A Strange Year: Rowing Reports

The 19/20 Academic year has thrown at lot of curveballs at college rowing. Lots of intense wet weather in Michaelmas and Hilary and then a pandemic meant no Trinity. Hear from our captains about how this year went!

 

M1

Everything is rather doom and gloom at the moment so I won’t dwell too much on the lack of rowing this year. The cancellation of Christ Church Regatta, Torpids and Summer Eights is unprecedented and all I can hope is that college rowing can come back stronger than ever next year.

I want to take an opportunity to say thank you to everyone involved in the frustration that has been this year. The boys have been excellent – they have provided me as a captain with a sense of community in my final year despite the circumstances and have been ever accommodating when it comes to the impossibility that has been outing organisation.

A big shout out goes to out American visiting students, Henry and Danny E for not giving up on us and hanging around despite certainly not getting the Oxford rowing experience they might have hoped.

Next year, Danny de Rozairo will be taking over the reigns of captaincy. Danny has been the most committed member of the men’s squad in my time at Oxford. I would personally like to thank him for the three years we have spent chopping around together, it has been pretty good.

Finally I want to pay tribute to the coaches this year, Simon and Graham who have both been with me for the whole of my rowing journey. Simon is an unsung hero who has been at the club 5 years now. He has coached me from a novice and he has just been an absolute pleasure to work. Graham, as many of you will know, is the lifeblood of the club. His contribution for the past 20 years has been immeasurable. This year especially, he has bent over backwards to get us some precious water time, stepping in to cox on a number of occasions when the stream has been too high for less experienced members of the club.

I hope it is not too long now until we can all get back on the water again, until then here are some great youtube videos of our work this year:

https://youtu.be/VaBehsl9U0A

https://youtu.be/n1HbKJhqPgM

https://youtu.be/kgZpqnOBxGg

https://youtu.be/RuhBbcYJ5xo

https://youtu.be/_SiagjDAiEM

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W1

After the storming year W1 had in 2019 (bumping up to 3rd on the river in Torpids and 9th in Summer Eights) it is safe to say that the squad went into the 2020 full of excitement of what was to come…we had our eyes and hearts set on Head of the River and buckets of enthusiasm.

In Michaelmas term, this enthusiasm soon began to rub off on first years and, and in no time we had built up a super squad of over 15 freshers training with both W1 and W2. Here I would like to give these girls a special mention- sticking with a gruelling erg and land training programme despite basically no water time takes real guts and character. I am so proud and happy that the majority of the freshers recruited at the very beginning of Michaelmas term are still training with the women’s squad and I cannot wait to get stuck into some proper rowing in the Autumn. Bi-weekly circuit sessions over Zoom throughout Trinity term have certainly been entertaining, and the OUW run Virtual Summer Eights saw Hertford put in an impressive effort, but nothing beats being in the boat (as I am determined they will find out for themselves very soon..!)

I can confidently say that despite the heartbreaking lack of rowing we have done this year, W1 and the whole women’s squad are stronger, fiercer and closer as a team than ever before. We did not need to win races and bump crews to prove our brilliance- the friendships created, resilience formed and personal fitness goals smashed are more than enough for me to see rowing this year as a success.

With a new coach and strong, happy squad I am more than excited to see what next year brings. It has been an honour and a privilege to captain W1, and I know that we will achieve great things. Bring. It. On.

#FTD

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M2

This year has proved to be one of HCBC’s most difficult years with COVID-19 and poor weather impacting significantly on the progression of novice rowers. These trying circumstances have not only led to the cancellation of the three big races of the year for the novices but also presented a serious challenge for HCBC to organise consistent water-based sessions. Despite this, we were able to still supplement the land training with tank sessions at Iffley for thanks to the fundraiser we hosted last year and the generosity of the society members.

The Michaelmas Term saw the usual influx of novice rowers keen to learn to row. However, the disappointing weather prevented any novice crews from being able to get any water sessions. Only a handful of outings could be managed this entire season! The usual highlight for novices is Christ Church regatta which was sadly cancelled this year. Instead, a replacement Christ Church Ergatta was held in which we performed with class despite the disruptions caused by awful weather. It also gave the novices a taste for competitive rowing which will serve them well for regattas next year. Other than this, sadly, no other races were held all year.

The poor weather coupled to the cancellation of races has affected our normal retention and progression rates of novice rowers. However, we can be assured that the novices that have stayed are highly motivated rowers who will fit perfectly into our senior ranks next season!

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W2

It’s been a strange year for rowing. With floods keeping us from water sessions for the first two terms and Corona virus keeping us away from Oxford during third term, training couldn’t take place in the same way as normal. Despite this W2 has continued to grow and thrive. Our amazing intake of new freshers at the start of the year have been incredibly committed and hard working, diligently showing up to erg session after erg session despite some of them having never had the chance to go out on the water.

During lockdown, many members of W2 both new and returning, put in the hours as part of the HCBC Strava competition and with the women’s circuits which W1 captain, Kate, ran incredibly well.

When we hopefully return next year, the Hertford women’s lower boats will be ready to hit the ground running with a large crew of amazingly committed women who I’m sure will continue to thrive and put all of this years strength and stamina training to good use, now under the captaincy of the amazing Liberty Hinze.

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