. One whistle on Jesus off the start gave us the confidence we were gaining but alas we did not hear another. Instead, we had Lucy Cav showing us that although they might have looked messy on the way up, they were speedy (this was shown by the end of the week with them getting blades!). We gave them a good show and held them off all the way to Ditton Corner but unfortunately, we could not hold them off any longer especially with them taking the corners very tight! Although we did get bumped, we had newfound confidence completing the first day of bumps (the first ever for many) and nearly getting to the reach before being bumped, much better than Lents!!! 

Day 2 

We came back the next day with a new race strategy, fly or die! Today was the day we were going to be chased by Sidney Sussex W1, a top 5 crew on the river. Therefore, the only choice we had was to try and catch Lucy Cav first. Briefed on how to reset after every 50 strokes we were confident we would have a chance as our starts meant we got half a length up even on the best crews. 

We got a whistle then another and another off the start but as this is happening Sidney after a slow start was building their speed to match their reputation! We were 1 length ahead of Sidney going into first post and 1 whistle down. When we had got round the corner it was ½ length and two whistles. In about 10 strokes just into the start of grassy, a ¼ length. Honestly, their kill strokes as we call them, were so scary they were ¾ length down and the next thing we knew we were bumped on grassy. We all gave it our all and unfortunately fly and die didn’t work but we had given it everything so we were not too disheartened and quickly moved on to the next day when we might have a chance of completing #notspoons2022. 

Day 3 

I arrived with a newfound excitement without a feeling of impending doom of being chased by Sidney W1, chasing them instead on day 3. We had Wolfson W1, who we had beaten in 99s, chasing us so we had more confidence and had a race plan of rowing over with a tiny chance of an overbump of Lucy, but this was unlikely. Having rowed up to the start, we sat on the start line more confident but still, I felt extremely nervous knowing to never underestimate the team behind, having two previous bumps campaigns under my belt. The cannon went and we were calm as Wolfson gained,  warned by our coaches that they probably would at the start. They gained and gained and gained until they got within a ¼ of length looking increasingly ragged as they went. We did not give up hope and started our finishing wind, hoping this would save us and complete #notspoons2022. Suddenly, they caught a crab, a boat-stopping crab, we had got away! We did a push, Wolfson got bumped by Selwyn on first post corner and we rowed away.  

I had a slight suspicion this boat-stopping crab might have checkmated the division behind us as they took up the whole river, but our coach told us to race on just in case. We went for it we raced the whole course although it was obvious no one was chasing us, we just hoped that we had done enough to catch someone ahead. It became clear that this was going to be unlikely as we went past Sidney and Jesus bumped out followed by Lucy and Emma, but we were cheered on! We finally got to the bottom finish, all very tired but we had completed our race plan and we had succeeded in #notspoons2022! 

Day 4 

Onto the final day, where we had another chance of catching Jesus W2, as they had also been bumped by Sidney and Lucy as well! We were also hoping to build on W2’s success of bumping Homerton W2, payback after our W1 was bumped by theirs in lent bumps! This time we were being chased by Selwyn W1, who we didn’t know much about, but they had had several rowovers throughout their campaign.  

The cannon went for the last time, and we went off and we got off to a good start a length off Jesus then ¾ length and then half-length and two whistles! Selwyn in the meantime were slowly closing in on us as well. We did our finishing wind going into first post as we saw them weaving from one side to another at our stern. They had overlap when they thought they had caught us, but no our excellent cox once again had ensured they had not had but they held it up while we kept rowing. Unfortunately, we were not as lucky as the previous day as they recovered miraculously by doing a start again and quickly gained the half-length that they had lost from holding it up. Before we knew it, we were bumped on the outside of first post corner with Selwyn clearing into us so we were attached while all the boats passed. Our brief conversation with the Selwyn girls was lovely and they were so happy to bump, hopefully, we see them on the river again next Michaelmas!  

Disheartened we rowed back to the boathouse, past my parents who have yet to see me row in bumps always being a corner too late to see me! For 4 of us, this was our last time potentially rowing in an eight, at least at Medwards, so there was a sense of sadness for us. My one goal of bumping a boat while at Medwards was now unlikely to happen with unreliable clinical placements next year.  

We made it the best row back we could and the people staying are now aiming to train towards a bump or multiple next year! Having learned so much from this year, building up after covid with half of our rowers in Lent and Michaelmas being novices the term before this was a transitional year with hopes of winning more things next year! Overall, a good group of people meant everyone enjoyed this Easter term and it was a great way to potentially to leave MECBC with such lovely people in my boat. 

W2 (Shivani, 1st year NatSci)

W2’s bumps campaign this year has been one to remember. The first bumps for many of the crew, we were excited to get going.

On day 1, W2 were on the chase for Homerton, with Jesus following behind. The race began well. Our bow ball began to overlap with Homerton’s stern on Grassy Corner but Homerton fought back and pulled away, leading to us having to row over, inches away from the bump!

Day 2 saw Pembroke, a formidable crew, on our tails with us chasing Homerton again. It was bump or be bumped. The start cannon blew and Pembroke gained quickly. We pushed hard and maintained a high rate but we were caught within the first 2 minutes.

Following their impressive performance on the previous day, Day 3 saw us row over as we were unable to catch Pembroke who swiftly bumped Jesus.

The final day started with bumps breakfast. You could feel the anticipation in Dome. We were chasing Homerton one last time: this would be our final chance to get a bump.

At the start line we were nervous but focused. The 1 minute cannon blew. It was time. Blades were buried and deep breaths were taken as we sat waiting in the middle of the Cam for the start cannon. And we were off. A high rate, powerful start from the crew pushed us away from Lucy Cavendish. The start felt good, each of us working together to move Owen swiftly through the water. Whistles began to blow – 3/4 of a boat length, 1/2, 1/4. On Ditton Corner I could hear Homerton’s cox shouting to his crew, “Get moving now!”. I yelled to Maya in 2 seat “They’re there! They’re there!”. My blade began to overlap with the stern of their boat: We had bumped! Cheers from the crew quickly ensued as we cleared the river. Spectators on the bank were clapping for us, handing us greenery, taking pictures. Tamzin and Mark, our bank party, were equally elated. We’d never felt so good. I looked towards the rest of the crew, who were now dressed in greenery, and smiled. Our hard work had paid off. To Flo, Sophie, Jess O, Sarah, Jess W, Liv, Amy, and Maya, thanks for a great year and an amazing bumps campaign. Thanks to Alex for amazing coaching, and Tamzin, Mark and Tiarnan for your advice and support. Bumping was the encouragement we needed for next year and I can’t wait to get going again.

W2 with their well-deserved greenery!

All in all, an exciting Bumps week to end the term. We are so proud of all of our rowers this year and are thankful for everyone who has supported us. Bring on Mich 2022!

Lent Bumps 2020: Day 2 W1 Race Report

Having been bumped by Caius the day previously, we all arrived at the boathouse keen to prove ourselves. Our first priority was to get a revenge bump on Caius, and failing that, to row over (with Fitz positioned behind us). With sunny weather and not too much of a headwind, the conditions were good and we were all in high spirits.

When the canon sounded, we leapt into our start sequence, which was much more together and controlled than the day before – the cannons seem less scary the second time round… Clare (our coach) reminded us to ignore at the boat behind as it’s much further away than it looks! Some whistles early on around Grassy meant that Fitz were close, and it wasn’t clear whether we would be able to hold them off. With the two boats both ahead of us and behind having bumped out, the only option was to row over and make sure Fitz didn’t catch us. We added some up 2s, then put more power down on the Reach and, by the finish line, had left Fitz with no chance of catching us.

This result was a huge morale boost, as we knew that we could do a powerful start and settle into a good rhythm for the whole course, and hopefully get a bump the following day.

Gina Edney, 4

Lent Bumps 2020: Day 1 W1 Race Report

Finally, the day was here – the first day of Lent Bumps and the first Bumps ever for most of our crew. Buzzing with excitement and anticipation, we paddled down to the marshalling point with the knowledge that Caius would be chasing us. As the 1 minute cannon sounded, Alice (our cox) and Clare (our coach) reminded us to keep our heads in the boat before pushing us off. Before we knew it, the start was upon us, and we leapt out of the start at an unbelievably powerful rate 44! A somewhat dodgy cox-box (and admittedly the sight of Caius slowly closing in) got in the way of our stride, with us only managing to settle on rate 37, but we held on as well as we could. Eventually, the whistles started to sound and the excitement got the best of us. Caius bumped us and we pulled in to congratulate them and catch our breath before paddling home. Our first taste of Bumps as a crew was over, and while we had been bumped, we rowed well, and were ready to take on the rest of the week with a clearer head.

Anastasia Price, bow

Results 2018-2019

Mosasaurus – 2:07.3 (7th in W2 division)
NW1 – 2:03.7 (25th in W1 division)

Emma Sprints:
NW1 – lost to Newnham NW1, beat Catz NW1

Clare Novice Regatta:
NW2 – lost to LMBC NW2
NW3 – beat Lucy Cavendish NW2, lost to Downing NW2

W1 – 14:37 (10th Womens 4+)
W2 – 16:11 (3rd W2 4+)
NW1 – 9:48 (30th)
NW2 – 9:10 (24th)

Pembroke Regatta:
W1 – beat Magdalene W1, lost to Downing W1

Robinson Head:
W2 – 11:42 (2nd in W2 division)

Lent Bumps:
W1 – down 6, bumped by FaT, LMBC (overbump), Trinity Hall3:
W2 – down 2, bumped by Caius W2 and Darwin W1

Spring Head to Head:
W1 – 8:36.8, 8:29.7 (5th in Mays W2 division)

Champs Head:
W1 – 5:31.7 (10th in Mays W2 division)
W2 – 6:09.7 (6th in Mays W3 division)

May Bumps:
W1 – up 2, bumped Wolfson and Lucy Cavendish
W2 – held station, bumped Pembroke W3, bumped by Homerton W2

May Bumps 2019: Day 3 W1 Race Report

Following two days of rowing over, we returned to the boathouse feeling confident that we would be able to hold off Sidney, and hoping for a bump on Wolfson, who had gone down every day so far. The rain was finally clearing, and although the winds were still reasonably high, we were very excited. 

Our practice start was one of the strongest starts this term, and while our actual start wasn’t quite as strong, we soon heard Mark shouting from the bank that we were gaining on Wolfson. We got our first whistle indicating that we were a length off Wolfson around first post corner, which we narrowed down to three feet through the gut. In the gut, however, Wolfson clearly made a push, as they continued to hold us at three feet until grassy.

Coming out of grassy, and thanks to Christina’s excellent line and calls, we came together for one final push. We could hear Mark shouting from the bank … THREE FEET … TWO FEET …. and then the continuous whistle to mark overlap. A few strokes later, Helen’s blade hit the stern of the Wolfson boat, and Wolfson conceded moments later. 

We pulled in, put foliage in our hair, and started to row home, very excited for the next day and the opportunity to get Lucy Cav!

Giulia Bollen Gandolfo, bow

May Bumps 2019: Day 3 W2 Race Report

Day 3 started with sunnier skies and hopeful spirits after our row over from the day before. However, the wind was up so we knew it was going to be a bit more of a challenge than the past two days. We paddled up to marshall and got there on time despite heavy traffic leading up to the P and E. We then paddled up to the start, fitting in some great rolling starts along the way. On reaching the start, we got ourselves ready. The cannon went, and we were off! After a strong start, we began to lose Pembroke behind us, and they were soon bumped out by Homerton, leaving us free to chase down Newnham. We remained a solid two boat lengths behind them, but unfortunately upon reaching Ditton Corner the wind caught us and blew us wide. However, the crew didn’t let this faze them, and continued to give it their all, maintaining the two boat length distance all the way. Unfortunately we didn’t catch them, but I was very proud of them for such a strong row over, and hopeful for our last day tomorrow!

Lucy Orchard, cox

May Bumps 2019: Day 2 W2 Race Report

Another rainy day on the Cam couldn’t dampen the spirits of MEdwards W2. Channelling the energy of a spectacular Plough-side bump on day one, we paddled up for day two with high hopes. We were chasing Newnham III, a crew we had met before in a gripping Lent term chase all the way back to the P&E. Although we were closely matched then, we had proven in Wednesday’s rowover that we had the stamina and strength to catch Newnham in a long chase. 

A disappointing start off station 10 saw the chasing Pembroke come within a whistle, but a quick power 10 held them off and brought us within a whistle of Newnham. But before we could gain a second whistle, the race was called to an emergency stop as Hughes failed to row on after bumped by Tit Hall II. Confusion and fury reigned as the umpires began to negotiate a re-row. Most of the division had passed the magical point on the river where technical rowovers are awarded… including our rivals at Newnham! In fact, for reasons not yet clear to us, it was deemed that the four boats ahead of us were all to be awarded technical rowovers. With the rest of the division already having bumped, this left only two boats in the rerow: MEdwards and Pembroke. 

As we took our place on first station ahead of Pembroke at two, the frustration in the air was palpable. With nothing to chase, there was no hope of a bump, and little to keep us motivated. Cox Lucy urged us to channel that anger into productive energy and the well hard ladies of MEdwards provided! A flying start built into a strong power 10 around First Post leaving Pembroke in our wash. Instead of settling into stride, we kept a bumps pace all the way past the Plough and on towards the Reach. As we watched Pembroke fading behind us, we could have wound it down but instead we put on a show for the spectators who were surprised to see us still racing after the earlier confusion.

As we flew under the Railway Bridge several lengths ahead of Pembroke, the marshalling M3 division cheered us on showing the sportsmanship and good cheer which is one of the real joys of bumps. Spurred on by all the male attention (and somewhat confused about which finish line to aim for), we put another length behind us and steamed into top finish with five lengths behind us. We may have been denied the opportunity to catch Newnham but nevertheless we took the chance to show Cambridge what MEdwards women are made of. 

Tamzin Byrne, 4

May Bumps 2019: Day 2 W1 Race Report

After the long row over behind Emma yesterday we knew today was going to have to be a fast bump or another long row over.

We arrived on station to find Mark wrestling with the bung which seemed very determined to stay underwater. Unfortunately, Mark’s recent return to rowing did not mean he was strong enough to beat the bung yet. After being given a new chain we focused in and got ready for our race.

As the cannon went we had a strong start but Sidney also went hard off the start and moved inside station, knowing they weren’t able to catch us over the whole course the previous day. With crews bumped out on the inside of Grassy corner, Christina was forced to take a wide line, allowing Sidney to move down to a length away from us. We didn’t let this get to us though. With a big push down Plough Reach and an excellent line around Ditton we started to move away from Sidney. As we raced down the Reach into a strong headwind we really began to put distance between us and Sidney as we moved away with every stroke. Eventually we crossed the finish line 5-6 lengths ahead.

We rowed home pleased with our race and rearing to chase down Wolfson tomorrow!

Maria Rust, 6

May Bumps 2019: Day 1 W1 Race Report

After a strong but damp row down to marshalling, W1 were excited to put into practice all we had learnt since Champs Head a few weeks previous.

W2’s mighty re-row earlier on in the day meant our division was behind schedule and there was no chance for a standing start at The Plough. Nevertheless, when the cannon fired, we pulled our strongest start so far this term. A high rate meant that it didn’t take us long to pull away from Sidney and gain a whistle on Emma.

Christina’s excellent line around Fen Ditton pulled the boat yet further away from Sidney and closer to the bump. Only three-quarters of a length away from Emma by the end of the reach, the decision was made (by Mark and Christina) to continue racing past bottom finish in an attempt to grind them down.

W1 gave it all we had, bringing down the split and causing Emma to fumble; maintaining our single whistle to the very end. We didn’t get the bump, but our strong and stable row over across top finish was definitely something to be proud of! We now know that we can maintain a high rate and a low split, in adverse conditions, over the entire course. Aching but determined, W1 are ready to face day two with vengeance.

Leanne Hagger, 7

May Bumps 2019: Day 1 W2 Race Report

Our race day began with a torrential downpour and soggy spirits. Our crew had not had an outing all together in weeks, we were exhausted from exams, and nervous to face Darwin after they bumped us last term. Our aim: try for an early bump, if anything to hold off Darwin just a bit longer.

As we sat in the massive queue on the way to the P&E, though, our hopes changed. It occurred to me that, just a few boats ahead, Darwin looked smaller than we remembered. They were not nearly was beefy as their crew in Lent Bumps were. They were even, dare I say, close to our size. We passed the message down the boat, and though we were soaked and poor Lucy was marinating in the puddle pooling in her seat, we started to feel hopeful. Even though we had no coach, no bank party, nobody besides the marshals so far to motivate us.

As we spun by the motorway bridge, our coach and bank party finally showed. We pushed off and very nearly forgot the bung. It was a stressful couple seconds before Lucy had it firm in her hand and the cannon went off. Darwin gained on us quickly, coming within two whistles shortly after our start. We started to gain on Pembroke, getting within one whistle of them before we all had to hold it up. The crews in front of us had bumped and were crowding the river. It was time for a re row.

We were freezing and soaked, but saw that Pembroke were choking as we neared them. It was going to be a longer race than we anticipated. But we had a chance. For the second time, the cannon fired and we nailed our start. We gave it our power and speed. Darwin gained on us. One whistle. We gained on Pembroke. One whistle. Two whistles. My feet slipped out of the footstraps. Darwin sped up, two whistles away. We were still gaining on Pembroke, more quickly than Darwin were gaining on us. Three whistles. It was tight. In a whirlwind of either us putting the power down, or Darwin losing stamina, they slowed ever so slightly. I found myself beside Pembroke’s cox. He looked wide-eyed. I shot him a terrifying glare (though my face probably was just ugly and contorted from the power ten). Continuous whistle—then Pembroke conceded! We bumped! We did much more than hold Darwin off for more than thirty seconds; we rowed home with foliage in our hair, cheered on by other boat clubs like the heroes we were.

Mackenzie Kwok, bow