Saturday 7th December 2019, Champs saw another successful day of racing. At Scullers Head on the Thames Carole Mills won the masters E category in her single achieving her first win on The Thames at 24.48.
In Cambridge, Champs made the most of the opportunity to race and dress-up at the same time. We saw 5 women’s 8s racing and some good results. The Juniors were second in the novice category at 8.42 and W1 second in the Club category at 7.54 dressed as Vikings with shields and a dragon made from an old wellie.
Delighted to see Denise Williams racing again after an injury last year and she and Trish Reed, our captain won their Mas F race in a double in 8.17 adjusted time.
The men’s crews included our ‘young’ Fearnoughts who were second in their championship catagory at 7.20 dressed as Hipster Lumberjacks followed by the elf Argonaughts at 7.49 adjusted time and the Dreadnoughts who looked very cool as the Blues Brothers with a nun Sister Lynn in the coxing seat (8.08 adjusted time).
Sculling school takes places most weekends on a Saturday or Sunday. Will Kocur talks about his experience learning to scull with Champs in a double with Rowan Sugden:
“We both had experience with sweep rowing before joining the sculling school at Champs, but it was the first time we’d ever sculled. Since we started, we’ve really enjoyed sculling with the club and being part of its fun and supportive community. The school is informal, but supported by a team of very friendly and committed coaches who put in a lot of time to make sure everyone receives individual feedback throughout outings. We’ve been rowing together in a double for just under two months and are excited to start racing in the next few. Hopefully we can match some of the success of Champs’ experienced scullers (or failing that, just not fall in)!”
Anna-Louise describes how “two brave crews left Cambridge at the crack of dawn wondering what the Tideway would hold in store for us in late November. We boated from Furnival who were very welcoming and had a great welly rack! Benign conditions met us – mild, calm with no wind but a Victorian pea-souper which swathed Hammersmith Bridge, lifted as we went through the start line enabling both crews to do ourselves proud.” Well done to Champs Womens Masters C Quad, and a Mixed Champs/Chesterton Masters E Quad.
David Levien: “Saturday 16th November saw the Peloton crew reunited for the first time since the bumps, so after a cold and early start expectations were modest. We needn’t have worried though – Catherine encouraged (whipped) us into shape in no time and we eventually remembered where to sit and which end of the blade to hold onto. After a good start, Tim at stroke ably held us at a metronomic 31 SPM all the way down the calm course to the finish. We were the fastest Vet E crew on the day, so perhaps Rob’s offering of nine Chunky Kit Kats did the trick (other chocolatey treats are available).”
On Sunday 3 November a trailer full of Champs Boats set off to Ely for the 5K Head Race. We were relieved to see the weather gods were smiling on us and blessed by no wind OR rain! Rachel Newell made her maiden voyage as trailer driver and all the boats arrived safely. W1 ‘Dawn raiders’ did a very good time and were second in their category of 7 completing the race in 21.52 and ended the race with a rousing finish of ’10 for John’ cheered by our wonderfully committed coach John Welton and President Keith Benton.
Carole ‘David Beckham’ Mills did 3 races in: a) a single and won, b) a mixed Budapest quad with Cantabs which was fastest in their category of 1, and c) a double with Phil Jones. There was also a double for Steve Millar and Trish Reed, our club captain, and William Dulyea in a single with a time of 24.08. Steve and Phil also fought it out in the singles category! All good times and all happy and great preparation for head race season as 5K is a very decent distance.
William Dulyea recounts, “After having been off the racing circuits for a few years now this was a very nice race for me to pace my level. I have trained for months now with plenty of erg time and the ease of the first half of this race reflected this. The second half got a bit more challenging as the fatigue started to settle in. To keep myself motivated I was lucky enough to be chased by Phil Jones (our sculling guru from Champs) who managed to make noticeable gains on me up to the finish. I had to work hard to stop him from coming by so I will need to up my training. Overall a fun race and it was nice to work with the rest of the Champs crews and help out.”
The joy of this race is the wonderful stretch of river and the relaxed marshalling as well as of course the cakes- both Ely’s usual amazing cake stall and Laura Neild’s tin of home made birthday doughnuts. As ever with these events its not just the rowing that counts but the cakes, the chat, the jokes that make the loading and unloading process go faster and mean we all went home happy and full of Ely air. Big thanks to the Isle of Ely rowing club for making us welcome as always.
I’m hugely excited to say that The Champs kit room is now open for orders at: https://www.crewroom.co.uk/collections/champion-of-the-thames-rc The case sensitive password is available on the Champs Kit page on the members website. 5% discounts will be applied on checkout for JL unisuits, Long Sleeve JL Tech tops, Crewroom leggings, Tundras, Zephrs and Hoodies. And even more excitingly, we now can order custom Champs rowing bra tops!
Deadline 5th November so get those orders in.
Good opportunity to stock up the winter kit cupboard in time for the Winter League racing.
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Champs has a very well run sculling school that goes out on a Saturday or Sunday morning (depending on races etcetera) and Carole Mills, our sculling captain, along with others from Champs and other Cambridge clubs went to compete at the World Masters in Budapest in September. Given fierce and impressive competition Champs ‘punched well above its weight’ and Carole came second. Carole has had a fantastic year winning a gold at the National Masters in Strathclyde in June and a gold at Henley Masters in July, culminating with a second place at the World Masters. As a result Carole – to her surprise as this is an award she would normally announce- won the most improved scullers trophy for women. Well done Carole!
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Although we all love those Summer outings, events and training there is something very special about Autumn rowing. This is a photo of our W1 crew this Sunday morning at 8am emerging from the mist on the water. The club is focussed now on preparing for Autumn and Winter Head Races on the Cam, the Thames and Ely. That means lots of 2x6K ergs, circuits, weights and ‘so many squats you can’t get your jeans on’ according to the W1 coach John Welton. All the Champs crews are looking forward to the head race season ahead after a successful summer and Bumps where W1 got their blades and the ‘returners’ – a crew of x juniors just back from uni – also got their blades including an over bump- you can’t ask for much more than that. One of them had to bump her own mother to achieve it but Champs is a family friendly club and no one could have foreseen just how far and how fast a scratch crew full of determined young women would go.
The Champs AGM was well attended and there was standing room only at one point in the Boathouse Pub. We are very lucky to have Keith Benton as our President and Pete Twitchett as our Chariman for another year and they and other Champs officials gave speeches, appointed new volunteers to key roles and awarded prizes for most improved rower, sculler, cox and many more. It’s a credit to the club that so many people volunteer to run the club gather subs, pay race fees, look after child welfare, manage the budget, attend CRA meetings, organise some very good social events, run sculling school and many many more duties that makes Champs the club it is.
Trish Reed in the photo has done a fantastic job captaining the women for the last year and was voted in to become overall club captain for men and women. Trish will be supported in her role by a team of 2 captains (senior and intermediate) for the women Sam Hulston and Sarah Corcoron respectively. Trish will be identifying a captain for the men and will be fully supported in this role by us all. We all know that means more 2 K tests at Christmas to inform selection process but it’s a formula that has worked well for the last year and it keeps us training! Trish also runs sculling school with Steve Millar and Carole Mills so this photo shows her getting an impressive trophy for her contribution to the club over the year. We would also like to thank Maura Rutter who has stepped down after several years as Secretary and John Tasker as Treasurer.
However rowing isn’t all about awards and trophies and erg test tests! Champs is an inclusive club that welcomes new comers and we have a clear structure of induction for new members and volunteers also put themselves forward to run the induction scheme at the AGM. We welcome new members who are keen to row and join in. If you are willing to learn and improve and become part of the club we would love to hear from you.
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