Category Archives: W1

Notices for the 1st boat of each term

Lent Bumps 2016: Day 3 W1 Race Report

The weather at today’s race was sadly not as wonderfully sunny as the earlier days, with grey skies but happily still no winds. We had a steady row down. There was plenty of excitement with the prospects of rowing out ahead of Churchill and giving Pembroke a good scare while we were at it.

Spirits were high before the cannon went, and we prepared ourselves for a long, tough race. We took off with a fantastic start, just like the previous two days, quickly gaining ground on Pembroke! The start was confident and purposeful, with a good rhythm. As we took out the stroke length and settled into the racing pace we kept gaining and leaving Churchill behind with some distance, to the point where we managed to get one whistle on Pembroke! Unfortunately after this the past two days of rowing with no rest day started to take their toll, so we didn’t quite manage to keep the good form we’d been maintaining so far. After some unsteadiness and some massive effort from Churchill they managed to close the distance between us, but we made them work for every stroke and fought them hard all the way to the Plough, where they managed to bump us.

Notable in today’s race is our continuing great performance early on in the race, which has been consistent throughout bumps this year. There’s a notable difference compared to just a couple of weeks ago, when our starts were substantially less stable and confident. After spending a few outings focusing on sorting out the starts we’ve improved so much, showing that we have it in us to do anything we set our minds to!

Next race will be tomorrow, the last day of the 2016 lent bumps! We will be chased by a very strong Girton team going for blades, with Churchill in front of us. This will be the time to pour out all of our remaining energy into the race, and really make Girton struggle! And of course, the dream is: revenge-bump on Churchill! Keeping up our strong starts we can gain on them fast enough to make them nervous, and if we really give it our all it’s possible! And with Girton coming up behind, it looks like it might be a short race, whether it’s bump or getting bumped tomorrow. Anything is possible!

Amanda Sjödahl, 5

Lent Bumps 2016: Day 2 W1 Race Report

The second day of bumps was cold but still sunny as our W1 crew met at the boathouse ready to chase down Clare again. We knew the day would be different with Pembroke W1 chasing us, after their strong bump up on Caius yesterday. The row up was solid and we were marshalling with plenty of time to lie back in the boat and enjoy the sunshine. The final row up to our station was strong and together. We were only allowed to do rolling starts but as a crew we pushed through them, hoping to intimidate the boats around us. Finally, at the station we all waited in anticipation for the cannon fire.

Boom! It went off and we all moved together driving through the draw and wind strokes. We could see Pembroke behind us, pushing of their start as we neared the first bend. From the bank, Mark and Reana called to us to keep pushing, that we were gaining on Clare. As we neared grassy, our rhythm was settled and we were moving together well. But Pembroke were still a length behind us and before the bend, we passed Clare pulled over having bumped Queens. It was now us against Pembroke, pushing us to row hard over the whole course. Around grassy, the nearing crew behind us led to a little wobble and we lost some distance. Pembroke continued to gain despite our whole crew working through the whole stroke. Finally, just at the Plough, they caught us and we had a mad clash of blades.

We rowed hard as crew, never giving up and giving it all we had. Pembroke are a strong crew this year, and we still made the bump difficult for them. Tomorrow is a new day though, and with Churchill behind and Pembroke ahead, we need to continue with our fighting spirit and keep driving to the end. Pembroke had better watch out though, because we will fighting coming right back at them!

Nadia Blackshaw, 3

Lent Bumps 2016: Day 1 W1 Race Report

The sun was out and we were feeling excited and apprehensive for our first day of bumps. There were nerves in the boat as we knew we were being chased by Caius, who had unfortunately beat us only three weeks before in Pembroke Regatta. Despite this unease, we had a good couple of practice starts on the row up, and by the time we got to our station we were about as ready as we were going to be.

Before we had time to gather our thoughts, the 4 minute cannon went off, startling not only us in the boat but the bank party as well (much to our amusement)! With a pep talk from Abbie and Reana making the time between the 4 minute and 1 minute cannons fly by, we were suddenly being pushed out by Mark and lining ourselves up for the race.

The start cannon went and we were off. Following the advice of Reana, we were cool, calm and collected. Clinical. The start was one of our best and Caius very quickly drifted off into the distance. We rowed strong and hard and soon had gained one whistle on Clare. The crews behind us bumped out and so we just had to plough ahead, without worry of being caught. The rowing of the first few minutes was the best we’d done all term, and we maintained the water we’d gained on Clare. However, their crew was strong and we lost our drive a bit and didn’t manage to gain any more. We powered on down the reach past the waiting M1 and breathed a sigh of relief when we finally wound it down at Chesterton, having rowed over.

We’d worked really hard and rowed really well, and by the sounds of coughing emanating from most of the crew, we’d given it everything. We rowed home drained but feeling optimistic about the day ahead. The sun was warm at our backs.

Emilie Cousin, 4

Pembroke Regatta 2016: W1 Race Report

The day started out windy but clear for W1’s row up for our first race. Our spirits were high, despite the early start and we avoided the trouble of long marshalling by being in the very first race. We were set to row Caius W1, a crew that had beaten us by 10 seconds over Newnham short course the previous weekend. Nevertheless, the row up was solid and balanced with Christina stepping in to cox us for the day.

When we lined up, ready to start at the top of the reach, the wind wasn’t too strong allowing for a quick start. Off we went, with fast draws quickly into a more settled rhythm and with Caius still beside us. After the start, we kept our pressure on Caius as they slowly pulled away, but not quite passing us. As we continued down the reach, unfortunately we lost our rhythm momentarily, allowing them an advantage. But, under the bridge we gave it another big push as a crew, gaining distance and fighting until the end.

Sadly, it was a short day; back to the boathouse by 8.30am, but with a new crew including two novices, we always knew we had lots to improve on. The power was there and the drive was too, so when bumps comes I know we will be ready. Plus, we can get our revenge on Caius since they are one station behind us at bumps. Then, we won’t give them any advantage and they will just have to watch as we pull ahead!

Nadia Blackshaw, 3

May Bumps 2015: Day 1 W1 Race Report

This was the beginning of the end for some of the members of our crew, with two of them graduating after this bumps campaign – we all wanted to do them proud. A good practice start in front of the plough helped ease some of the nerves in the crew as we made our way to station seventeen, but the wait at Baitsbite lock allowed them to creep back in. The four minute cannon fires in the distance, a lot quieter than the roar of the cannon that was heard in Lents from closer to the motorway bridge. We hurry back into the boat and try and calm ourselves. Suddenly the countdown hits 30 seconds remaining and Mark starts to push us out, then bang and we’re off. The start was fast, faster than usual. We settled to rate 38 but it all felt frantic – we can do better than this!

After what seemed like an age we were pulled up on the bank – we had been bumped by an extremely strong Jesus II. This was the first time many of the crew had ever been bumped so it struck a particularly hard blow.

We all felt like we had let ourselves and the crew down, the start we did being nowhere near our best, but with the worst case scenario out of the way, we would enter the next days of bumps better prepared for the stress and the toil that would be awaiting us.
Tomorrow would have to be better. Tomorrow will be better.

Emilie Cousin, 4


Final day of Lent Bumps and what a fantastic end to the week! Although the weather was not quite as nice and sunny as the day before, we set off in good spirits that we would have a successful final day. With many of our parents and other family members watching, we were especially keen to do well. Our row up was strong and steady, although our practise start was a bit messy. As we waited at our new station (station 10) for the cannons to go off, Mark gave us one last motivational speech on how to catch Caius. We thought it might be slightly more of a grind down that the previous days relatively quick bump against Catz, and we were prepared for this. We waited nervously, talking with Dame Barbara and Robert the Bursar before the one minute cannon went off and we focused in on the race.

We got off to a good start and before we knew it we had one whistle on Caius. We kept focused and didn’t start to rush as we had done the previous day when we started to gain on Catz. The strokes felt long and strong as we followed Christina’s calls to extend. As we moved up to two whistles we kept calm and picked up the boat speed ready for the bump. The boat was moving well and we still had lots of power to give. Then we had three whistles which very quickly became continuous whistles, with the Caius cox conceding just before grassy corner. We moved over to the bank before starting the celebrations. For most of the crew their second bump ever! It was an incredibly exciting moment and a great way to end Lent Bumps! There was plenty of time to fix some greenery in our hair, take lots of photos and have a chat with our bank party before our victory row home began.

Well done girls! We’ve shown what Murray Edwards W1 can do, bring on Mays!


Katharine Moore, 3


It was a beautiful day and the whole crew arrived at the boathouse in good spirits. The sun was out, and this gave us a legitimate reason for wearing our crew sunglasses. There were many jealous glances from the other boats, but, hey, we can’t help being uber cool.

The row down was composed and clean; everyone was focused and looking forward to the race ahead. We were met at the tow-path by Dame Barbara (holla at the grooviest President in Cambridge!) and Mr Bump. Their presence only strengthened our resolve to deliver a good bump!

There were a few nerves at the push-off; we knew we wanted a strong start in order to gain on Catz as quickly as possible. Perhaps we pushed a little too hard too soon, as there was definitely a slight lull in between getting two whistles and three whistles (the longest thirty seconds of our lives!).  Luckily we re-focused and, with the help of some fantastic coxing from Christina, we caught up with Catz in dramatic style coming up to grassy.

Unfortunately Catz had a bit of trouble clearing in a timely fashion, which led to a bit of a pile-up for the crews behind us. However, once we were disentangled, we were able to row home wearing the best bumps combo: sunglasses and foliage crowns. We were so stylish it was unreal.


Laura Robinson, Bow


No messing round today.

The boathouse was a much calmer place than yesterday; we know now that we have the strength to stay ahead, and that if we could just stay calm then Newnham could really be in some trouble. However we also knew that Catz were ahead of Newnham, giving them a fairly easy target, and that Pembroke would be gunning for us following the messy row yesterday. We would be ready for them!

Our lovely cox Christina was unfortunately absent, so Chloe was very kindly subbing for us; she kept us controlled and focussed on the row up. This wasn’t quite as tidy as it had been the day before, but we felt strong and together, and the two practice starts went fairly smoothly.

Waiting at our station the atmosphere was noticeably calmer than the day before; our pre-row speech from Mark was all about keeping cool and getting settled. He had hardly finished speaking before the 1 minute canon sounded, and before we knew it we were off!

Pembroke started stronger than yesterday, having watched us fall apart the day before, they were hoping for an early bump. Their bank party gave some overly optimistic whistles, but we were far calmer and in control; the rate had settled to a steady 35, and there was no way we were letting Pembroke touch us. Before long they were fading back into the distance; they clearly pushed too hard too soon, and we weren’t so easily caught.

Newnham bumped out Catz ahead as predicted, and Queens bumped Cauis ahead of them, so there was nothing to aim for. However we had learnt from the mistakes of the day before, and kept pushing Pembroke away right to the end, finishing with around 4 lengths between us. Compared with the scrappy row yesterday, it felt like a victory!

We’re getting the experience and learning from our mistakes. Catz had better watch their backs!


Harriet Alford, 6


Bumps is quite a paradox. No matter how many times you have rowed a Bumps race, the simple thought of cannons and countdowns gives you the chills. And yet, any rower will tell you that Bumps are the most exciting races they have ever had. Some might even tell you that Bumps is the most fun one experiences at university!

As I walked into the boathouse today, that paradox was palpable. For six of us, today was their first Bumps race ever, and as we were getting ready to get in the boat, you could tell we were still trying to figure out that one question: to hype it or not to hype it? Serious pre-warmup chat from our cox; not hyping it. Rocking the Bumps shades; hyping it. As soon as we pushed off, there was no more question: head in the game, mind in boat, looking fly as we rowed past the boathouses.

The M2 division finished and rowed past us at the P&E,  and quite a few of us were relieved to see our coach Mark arrive, his presence somewhat making things right, and alleviating our nervousness. The row up to the lock is always especially interesting for Bumps, because you row behind the crew that will be chasing you. It was time for some mind games. We had a strong fast practice start around Ditton, and a firm, low-rate paddle to our station, seriously closing in on Pembroke, and having to do some pausing. As we spun the boat into station 11, we were feeling calm, confident. We barely had time to start worrying again, the 4 minute cannon was fired. Time to check gates and footplates – even more so for Bow who had rowed our previous race in Bedford with an open gate! The one minute cannon went off, and silence fell in the boat as we were mentally preparing ourselves. We knew we were in for a long grind down if we were going to get Newnham.

As the cannon fired, and a “DRAAAW” came through the speakers, we started our Lent Bumps Campaign with a powerful, fast start, rating 40 as we later found out. High rate starts? Definitely our thing; Settling? Slightly less so. We were too eager to get away from Pembroke, to eager to start closing in on Newnham, to hear that first whistle that brings you so much hope, and the energy and strength that goes with it. All that eagerness was misdirected, and as the rate stayed sky high, our legs were struggling to follow. We were losing power, stroke after stroke, the blades were not coming through, there was no time to breathe. Eventually the rate started coming down as well, and with no sign of a whistle, we started to lose our focus, our determination. As we got round Ditton corner, onto the reach, it felt like we were slowly giving up, providing Pembroke with an opportunity for a Bump. As we heard their bank party give them a first whistle, we were still trying to figure out how to pull through, how to clean this up. Our cox tried calling for another start, hoping for a mental reset, but the concerted crew effort that required was still missing. Pembroke then got two whistles on us, and that was our wake-up call. We finally found it in ourselves to make a change as a crew, halfway down the reach. As we got our rhythm back, properly lengthening it this time, and pushing hard on those legs, we pulled away from Pembroke again, going for that final stretch to the finish line, and rowing over, safely to the other side of the Railway Bridge.

As we rowed back to the boathouse, our usual loud, cheerful, and chatty crew was rowing in silence, hard on the legs but with rather heavy hearts. Obviously, we would have preferred a bump. But that was not really it. We knew how much better this race could have gone, and this is what the silence was about.

“That was a scrappy row, sure. But we didn’t get bumped, and we learned a lot for tomorrow.” said Christina as we got to the boathouse. Sitting down with cakes and doughnuts in the boathouse, we had a long debrief with the crew, and our awesome Reana who gave us the “from the bank” angle. By the end of it, everyone had been convinced that rowing over in the first division was already an achievement, and was ready to try again, cleaner and more efficient the second time round!

We shall see tomorrow if lessons were put in practice!


Laurane Saliou, 5


As our first race as a crew it’s fair to say we were slightly apprehensive rowing down for Pembroke Regatta. Since the marshals were on time we had a quick turn around at the end of the reach and it wasn’t long before we were lined up ready to race against Lucy Cavendish/ Hughes Hall W1. The start was called so quietly that the majority of the boat failed to hear it, which led to a few shaky beginning strokes whilst the other boat pulled away strongly. Despite the excessive splashing and unevenness we then managed to pull ahead. For the majority of the race we were able to maintain our position, even pulling slightly further ahead by half a length in the middle of the race. Then, Lucy Cavendish demanded a fight for the finish, gaining on us ever so slightly coming in to the end of the reach. Our ever-enthusiastic cox managed to pull us through to the finish with a win.

The marshals then informed us of an hour-long wait until our second race and so back to the boathouse it was. We were cold and wet and tired but we didn’t let our spirits dampen. This was a great time for crew bonding and plenty of eating, and that we certainly did!

Our second race was against the elusive Downing W1. All lined up, we were ready for the start this time. We both pulled away powerfully but it wasn’t long before Downing were ahead of us. Of course, we gave our all and fought through to the end, but unfortunately still lost.

Overall the day gave us the experience we needed to be confident for the next day of racing at Bedford.

We were ready.

Abbie Vernon, 2