Sidney students in the Boat Race

Sidney undergraduate and former SSBC W1 stroke Florence Alexander has been selected to race with the CUWBC Lightweights against Oxford. Hugo Durward,  also an undergraduate at Sidney, is trialling for a seat in the Men’s Reserve Boat, Goldie.

Rowing at Sidney has been going from strength to strength with both our women’s and men’s crews climbing the charts in the recent Lent Bumps. However, rowing at Sidney is not limited to College level.

Florence is a third-year medic who has been selected to row in the stroke seat of the Lightweight Women’s Blue Boat. She learnt to row at Sidney through SSBC’s novice programme and went on to row in our first Women’s VIII and act as our Women’s Captain. After taking part in CUWBC’s development programme, she came back at the start of the year to trial for the University Lightweights, while continuing to be involved with SSBC. One of the most impressive features of Florence’s progression to Lightweight Women’s stroke is that, unlike many of her colleagues, she had never stepped foot in a boat before coming to Cambridge.

Florence notes, “Rowing at Sidney and with the CUWBC development squad has given me the opportunity to engage in an entirely new sport and even be involved in coaching. It is a privilege to train alongside athletes of such high calibre”.

Studying for a Medicine degree and committing to a gruelling schedule of two training sessions a day sounds particularly challenging. When asked how Florence does it, she explained that “training for a boat race alongside a full time Cambridge degree has both its challenges and rewards. I have learnt to use the time I am working much more effectively, and arguably get more done despite the increased time restraints”.

For the first time in Boat Race history, 2019 has seen both Lightweight squads and the Women’s Openweights training together. According to Florence, “the support from such a large Cambridge University rowing family is invaluable and seeing the three squads work together for the single goal of beating Oxford is inspiring. It has been great to see what goes into such unique and highly broadcast events as the lightweight and openweight boat races”.

Florence will be racing with the CUWBC lightweights against Oxford over 2km in Henley-on-Thames at 15:00 on Saturday 30 March. SSBC will be going out to support her, and you can get on board and follow the action by checking out this Facebook event page.

Sidney’s other triallist is Hugo Durward, a first-year economist who has been managing training whilst settling into life at Cambridge. Hugo has yet to find out whether he has been selected for the line-up for CUBC’s reserve eight, Goldie. The crew is likely to be announced on Sunday 31 March.

If Hugo is selected, he will be racing against Oxford’s reserve boat ‘Isis’ at 14:45 on Sunday 7 April. SSBC also have a contingent going, and you can follow to by checking out this other Facebook event page.

We wish Florence, and Hugo if selected, the best of luck in their upcoming races and hope they will bring back a victory for the light blues and Goldie!


— Charlie Spicer, SSBC Captain of the Boats

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