On Saturday, RUMSBC face their biggest race of the year; UH Head.
UH Head is every UH rower's dream race to win. It's the goal we set our eyes on from the start of the season and this year, it is the race that determines which club wins the UH Cup. Currently we are in the lead with a 5 point gap between us and Georges. However this could all change over the course of the 3600m race and we don't just want to win by a point or two, we want all the other UH clubs to know exactly who is best.
This is it. This race is the race where you know for sure at the end that you couldn't have pushed any harder. This is the race that your hands have calloused for and your muscles have ached for. This is the race that will make us UH Champions.
If anything will make us push harder with our legs than we ever have before it will be the thought of the medals around our necks at the UH Dinner; after all, champagne tastes better with medals.
The men's firsts have never been rowing better or working harder. They have spent the past few weeks doing intense training in preparation for this weekend and let's hope that all that hard work pays off and that they can feel proud of their result. This is a crew that has put in the mileage and has a steely determination to prove themselves. Now is their chance.
Cox - Kit Hunter
Stroke - Will McCaughran
7 - Tom Morgan
6 - Tom Duggan
5 - Alex Cowan (C)
4 - Ali Williamson
3 - Aubrey Capern-Burgess
2 - Neel Raja
Bow - Adam Pickard
The women's firsts are determined not to have a repeat of last year where they lost by only 3 seconds. This year the women are bringing it. With a very powerful crew and a desire to show what they're made of, W1 are a force to be reckoned with. Let's hope they can take all the coaching and training and turn it into an impressive performance which will result in medals.
Cox - Hannah Hickingbotham
Stroke - Eimear McKavanagh
7 - Joy Schmidt (C)
6 - Caitlin Healy
5 - Claire Rowden
4 - Katie Westbrook
3 - Matilda Williams
2 - Daisy Newberry
Bow - Tintin Larsson
M2 have historically performed very well at UH Head (we won't count last year) and this year the men are looking to get that title back and enjoy their three course dinner and 1/2 bottle of wine with medals around their necks. This crew has been performing excellently over the past number of months with a victory at Winter Sprints and every intention to turn that win into the beginning of a winning streak.
Cox - Lucinda Conder
Stroke - Mike Foxall-Smith
7 - Sam Jackson (C)
6 - Abs Al-Kamil
5 - Rory Shadwell
4 - Jack Illingworth
3 - Luke Martin
2 - Tom Hughes
Bow - Fabian Uys
With a promising outing the week before UH Head, W2 are probably the most excited they've been for a race all year. A very fit crew with a competitive side, they know that they can do well this weekend and now have to go out and prove it. This is the race for W2 to prove that they are the best UH women's seconds crew and to show that head races are what RUMSBC is good at because we can push through the pain; when others give up, we become stronger.
Cox - Grace Navin
Stroke - Georgie Lloyd
7 - Laura Cousins (C)
6 - Izzy Goldrick
5 - Gloria Smith
4 - Livi Drewett
3 - Lucinda Conder
2 - Jenny Budden
Bow - Meg Hollands
If I was a novice men's crew member from another UH club, I'd be scared. This crew have proven again and again that they are the fittest and best novice team of UH and this is simply another platform for them to do it again. You wouldn't be able to find a fitter men's novice team with the boys training hard on and off the water including a training camp at the boathouse a few weeks before the race. This is their time to shine. Our boys are ready to go for gold.
Cox - Julia Negreskul
Stroke - Jack Maddicks
7 - Callum Field
6 - Connor Price
5 - Jamie Glenister
4 - Robert Wescott
3 - Ben Schapira
2 - Martin Furlepa
Bow - Jack Merrit
The women's novices have been training hard for UH Head with a training camp at the boat house and plenty of land training to boot. A strong crew looking for a win, this could be the race where our novice women take the lead and party the night away with medals around their necks. A determined crew looking to prove themselves, RUMSBC are ready to row.
Cox - Greg Gibson
Stroke - Elizabeth Sinclair
7 - Nadia Eden
6 - Kate Ryan
5 - Beth Jones
4 - Tahlia Spink
3 - Rebecca Boys
2 - Ellen Macpherson
Bow - Claire Shadwell
Start order for the race can be accessed here: http://www.uhboatclub.co.uk/draw_15.html
Anyone interested in cheering on, come to Kew Bridge where you should expect to see big pushes for the last part of the race!
So let's carb load and sleep well! We got this. #timetogetpumped
And then a personal favourite of mine:
MIDDLE MIDDLE MIDDLE!!!
In the depths of winter, when most clubs opt for the sunnier climbs of southern Europe or hide away at altitude, RUMSBC buck this trend and head for the internationally renowned waters of Marlow. With their captain missing in action (delayed by ‘clinics’) the rest of the squad departed from Paddington, laden with as much warm kit as they could carry. If the Friday evening rugby result (21-16 to England for those who missed it) was anything to go by, it was going to be a good weekend.
Entering into what Aubrey Capern-Burgess later described as ‘Cowan’s happy place’. Training began at first light on Saturday. What followed was as much on water time as could be physically fitted into a weekend. Taking full advantage of the glass flat non-tidal Thames, many miles were put in. Both crews came off the water after each outing tired but happy with the changes that were being made. There were laughs, there were tears (who doesn’t when a 6am alarm goes off) and there were stretching sessions where the majority of the squad found out just how painful it is to roll out an often ignored illiotibial band.
Gainz were made.
Cowan’s Commendation for the weekend goes to:
Pontoons - Because wading knee deep into the Thames in February just isn’t that much fun.
Special Thanks to:
Alan Sinclair and Henry Fieldman for their sage advice and wisdom over the weekend. Helping to craft a new and improved RUMSBC.
- Alex Cowan - Men's Captain
The women's firsts are a tough bunch and the cold chill of February isn't enough to stop us from training, especially with the biggest race of the year, UH Head looming ever closer. Bags splitting at the seams with warm layers, mountains of food and in the case of Kate, a duvet, we took off from Paddington in search of the calm waters of Marlow.
This is the first year that training tour has happened since 2012 and so not many of the women's crew had ever been to Marlow or experienced a weekend where all you do is eat, sleep, row, repeat. However we rose to the challenge and were all raring to go to see how much of an improvement we could make over the weekend.
With plenty of photo opportunities to accompany the rowing on beautiful flat water and the sun shining come the afternoon, it was a fantastic weekend to be a rower. A nice escape from the Tideway and a great way to fall back in love with rowing; it was also a good time for team bonding with W1 yoga sessions between outings and carb loading meals at the local restaurants.
Stellar coaching by Alan Sinclair and Henry Fieldman helped us make huge improvements to our rowing and we can't thank them enough for the effort they've put in in helping make us better rowers. Post training tour, W1 are looking forward to UH Head and showing off what we can do.
Special thanks goes to Tom Hughes and the other men for shovelling off all the geese excrement from the pontoon before our outings.
Middle Middle Middle.
- Eimear McKavanagh - W1 rower
On Friday 8th of February, all of the senior squads from the club went to Marlow for training camp. Despite Fabian somehow managing to forget to turn up to Marlow on the Friday evening, we were all present and correct for a focused weekend of rowing on a lovely flat piece of river, a welcome treat after years on the uncompromising tideway. We had Charlie coxing us for the first day, and having spent time with us in the boat before, he was well placed to get the most out of us. The calm water and strong maintenance of focus from the whole crew resulted in some of our best rowing to date. The second day was equally successful, with all eight of the crew coming out of the weekend feeling that it had been incredibly worthwhile. Training camp has set us up very well for UH Head, which is fast approaching and we are now training harder than ever. Middle middle middle.
- Sam Jackson - M2 Captain
The weekend was off to a shaky start for W2 after getting lost on the way back from a rather turbulent first outing. But determined to improve in all areas - including navigation - we kept at it, and by Sunday had a great 'hench' battle paddle which helped us to take on the firsts for some friendly leapfrogging! Big well done of the weekend goes to Grace who coxed us so brilliantly despite it being her second ever outing at the beginning of the weekend...like a duck to water! Also special mention to Georgie who, despite having a full-blown asthma attack in the 5th outing was determined to come back fighting for the last one. What a trooper! Well done to all of W2 for a highly successful weekend, keep at it girls!
- Laura Cousins - W2 Captain
On Saturday 31st of January our men decided to brave the freezing cold temperatures and start Head Season with a bang at Quintin Head. The 4600m race was a new experience for most of the club, however our men like a challenge and so decided to test their fitness and skill in the longest race of the year so far.
Having not entered a crew into Quintin head for a number of years. No one really knew what to expect from the race, but as a head season leg loosener, the opportunity to get some racing in was not to be missed. The Men’s 1st VIII boated a mere 10 places higher than the 2nds and expectations were high. After a chilly hour and a half of marshalling and a long game of let’s see how many numbers can be knocked from the Empacher slots, the race was on!
Blasting past the first crew (of women….), we settled into a good rhythm early, only to have this somewhat disrupted by the chop as the wind picked up between the bridges. Closing in on a second crew, which had a Kit Hunter ‘Five boat lengths’ advantage (who really knows what distance this is?), big pushes were put in from all 8 to try and close the gap. Thanks to some excellent calls through the middle half of the race from the coxswain, the crew pulled back together after a shaky middle 3rd and finished strong.
Finishing 3rd in the category and a bit off the pace of a strong St Georges VIII shows there is still a bit of work to be done. But nothing that a training camp can’t sort out. Onwards and upwards to Marlow! Overall, a good race and a pleased captain.
Welcome to head season!!!
Men's Captain - Alex Cowan
With the success of Winter Sprints behind us, it was time for the Men’s Second VIII to focus on the head season. Quintin Head marked the start of this season, and with the race starting from just outside the boat house, there was every reason to participate. With Tom Duggan’s absence, the crew welcomed back Charlie Hensher, returning to his beloved six seat and Abs Al-Kamil moved up to the stroke seat. The race was also the first for our new cox, Lucinda Conder, a five-time veteran of rowing Quintin Head.
Despite almost missing the race; an equipment failure almost delaying our appearance on the start line to the point where we couldn’t race, we were soon waiting at the side of the river for our turn to race. For about forty minutes, we moved slowly up the bank, battling both hypothermia and a horde of boats seemingly determined to crash into us, until we were at the start line. Relieved to be rowing and warming up, we set off and set a nice rhythm over the starting line.
From the get-go, the following crew were in our eyeline and provided a boat to push off of. Helped by an immaculate line from the ever-motivational Lucinda, we held off the chasing crew for half of the race and never let them get too far ahead of us. Knowing the course fairly well, we were able to gauge when to make our final push, and wound the boat speed up in the final minutes, finishing with a very respectful time of 14:22, placing us 6th out of the 15 crews in our category. Everyone was pleased with the effort put in and despite there being improvements to make, it was a very determined first race of the season.
Men's Seconds Captain - Sam Jackson
Cox - Kit Hunter
Stroke - Will McCaughran
7 - Tom Morgan
6 - Neel Raja
5 - Alex Cowan (C)
4 - Ali Williamson
3 - Aubrey Capern-Burgess
2 - Mike Foxall-Smith
Bow- Adam Pickard
Cox – Lucinda Conder
Stroke – Abs Al-Kamil
7 – Sam Jackson (C)
6 – Charlie Hensher
5 – Fabian Uys
4 – Jack Illingworth
3 – Luke Martin
2 – Tom Hughes
Bow – Rory Shadwell
On the cold wet morning of the 25th of January, RUMSBC tried to remove the last remaining bit of Tour from our systems by taking to the Tideway once again to show what we are made off and take on the other UH crews in the last sprint race of the season; Winter Sprints.
With limited training due to busy schedules and really rather miserable weather on the day; it literally was going to be survival of the fittest.
The heroes of the day were the Men's Seconds and Men's Novices who were able to win their categories and keep RUMSBC in top position of the UH cup.
A call for a pre-race outing initially seemed like a stroke of genius from captain Alex Cowan, as M1 pulled off 5 of the best sprint pieces we'd done all season and we went into the first race against Barts with our confidence high. Unfortunately footplate issues left us unable to capitalise on a solid start, as Barts pulled ahead when we were forced to row without 5 or 6 seat. This spell of misfortune proved to be a big scare, and one that was too much for us to overcome. By the time our repechage race came around, we had psyched ourselves out, eventually producing a nervy display which ended in us losing to the Vets by less than a length. All in all, a day to forget for M1, but we look forward to the Head season, where our proficiency in land training gives us high hopes of winning medals.
Aubrey Capern-Burgess - M1 rower
Overall winter sprints was a good (if chilly) day for the women's squad. We may not have brought home the medals this time but with outings before and a strong effort from both crews in the races themselves it was a worthwhile day of training nonetheless!
W2 were up first against George's and after a slight wobble at the start they settled into a good pace and only narrowly lost out by a canvas. Excellent effort by all the girls and Greg for coxing his first sprint race!
W1 were also up against George's for their first race. After a strong start there came some confusion with the two boats getting a little too close to each other for comfort! This led to a slight mishap in the middle of the race, but W1 cox Hannah did such an excellent job at keeping calm and keeping us focused that we gained on George's all the way to the end, finishing less than half a length behind. Had the course been a little longer the win would have been in sight! W1 went on to have a further race in the repechage against RVC; which, after a well fought out start we went on to win by plenty of clear water.
Overall a great day which left us all excited to get into training for the next big race of the year and next chance at medals - UH Head!
Joy Schmidt - W1 Captain
After a very successful first term of rowing, the RUMS Men’s second VIII were eager to show that they were still the crew to beat in UH events. The crew welcomes in Tom Duggan, Tom Hughes, Jack Illingworth and Fabian Uys, as well as our cox, Julia Negreskul, entering her first ever RUMS race. Despite having only three outings as a set crew before the weekend, the boat was moving nicely and we were excited at the prospect of proving our dominance over the other UH crews. After some last minute repairs on the boat, we took to the water to face King’s College London. A strong start saw the RUMS boys take an early lead and we were soon half a length up. The pressure told, with King’s catching a crab and RUMS extending their lead to two boat lengths. Julia quickly used this lead to claim the fastest part of the stream and it was always going to be too much for King’s to come back into contention. Due to the tight timetable, we were soon back on the river to race the final against St. George’s. Another strong start saw us claim an early advantage and when Julia called for a big push, St. George’s were unable to respond and we moved a length up. A strong rhythm set by Tom Duggan made sure that the gap was maintained and a very determined effort by the entire crew ensured that we were crowned winners of UH Winter sprints. It was an incredibly rewarding win for all involved, especially seeing as none of us had ever won a UH event before. A massive congratulations to the whole crew, everyone gave it their all and the win was fully deserved.
Sam Jackson - M2 Captain
There was a strong sense of rivalry in the W2 camp on Sunday morning as we prepared for our first race against our main rival George's, who pipped us to the post at the last sprint race by a mere canvas. As we readied ourselves on the start line, you could feel the tension and anticipation in the air...and then we were off!! After a slightly shaky start from a strange choice of alignment we were off and leading, just like last time, by halfway. However, despite some brilliant rowing it wasn't quite enough, as George's overtook at the end, and beat us by a canvas again! They went on to win the competition so a big well done to George's, but they had better watch out for UH head!!! Special mention goes to our fantastic cox Greg, who absolutely smashed his first ever race. We'll get them next time girls!!
Laura Cousins - W2 Captain
Having not raced in over two months, and having not rowed over the Chirstmas period nerves for the UH sprints were running high. After all that Christmas turkey we didn’t quite know what the result would be, however we trained hard in the first two weeks of term, and managed to pull it off. Due to there only being three boats in the race, we were entered into a draw to see who would automatically get to the final, and the result saw George’s sail straight in to the final heat. This meant our first race was against the Vets. With tension running high due to the re-race at the Allom cup, we had to prove that we were the stronger team, and that we could beat them with no questions asked. We successfully managed this by respectfully giving Beth their number 4, and winning by half a boat length.
So in to the final. Racing a team we were yet to beat. The excitement was high as we got the Dilworth ready to row one last time. Out on the starting line we knew it was now or never to prove that we were the best UH Novice Boys Team, and that’s exactly what we did. Not only did Beth get to their number four, by the end of the race she easily had a boat length of clear water. To continue the tradition from the Allom Cup, we paddled back with “Shake It Off” on good old radio Dilworth. It was a great day, and are appreciation goes out to Beth, for all her support and encouragement, to Simon, for all the training he does with us, and finally for Captain McLay, who has helped us achieve two medals in four months of medical school. Without this great team behind us none of this would have been possible!
Rob Wescott - MN rower
The first sunday after tour it was safe to say none of us were feeling top of our game... but mild mental scarring, liver cirrhosis and respiratory trauma aside, it was exciting to be back racing! With ICSM out of the running due to their own 'crazy' tour antics there were only 3 other teams and we were up against GKT in our first race. It was a shaky start with what could be described as 'not the best' timing, but Kings caught a crab giving us time to settle into a steady rhythm and then we were flying to a strong finish with a decent amount of clear water. Through to the final we faced our nemesis RVC, who we were desperate to beat after losing to them at Novice sprints (and amusingly almost ejecting their cox from their boat). It was a better start than the first but after some messy blade clashing we fell behind and sadly couldn't pull it back to victory. Despite earlier threats, at least Tom Hughes generously decided that it would not be necessary to re-initiate us.
The novice girls are now more desperate than ever to get some medals, bring on UH head!
Tahlia Spink - WN rower
Sprints are now behind us and UH Head is in sight. With training camp happening this weekend and only a few weeks to go until the big day now is the time things get serious.
All erg playlists are set to 'hardcore rap'. Training is being stepped up. Circuits is full to bursting with sweaty rowers. People are even doing burpees for the entire minute. There is steely determination in the eyes of all and an eagerness to prove once and for all that we are the best UH team on the Tideway.
RUMSBC are getting ready.
4 weeks to go.