Novice Women

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If you’ve never rowed before, or have only rowed a little bit, don’t fear – the UCL novice women’s squad is the perfect place for you. Speaking from experience, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in a boat before. Everyone is in the same position, and the nerves and excitement you all feel make you bond quickly and form strong and lasting friendships. Plus, due to the great coaching (including wise words from the Olympic Bronze medallist Alan ‘Woody’ Sherman), with the Novice Women Squad you will see yourself progress at an amazing rate and, before you know it, have great confidence on the water.

If you know anything about rowing, you will have heard of the gruelling training scheme. For novices, it’s a bit more relaxed, so don’t start panicking about 4am alarms. However, do expect to be working hard. We aim to be on the water at least three time a week, which will be at the boat club in Chiswick, alongside land training (ie on the rowing machine) and a recommended Circuits session at Bloomsbury Fitness with the rest of the club. It might sound like a lot, but this is what gets results – and trust me, you will get results.

Last year, the Novice girls soared to success with their first race, which occurs only a matter of months after you begin training, coming first at the Cambridge Head. They followed this with a cheeky gold medal at the UH Sprints Invitational, beating rivals from Kings comfortably in the final race (always a good feeling) – which was then repeated in the Varsity races.

Despite a few hiccups, we entered VIIIs in both Quentin Head and WeHorr, battling through the conditions to achieve great times and, in the latter, beating 50 other crews. Finally, we entered both a IV and an VIII in BUCS head, achieving places in the top third for both.

Throughout the year, we also have training camps, obligatory for the best girls, and extremely rewarding trips to be a part of. The first is in January during the winter holidays, and the second is in Portugal during the Easter break. This is where you craft your skill, push your endurance, and create some of the best friendships of your university career. As you all go through the same pain, bonding doesn’t come much better than taping up each other’s blisters.

After this comes Regatta season, easily the best time of the year, and the most committed of the girls get to enjoy the fast pace and adrenaline rush of the summer races. The squad is merged with the senior women after Portugal and this year we had novices competing in BUCs, Peterborough, MET and Reading regattas. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to Henley this year, but that does not worry me at all. It is my aim to develop the enthusiasm within the squad from the beginning in order to qualify for Henley Women’s Regatta with an VIII and I have no doubt of the success the squad this year will achieve!

We have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and a challenging but motivational training program. In addition to all this we have a buzzing social life, and the senior/novice, and male/female crews are integrating more than ever, truly creating a great club to be a part of.

Rowing is definitely the best decision you’ll make at uni, it creates both physical and mental strength you never knew you had. If you fancy giving it a go, you can sign up on this website or visit us at our stall at Freshers Fair. 

Alternatively, feel free to send me an email, I’m always happy to answer any questions!

Harriet Leigh

Novice Women’s Captain (2016/17)