UCBC newsletter MT22
I Hope this reaches everyone warm and well. Michaelmas term has been a great success and the new committee have done a fantastic job getting the season off to a strong start. Without wanting to step on the toes of any of the individual reports, the term has been filled with high-quality performances, from both the senior and novices, and from both the men and the women.
Michaelmas, as always, has been a very novice-centred term, with many of the seniors getting involved in coaching, helping our eager newcomers along their journeys’ to becoming seasoned rowers. The most material success of the term was the first novice men’s boat, who defended Univ MNA’s title at Nephthys Regatta, however, all the crews put in great rows, reaping the rewards of a well-structured and well-executed term of training. We look forwards to seeing them all folded into the armada of senior crews that will be turned out for Torpids.
Meanwhile, the seniors have been having been knocking it out of the park as well, with huge results at Autumn Fours, Fours Head and Fairbairn’s. Both W1 and M1 made their respective finals at Autumn Fours, with the women capitalising and taking home the victory, and the men delivering a strong second place. Fours Head also saw an overwhelming Univ presence, with six boats entered (three Men’s Academic 4+s, two Women’s Academic 4+s and a Martlet Club Women’s Club 4x-), the most of any Oxbridge college.
The Men’s first crew (A) came 9th out of 20, beating some Oxford lightweights, as well as some of M1’s usual antagonists like Southampton (2nd and 3rd fours), Exeter (3rd four) and York (2nd four). The Women’s fours also had some great times, with both crews beating the only other Oxford college crew of Green Templeton BC. Additionally, Fours head got the inaugural season for the Martlet Boat Club off to a good start, with them winning their local derby, beating the Oxford Academicals in the coxless quad (more info on the website, univboatclub.com, for anyone interested in joining).
Finally, the end of the term saw a comparably large Univ force descending on enemy waters, with crews entering the Fairbairn’s cup in Cambridge. The Univ women came 8th out of 13 Senior Women’s 4+s, as well as entering an 8+ which came 42nd out of 46, and the men placed 18th and 41st (of 64) in the Senior 8+ category.
In addition to all the fantastic rowing, the club saw a return to form in the social calendar. October welcomed back the Leander Lunch, organised by our hosts Ron Jordan and Richard Powles, which was by all accounts a thoroughly enjoyable occasion and offered a great opportunity to celebrate some of the club’s recent successes (I’m not sure if anyone mentioned in the previous newsletter, but W1 won headship for the first time in history – it was kind of a big deal). As well as the Leander lunch there have been many of the other familiar activities that make UCBC more than just a sports team, with pub crawls, all-you-can-eat buffets, quizzes and Christmas parties keeping those who are less erg-inclined just as busy as the rest of the club.
As always, I’d like to thank everyone who supports the club, and who allow us to have great terms like this, year-in-year-out. I’d like to thank college and all the FoUCBC for the financial support, but also all of you reading, for staying invested in the wellbeing of the boat club. I’d especially like to thank everyone who throws us an emphatic “Yeah Univ” when we’re out and about, it always improves a regatta knowing there are some friendly faces about.
Finally, for those of you who are expecting D&Cs invitations, they should have all been sent out, if you haven’t received yours, drop me an email
Andy Bridger – President 2022-2023
From the Women's Captain
Michaelmas saw another successful term for the Women of UCBC; both on the Isis and further afield. Training as a senior collective, rather than in set crews, meant rowers with varying experience rowed together. This, along with our mixed land training and club socials, has only strengthened the sense of community within UCBC.
The first race of the term was the Upper Thames Autumn Head, a 3km head race held on the Henley stretch. Thankfully, we were familiar with the course, having overlooked it from Leander Club during Leander Lunch only a week before. We entered two coxed fours into the race, the ‘A’ boat was placed in Band 2 and finished the course in a time of 14:04.7 which placed them 5th out of seven entries (two of which were OUWBC crews). The ‘B’ boat competed in Band 3 and completed the course in 15:27.2 having faced some rough river conditions.
Only a week later, and with another crew shake-up, two new coxed fours were entered into Autumn Fours, a side-by-side knockout style regatta held on 800 m of the Isis. The ‘B’ crew, having had very little training time, faced tough competition in the first round and lost the race by only ¼ length. The ‘A’ crew however, won each round and eventually reached the final against a strong Balliol crew. It was a tough race, but Univ pulled through and won the final by ½ length. Naturally, a pub trip was required to celebrate some new shiny pots being added to an already growing collection.
Attention swiftly turned to perhaps our biggest race of the term, Fours Head. This gruelling 7 km head race, held on the Championship Course, was the first Tideway experience for some. We entered two equally matched coxed fours to conjure up some healthy competition between crews: The ‘A’ crew finished the course in a time 23:26.8, whilst the ‘B’ crew finished in 22:46.9, placing them in 20th and 16th in the Academic division respectively, out of 23 University-level crews.
As the term began to draw to a close and the weather became more hostile, the river inevitably became less row-able. Our final race of the term, Fairbairns in Cambridge, was fast approaching, yet a week of red flags, red boards, and thick fog, meant neither of the women’s crews entered were able to train beforehand. As such, our 8+, consisting of both seniors and a couple of novices, were thrown in at the deep end. Yet they completed the 4.3 km course in 21:01, beating three Cambridge crews in the process. The coxed four completed their 3.4 km course in 14:35, also beating several Cambridge crews.
Our focus in Michaelmas Term is to build stamina, strength, and most importantly, experience. Our aim is rarely to win, but to learn from the crews around us so that when we return to the Isis, we are vastly more prepared than other college crews. Our focus will now shift to setting our crews for Hilary and preparing for the bumps campaign to come. The Women’s side of UCBC continues to grow from strength to strength, and I look forward to continuing this theme when I write to you again next term.
Becca Tanner – Women’s Captain 2022-23
From the Men's Captain
I am absolutely delighted to report that the senior men’s squad of MT22 has been both large and highly committed to training – the expectation of fierce competition for M1 seats in coming has led to a large volume of winter miles, which were made that little bit easier by unseasonably warm weather and a well behaved river.
After what for many was a summer of rest, the guys hit the ground running, spending the first couple of weeks getting back into the swing of things and remembering which way around the spoons are supposed to go in the water. With this refresher out of the way, and the lack of any major internal competitions, we set our sights on the tideway, and having a swing at fours head. With a multitude of keen rowers, a new four sitting in Jim’s workshop and a second shell secured for the term in return for some outdoor racking, we decided to take three crews to London for 6.8km of fun.
After a couple of weeks of dedicated training, our crews had their first test, the arguably-season-defining head race of IWL A. All three fours head fours were in action, taking the top three spots for their category, along with a fourth UCBC and friends four who put in a brilliant shift, and two men’s singles, Nic Steyn and Tom Ward – they took 1st and 3rd in the category respectively. Special mention here must go to Nic, for receiving a personal shoutout in an RQ email for positive reasons – truly, one for the record books.
The following weekend saw our crews in action once again, this time trying to defend the Autumn Fours trophy. All three boats got through several rounds of action, with our two balanced top fours meeting in the semi finals, and thus one torch carrying the blue and yellow flame into the final race of the day. Unfortunately, the Univ/Univ semi had taken too much, and Jesus were able to take the title. But, from a whole club perspective, the day was a brilliant success; the fact that two balanced Univ crews were in the top four men’s boats in Oxford and knocked out top boats from many other colleges is testament to the quality of rowing at UCBC.
Hungry for more, we also entered two fours into Nephthys regatta for one last chance at some side by side racing before our trip to the tideway. This was a more profitable day, with both crews making it through multiple rounds and our wonderful Captain of Coxes Chloe defending her perfect record at Nephthys regatta by steering Univ A to victory – finally, some silverware.
The following weekend, we packed our bags and headed up to London – despite some last minute personnel changes, all three of our crews put down some wonderful performances. During the interminable process that is marshalling in high stream in November, new friends were made with the crews around us, special mention to Exeter and Southampton Universities, who went on to push our A and C crews through their respective races. I’d love to give a brief account of what went on during the race itself but alas my memory seems to have blocked it out; afterwards, however, as we sat watching the sun set over the banks of the Thames, the results were in – and they were good. Our highest ranking boat finished 9th of 19 Academic 4+ crews, beating one of the Oxford Lightweight boats – a source of much joy, and the ranking was especially gratifying given we were the only college there. Our other two crews finished 13th and 14th respectively (although, due to a crew update not going through, one of these was later disqualified). Overall, strong performances all around, and huge learnings to take into the rest of the season.
With fours head wrapped up, there was just one regatta left on the cards – a trip to Cambridge, for a swing at Fairbairns. We took two eights over to the other place, for a chance to test ourselves against some other colleges, and for many to experience the lovely waters of the Cam for the first time. My key takeaway was that 4.3km is a long way if you don’t have any idea of where you are on the course and accidentally start your ‘final’ 10 strokes 80 strokes from the line. But, despite the pain and the handbrake turns, both crews put in really strong performances, beat plenty of Cambridge colleges, and generally had a really enjoyable end to a really positive term of rowing.
And now, to the vac – as is tradition, we are turning ruining the family Christmas by erging into a competitive sport, everyone is keeping up with their daily core and mobility circuits and our sights are set on a productive torpids campaign come HT23. Off the Isis, we’re hoping to go to Bedford on Feb 12th, and then to HoRR on March 18th – hopefully we’ll see a few familiar faces there. In the meantime, thanks as always for your ongoing support of the club, and have a happy and healthy Christmas.
Lloyd Arnold – Men’s Captain 2022-23
From the Women's Vice-Captains
What a term it’s been – we couldn’t be prouder of the novices! Following a very successful taster day barbeque, we were able to field two strong women*’s novice boats.
In early November, after weeks of hard training both on and off the water, WNA and WNB had their first taste of racing at Nephthys Regatta. Although racing can be a daunting experience with lots of people and chaos from other boats, our crews managed to remain calm, trust in their training and each other, and come together as a crew to put up an excellent fight against their competition.
A few weeks later, the Michaelmas Novice Regatta took over the Isis. On day one, the WNA/B composite commenced their campaign as they meant to go on, winning their race against Magdalen by a length! Following an extremely powerful start, WNA/B continued pushing on day 2, though unfortunately lost to Somerville in a very challenging race.
Special thanks to Charlie and Jess whose invaluable coaching and support ensured WNA and WNB had such a successful term.
Alex Jones and Louisa Boult – Women’s Vice Captains 2022-23
From the Men's Vice-Captains
An exceedingly well-attended taster day produced a large crop of novice men this year—enough to fill nearly four boats. For a time, in fact, there were too many rowers to fit in the available water slots. Yet after the first two weeks of training, many realised they weren’t terribly keen on 6:30 am outings in the cold and dark. We were thus left with two men’s novice VIIs comprising only UCBC’s most dedicated and committed; MNA was coached by Theo Fawcett and Bernd Sturdza, while MNB was coached by Max Bolton and James Trenaman.
The two crews were so eager that—rather than wait for the novice regattas later in term—they hoped to get a headstart on the competition by entering IWL A, a time trial on the Isis stretch. Unfortunately, though, the organisers were concerned that the Univ novices might be out of their depth in a field of senior crews. Although they had abundant enthusiasm, their technique was yet to become silky smooth.
The first chance for glory was therefore the side-by-side Nephthys regatta in early November. MNB passed straight through the first round after their opponent withdrew. In the second round, they took an early lead on Linacre’s MNA with a strong start. An unfortunate series of crabs, though, left Univ chasing. They pushed on and began closing the gap, but over the short course they ran out of water and finished two feet behind. MNA, who were looking to repeat Univ’s 2021 victory, cruised through their first three races with clear water margins. They stayed calm in the semi-final against St Hugh’s, then outdid Corpus Christi to win the final and make Univ back-to-back winners.
The chief object of the term’s training was the Michaelmas Novice Regatta, from 23–26 November. On the first day (Wednesday) MNA suffered a tough loss to Somerville and were sent to the repechage the next morning, where they beat Teddy Hall. Thursday afternoon, following a week of wet weather, the stream became too strong to continue racing. On Friday, the river stayed closed. With a modified schedule and an intervention from the lock-keeper, however, the remaining races were able to take place on Saturday. Both crews progressed to the round of 16 and MNB made it to the quarter-final, but after all the disruption it just wasn’t their day. The rowers and coxes of MNA and MNB will now join the seniors in trials for fixed boats in Hilary. The depth they will bring to the squad will be a significant asset.
Gregory Cuff & Nic Steyn – Men’s Vice Captains 2022-23
From the Social Secretary
Michaelmas has been as lively as ever for UCBC, starting the term by warmly welcoming a new squadron of novices with the inaugural internal UCBC crewdate. In October, the committee along with the M1 and W1 crews from Summer VIII’s 2022 were kindly welcomed to lunch at the Leander club. A lovely three-course lunch was enjoyed by all with a spectacular view of the river and much discussion of past rowing successes and future hopes for the club. This included a toast to the UCBC’s first women’s headship crew, many of whom were present at the lunch. The crew enthusiastically presented the Headship trophy to Margaret Chamberlain who was the first female member of UCBC in 1979 and a pioneer of women’s college rowing at Oxford, (pictured above, left)
Events just kept coming, with everything from cocktail nights and wings-eating competitions to chicken hunting, ultimately culminating in Christmas celebrations. The much-loved erg sprint challenge made its return at the Christmas party. Just 100m was rowed in the challenge, with the technique of mildly intoxicated novices and seniors being near indistinguishable. Looking forward, one can only anticipate the next term to be as fun, social, and action-packed as the last. Torpids dinner will, of course, be the highlight of the term for all. This year, quite controversially, taking place in week 6 rather than week 7.
For all our Dinosaurs and Cassandrians out there, the annual dinner will take place at Vincent’s Club on 28th January 2023, and we look forward to welcoming you back to exchange stories new and old of life inside, and outside, of boats.
Bertie Coomber – Social Secretary 2022-23
The Martlet Club
It has been an exciting first term for the newly formed Martlet Club who have been slowly building their ranks and competing in their first few regattas under the Martlet Club banner.
Pippa Biggs (Chemistry) kicked off the term with a highly impressive second in club singles at Scullers Head of the River and a win at Oxford City regatta. The same weekend, Amy Hughes (Physics) and Sophie Wicken (Biochemistry) dusted off the danger double to finish second at Isis Sculls.
The Martlet Club then travelled to Bedford for Bedford Autumn small boats, which apart from getting the trailer stuck over the bridge and blocking the road, was a very successful event all round, with wins for both Pippa in the single and Amy/Sophie in the double.
Amongst the craziness of novice term, the Martlet Club managed to train (twice) in a quad (Pippa, Amy, and Sophie were joined by Alice Chakraborty [current student]) for the annual trip to London for Fours Head for a solid row down the course, albeit slightly stressful for first-time steerer Sophie.
Building on our successful first term, we would love to be able to field an alumni men’s and women’s eight at HoRR and WeHoRR, respectively. Furthermore, the Club are looking to establish an annual alumni Martlet Regatta to be held on the day of Dinos and Cassies, for alumni to compete in bumps style head races with the current UCBC men’s and women’s crews. If you are interested in either of the above and would like to find out more then please contact the Martlet Club committee.
Sophie Wicken – Martlet Club Captain
The UCBC committee has decided to fundraise by introducing supporters’ stash items for all of our friends, family, and alumni to enjoy. The first edition in this series is a tea towel to showcase in your home and reminisce fondly the ‘good old days’ rowing with UCBC. On this tea towel, you will find a map of the river Isis, where Univ trains and races, alongside many key dates and facts related to UCBC’s history. The tea towel was designed by current UCBC member, Kira Baughan, and an example illustration is shown below:
The cost of each tea towel will include a small donation to UCBC, however, there will be an option to add to this donation on the order form. If you’d like to make a larger donation or would be interested in funding specific races or pieces of equipment then please get in touch with either Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andy (email@example.com).
To order your tea towel, please complete this order form before 31 December and send payment to the UCBC account.
Orders will be available for collection from college on the date of the Dinos & Cassies Dinner or alternatively can be mailed to any UK address. If you would like to arrange overseas shipping or have any other queries regarding fundraising, please get in touch via email.
Charlie Kniebe-Evans – Vice President 2022-23
In the past few years, UCBC has placed a great focus on external racing and small boats training. These two areas have been paramount to the development of a large squad of technically talented rowers, as is displayed by the successes described in the captains’ reports. The limiting factor in a number of regattas has been shells to race in rather than lack of rowers, so over the past year we have been expanding our fleet! The most recent additions include a women’s pair/double, a men’s pair/double, a men’s single, and a men’s bowloader 4+.
These new additions to our fleet are yet to be named so if you would be interested in gifting and naming one of these boats then please get in touch with either Charlie (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Andy (email@example.com). When a new boat is named, we host a naming ceremony where the boat’s donors unveil the newly named boat and the boat club celebrates together. Our most recently gifted boat was Marjorie Ann, gifted by Michael Collins and named at Eights Dinner 2022.
UCBC Alumni IRONMAN
In our Trinity 2022 newsletter, UCBC alumni Neil Slinger and Pete Smith shared their plans to compete in the Barcelona Ironman in memory of their dear friend and much-loved UCBC member, James Townley.
An Ironman triathlon involves a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile cycle, and finally a marathon (26.2 mile run). We are very pleased to share that both Neil and Pete completed the challenge on 2nd October 2022!
In James’ memory, they raised over £3000 for the charity Combat Stress, which is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. They would like to pass on their thanks to all the donors for their generosity towards this excellent cause.
Key Dates 2023
Martlet Regatta – 28 January
Dinos & Cassies Dinner – 28 January
Bedford Head – 12 February
Torpids – 22-25 February
WEHORR – 4 March
HORR – 18 March
Summer VIII’s – 24-27 May
Eights Dinner – 27 May
Met Regatta – 4 June
Marlow Regatta – 17 June
Henley Women’s Regatta – 16-18 June
Henley Royal Regatta – 27 June – 2 July
Visit the new UCBC website at univboatclub.com
View or download the UCBC MT22 newsletter as the original PDF.
Published: 21 December 2022