Posted: Thursday 19 August 2010, 1:51PM by Nick Taylor
Dear soon to be fresher!
Congratulations on achieving your offer from Sidney Sussex College and welcome to the website of the college boat club! If you’ve ever thought about rowing or coxing before then now is the perfect time to start, absolutely no experience is necessary as we have a dedicated training program for new rowers. Or even if you’ve never even thought about it you can come to one of our events in fresher’s week and find out what makes rowing the most popular sport in Cambridge.
Check out our Novicing section of the club website to find out more about how you can get involved with rowing in Cambridge or feel free to get in touch with the Vice Captains, our emails can be found on the Committee page.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Posted: Monday 02 August 2010, 3:23PM by Sam Harrison
This summer, 26 members of SSBC went to Philadelphia to compete in the Independence Day Regatta. The trip started in New York, with a fantastic meal at Delmonico’s, chosen by Mike, organiser extraordinaire and trip “Dad”. We arrived late after a subway problem, but Tim had been with his family that day and arrived on time. He befriended a Brit in the bar who was clearly delighted to see some more English people during the world cup and we ended up staying most of the evening with him, discussing how England were going to beat Germany in the football the next day and how we were going to give the Yanks a lesson in rowing… The next day was spent seeing the sights of New York before the rowing started in earnest.
After our whistle-stop tour of New York we headed for Philadelphia. We were met off the bus by a fleet of rowers from the local boat club who whisked us to our hostel. Even late in the evening the heat was oppressive, seemingly far too hot to even think about exercise. The next day marked the stat of our rowing in America. The morning was spent rigging the huge assortment of boats we had hired and then the afternoon was spent paddling around, trying to get used to the river, equipment and heat!
The next few days were spent training and looking around Philadelphia in between. Philadelphia was a good city to look around with many sights to keep us entertained. The Art Museum was very impressive, not only for the chance to run up the Rocky steps! The Constitution Centre and the Liberty Bell were enjoyable, although the consensus among our group was that the portrayal of the British as tyrannical occupiers was a little overplayed… The training also went well, with the chance for us to row with different (newer) equipment and to train in completely new boats for some of us.
The regatta was huge (955 boats) and was run incredibly efficiently. Combined with he change in race format (2k multi-lane) it was a far cry from bumps racing! The best performance was from the women’s lightweight four, who were a very close second in the final having led for most of the way, a very impressive performance! The women’s eight rowed well, with significant crew changes after bumps, but did not progress to their final. The men’s four improved dramatically over the course of the week and adapted well to the four, a boat none of them had rowed in before, but again did not progress through their heat. Anthony Brewer also entered the single dash, a quarter mile (just under 500m) sprint, but didn’t have quite enough experience of rating near 50 in a single to be at the front.
Personally, I was involved in the men’s eight and quad. The quad was particularly “interesting” as the only sculling any of us had done before was recreational outings in singles on the Cam. However, that seemed like no reason not to enter the regatta! We had seven outings before the race, which was perhaps an optimistic timescale to learn how to row in a quad at race pace. Fortunately Mike soon found us a coach. Fred, who ranks himself as one of the best sculling coaches in the world, was drafted in for an outing but I think it became apparent pretty quickly that we weren’t one of the best quads in the world! However, it was a productive outing and we were more comfortable afterwards knowing that no matter how disruptive our bowel complaints were on the start line we’d be able to deal with it. The race went well for the first 500m but unfortunately after that we started to crumble, having never done a piece longer than that before. We finished last, but not discouragingly far behind. The thing we all really enjoyed was the opportunity to train and race in the quad, a boat we don’t have access to on the Cam. The picture is of us on the river in front of the Philadelphia skyline.
In the men’s eight the training was much more conventional. We’d had a very encouraging week’s training on the Cam before we left, including racing Marlow Regatta, and arrived in Philadelphia feeling well drilled as a crew. After we’d sorted out the rigging and got a feel for how much harder rowing in temperatures in the mid to high thirties is than in the comparatively balmy British summer weather the week’s training went well. We were also happy with how the race went. We had a much better row than at Marlow and were very close to a Hudson River crew for the whole course, but we didn’t progress to the next round.
After the rowing was over we had several days relaxation before the flight home. Clete had very kindly arranged for us to go to the Independence Day concert and fireworks, the largest free concert in America, which was very impressive. We had a great day by the beach in Atlantic City and a day sightseeing in a sweltering Washington. The temperature was still 38 degrees celsius when we got back to Philadelphia at 8:00pm, which felt cool compared to Washington!
Finally, a heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the trip possible and so enjoyable. Thanks to Clete, Nan, John, Fred, Jack et al in Philadelphia who were so helpful and accommodating, Frank for the night in New York, College for funding the trip and to Mike for the masses of time he put into organising the trip.
Posted: Saturday 26 June 2010, 1:04AM by Sam Harrison
SSBC will be holding a dinner for all Alumni who rowed or coxed during their time at Sidney on Saturday 6th November 2010. The aim is to raise enough money to purchase two new four's. The dinner two years ago was a great success, raising enough to purchase a new women's eight. We are hoping for another enjoyable evening for all involved this time around.
There have been letters and emails sent out to the Alumni we have contact details for but unfortunately our lists are not exhaustive. if you are interested but do not hear from us within the next week please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send more information.
Posted: Saturday 26 June 2010, 12:57AM by Sam Harrison
26 Sidney rowers are imminently departing, heading for Philadelphia and the Independence Day Regatta. This should be a great trip for all involved and hopefully will also offer some good quality racing against US crews.
The regatta takes place over the 2nd, 3rd and 4th July and more information can be found here. If anyone happens to be around Philadelphia then it would be great to see you at the river.
Posted: Tuesday 22 June 2010, 10:07AM by Lucy Sweetland
To finish up a fantastic term, W2 won blades in Mays this year. After winning our division at Head to Head and at Champs Eights we felt confident rowing up on Wednesday to chase Fitz II, although still definitely suffering from the usual bumps nerves - or at least, I was! We had a great start that day and caught Fitz well before First Post Corner and enjoyed a row back with greenery.
The second day was not quite as polished... although we would like to blame that on the deafening gun from our station under the railway bridge, and also the fact that we caught Homerton II just so quickly! Finding ourselves in their wash after about 10 strokes, we had little chance to settle into a rhythm, but nonetheless powered into them well before First Post: a messy bump, but we'll take it.
The third day saw us catch First and Third III in the shortest race yet, with a good, powerful row.
Rowing up on Saturday we were excited though nervous, quickly shh-ing any mention of 'the flag' or the B-word... Knowing that Murray Edwards had had to chase Churchill II, our victim, to Grassy Corner, we anticipated a longer race. However, having beaten Churchill's W1 in Champs Eights, we were completely confident we would get them. After a scrappy start, certainly affected by nerves, we settled into a great rhythm. Finding ourselves at First Post Corner - for the first time that week! - we finally heard our first whistle, and knowing that Churchill must be tiring, we stepped it up, and the following whistles came quickly, helped by a roar of Sidney support in the Gut, and we bumped soon after. A more knackering chase - and more dramatic, as we heard Murray Edwards had crabbed in front of Churchill, allowing them to get within a length - we were even more euphoric to see the flag appear from James' rucksack and we all loved the row home with plenty of greenery and cheers from the crowded banks.
This successful campaign leaves Sidney W2 placed 4th in the division, giving next year's crew a good shot to break into the third division - moving up, where we belong!
Posted: Sunday 20 June 2010, 11:23AM by Tasha Scott
To continue our bumping success, we were determined to get Darwin W1, particularly as they were coxed by a fellow Sidney member. After a questionable start, we flew towards them, enduring the significant wash to catch them at First Post corner, in front of an enormous crowd of spectators. Many thanks to those from Sidney that made the effort to come out to the towpath, the support was amazing! Up three over four days is an excellent result, and we were all very happy.
Posted: Sunday 20 June 2010, 11:23AM by Tasha Scott
As on Day 2, we knew that we had a great chance of catching the boat ahead, LMBC W2, as Emma W2 had caught up with them at Grassy. As the gun went off, we did a decent start, and the whistles came pretty swiftly after that. We bumped them along first post reach, and this was the first bump of the whole division, a very pleasing result. Thanks must go to Hannah Taylor, who subbed for Rose Tallon on this day.
Posted: Sunday 20 June 2010, 11:17AM by Tasha Scott
Knowing that Emma W2 had caught Homerton W1 at First Post corner, we knew that we were able to catch them, if all went well. With Murray Edwards chasing us, we needed to go off hard, and did a much better start than on Day 1. Like clockwork, we managed to bump Homerton on the second half of First Post reach, giving us our first bump of the week, and keeping well clear of Murray Edwards. Overlap took a little longer than expected to happen, as Emma W2 kindly crabbed in front of Homerton, causing them to perk up a little. Rowing home with greenery made us eager to repeat the experience on Day 3.
Posted: Sunday 20 June 2010, 11:16AM by Tasha Scott
After a hard term of training, W1 set out on a mission to get Emma W2, the crew they were chasing. A good row up to the start set us up nicely, but unfortunately, not long after the gun went off, we soon realised that Homerton W1 were significantly slower than both us an Emma, meaning that we were denied our bump at First Post.
Emma failing to clear caused us to crash for a while in the reeds at the outside of this corner. Once we set off again, there was nothing ahead of us to chase, so we took the rate down to a comfortable 26 after Ditton, and rowed the rest of the course solidly.
Posted: Sunday 20 June 2010, 9:33AM by Sam Harrison
Day three: After we had managed to catch Queens’ II before they caught Wolfson on day two we were perhaps a little over confident going into day three. We felt that based on the previous day we would be able to bump Wolfson quickly and that Anglia Ruskin (ARU) two ahead would be able to hold off Wolfson as necessary.
This wasn’t quite the case. We had a scrappy start and held station with Wolfson for the first few hundred metres. However, they were rowing well and were already closing on ARU. We got our first whistle going into first post corner but at this point Wolfson were a canvas off ARU and looked good for a quick bump. We put in a jump call into the corner, which gave us some ground, but things still looked bad going into Grassy.
Rob took an excellent line around Grassy, judging perfectly how hard he could clip the bushes on the inside of the corner while Mike could carry on rowing! Wolfson took a wider line but on the exit of the corner they were feet away from ARU with us still half a length behind. Fortunately, we managed to pick the boatspeed up and we started to make ground quickly. We made contact with Wolfson on the entrance to Ditton (pictured) while they had overlap on ARU!
It had been a scrappy row and we had seriously underestimated Wolfson but we were lucky that ARU held on so doggedly and we had just enough time. The result was there though so we went into day four in the ideal postion, up three from three.
Day four: This was always going to be tough. We were chasing ARU, who we knew could row well under serious pressure from the previous day. They were chasing a Darwin boat, which we knew couldn’t row well under serious pressure.
We anticipated it would all be over by first post corner, whoever bumped who, so the plan was to hugely frontload the race. We had a really solid row down and were all hoping that Darwin could hold off ARU for long enough for us to get them.
We had a really good start, our best of the week, and got our first whistle almost immediately. We strode down and settled into our rhythm and were just moving towards two whistles when we started hearing a lot of whistles from ahead. We passed Darwin and ARU immediately after the motorway bridge and were left chasing the unlikely overbump on St. Edmund’s. As it transpired Darwin had crabbed and crashed under the bridge leaving ARU with the simplest of bumps... Before, we were moving onto two whistles on ARU who were the same distance off Darwin.
The row over was some of the best rowing we’ve done as a crew and despite how hard we had started we still managed to really pick the boat speed up and move away from Wolfson down the Reach.
It was a shame we weren’t afforded the opportunity of a proper race with ARU but we did our best rowing of the week on the last day. That is just the nature of bumps.
Finally, many thanks to those who coached us during term and to all the supporters who came to watch during the week.