The First Steps

It has been over a month since the UCL Boat Club hosted an armada of interested, curious and naïve mostly straight-out-of-school prospective rowers at the boathouse early in October. The ones who were fooled by our overly friendly nature at the beginning of the year have in the meantime come to learn what rowing is all about.

The lives of our novice rowers have now been transformed completely, every day they train hard on the ergs, on the water, in circuits and during weights training.

At the moment we have more novice men’s and novice women’s crews than we have hulls and every seat is fought over. The competitive nature of rowing means most athletes have had to learn quickly how to push themselves to their physical limits in order to defend their place in the crew from other keen novices.

The novices are on the water 3 times a week as well as in the gym 3 days a week; resting on Fridays.

We sent both our women and men’s novice squads to Cambridge Winter Head. Every year CWH is the first time our newbies get to test themselves against other new enthusiasts for rowing. This year our women lead from the front, the three crews that raced, finished 1st, 2nd and 5th. While our boys also demonstrated great racing skill, they were unfortunate enough to crash and suffer the consequences, meaning our top boat finished 9th while the 2nds came through to cross the finish line at a respectable 5th place.

While the novices left the tideway for Cambridge, two selected senior eights travelled all the way to Switzerland to take part in BaselHead, an eights head race, littered with international crews. While the girls finished a solid 7th in this year’s highly competitive field, our boys were able to defend their position (11th), making the whole event a success.

The racing didn’t finish that weekend and neither did the winning. UH Sprints Regatta was kind enough to extend an invitation to our novice crews to race last weekend. Keen as ever to show what we’re made of, we accepted; entering 3 boats in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions. Amazingly we came first and second in the women’s as well as the boys with both our 3rd boats winning their respective B-final; a tremendous way to get ready for the highly anticipated Allom Cup this weekend.

Now that we know what our novices are capable of, we can’t wait to see them race again on Saturday. However this time they won’t be alone, the seniors have also entered a couple of eights and fours to take on the University of London competition. This will be the first time the seniors and the novices get to race alongside each other, rally the boats along the banks together and hopefully celebrate victories together.

Good luck to all crews racing!

Max Steiger, President