From beginner to first boat in a year, Laura’s story.

Laura Neild, from Champs women’s first boat describes how she got into rowing:

“Before getting into rowing I had run to stay fit, but had never done any competitive sport. A friend who rowed at Champs kept saying I would like rowing, but I was pretty insistent that I just wasn’t a sporty person etc. Then my kids got into rowing and I discovered I was running up and down the tow path yelling my head off, because I found the racing  exciting. I went to watch Bumps, again with my friend Belinda, and told her I’d realised I really should give it a go, and how would I go about it? 
I signed up for the induction course at Champs the next spring and was in my first race only 3 months later. We were pretty wobbly and slow, but I thought it was really exciting. I had caught the bug.  I was having a great time with my crew – such a lovely mix of people from all different countries and a real mix of ages and aspirations. I enjoyed being part of a team, as well as going for breakfast after an outing. At the same time, I was getting fitter and gradually starting to realise that I might be a slightly more competitive than I had previously thought… 
After a year I was fast enough to move to senior squad, where I got a lot of coaching and support, which I needed since I really was still fairly new to the sport and had quite a few kinks in my technique to iron out.  Last summer, after a few more months and some incredibly helpful coaching,  the W1 crew took me to Henley Masters, which was absolutely terrifying, but wonderful. Immediately afterwards came bumps – a crazy week of racing every night, and social events. Champs did really well this year, and I was lucky enough to be in one of the boats who won their blades. I would definitely recommend going to watch the bumps on Grassy Corner to anyone wondering if the might be interested in giving rowing a try. It’s definitely the best race on the Cam for spectators. 
My first two years of rowing have made me feel part of a community, have improved my health and fitness (my cholesterol is right down!)  and have been massively enjoyable.  I have spent 1 year each in the lower boats and senior boats and have met a  variety of lovely, warm and genuine people in both. This year I’m looking forward to learning to scull in a single, without feeling like I might go swimming at any moment! And I’ve signed up as joint inductions officer, so if you fancy trying rowing at any level, just get in touch.  We’d love to hear from you. 

Winter League 1

A great showing from Champs for Winter League 1 on a sunny and still morning.  In total we entered 5 women’s VIIIs, 2 women’s quads -composites with Cantabs and Xpress, 3 men’s VIIIs, one mixed quad, 2 women’s doubles, a mixed double and 5 single scullers as well as a men’s double. A cold but crisp day and lots of good times. The mixed ‘Double Trouble’ with Steve and Trish, were fastest in their Mas D category, the Budapest composite quad were second fastest in their category followed by Quadrangle. W1 were second fastest in Club A category and W2 won their Mas E  category. Great to see the Juniors and Development Squad doing so well and look forward to seeing great things from them in future legs of the winter league

This month we have done a special feature on one of our men’s crews the Fearnoughts who are a new crew so great to see they had a good race and we look forward to seeing great things from the men in future as we also have the Argonaughts and Dreadnoughts so will feature them in future posts.

Willian Dulyea says: “We raced Division 1, start time 09:00. We finished 6th in our category. Interesting facts:
We were the second fastest boat in Champs, W1 were the faster if you consider unadjusted times. This race was first time the entire masters crew rowed together.

Tim J, our stroke seat, had this to say:

As a new crew we had rowed few more than 10 strokes firm pressure before the race start. The build up was good and the boat was running well on 29 SPM as the starting klaxon sounded. A spilt time under 2 minutes then was encouraging but even with great motivational calls from Charlotte at cox our boat speed fell off especially as we came out of Ditton Corner into the Reach. Overall stroke rate was consistent at 29-30 but we needed more cover to keep boat speed up. The last 200m was encouraging as we built both rating and boat speed which should augur well for WL2!

Crew:Cox: Charlotte S.
S. Tim J.
7. David L.
6. Will D.
5. Robert A.
4. Graham T.
3. Johnny C.
2. Gez
B. Squint

W1 got the new year off to a flying start with a swift first leg of the Winter League. The crew had been training hard over the earlier winter months and were keen to put all that training into practice. So, despite the bitterly cold morning, the crew dug in early on to deliver a set of punchy corners, having been set up with some beautiful lines by their cox Gemma. With the corners done, the crew settled into length on ‘the Reach’, before committing to a gruelling flying finish. The crew delivered an admirable time of 11:51.5, outperforming the Nine crews surrounding them and making them second in their Club A category, only 27.4 seconds behind the Cantabs second boat. Happy with their time, but never satisfied, the crew are looking forward to getting back into training ready for Winter League 2.