Competing in BUCS, as part of the Development Squad, has to be one of the highlights of my year. Training in Ely with women from other colleges was a great experience, and the coaching we received helped us to improve our technique, and ultimately gave us the confidence to go out and win against other novice university boats. The atmosphere at the regatta was unlike any I had experienced in races on the Cam – there were just so many boats! We went out, unsure as to how we would fare, and had a really fun and successful day. The weekly ergs leading up to the regatta, and the day itself, also gave me the boost in confidence needed to show me that the development squad would be both a successful and rewarding experience, even with the short time I had been rowing.
Tricia Smith, Triallist 2015
While learning to row last year, I certainly didn’t imagine that I would find myself racing with Cambridge Blue blades in the 2014 Henley Women’s Regatta. Through joining the Development Squad, I was given the chance to row in a crew racing in the Academic Coxed Fours category. Each member of our crew came from a different college, each with a different experience level and rowing style. However, over the course of a few weeks, we managed to come together as a unit. The training provided us with wonderful individual technical feedback and created an environment in which we could challenge ourselves as athletes and as a crew.
For most of us, Henley was the biggest stage on which we had ever competed, and it was a thrilling experience to race in the same competition as top British and international teams. On the Friday, we had a very solid race in the time trial, which boosted our confidence in our unity and power. After qualifying, we faced King’s College London in the first round, and had another strong race, beating them by three lengths. The next morning, we lost to Liverpool in the quarter-finals, but were still pleased with our efforts and happy to have finished amongst the top eight crews.
Rowing at Henley was a wonderful opportunity to compete at a new level of the sport, and I am incredibly thankful to the coaches and my crew for making it such a profoundly rewarding experience. I was also very impressed with the camaraderie amongst the CUWBC community – even though we were new to the group, we felt very supported and included. Henley was certainly one of the highlights of my rowing career so far and was a fantastic way to start the Development Squad season.
Kate Bruce-Lockhart, Development Squad 2014
As a third year student going into my fourth and final year, I signed up to the CUWBC Summer Development Squad on a whim. It was the last year I could try it and after three years of college rowing, I felt it was something I shouldn’t miss. I was right. It gave me the opportunity to work with an amazing coaching team and meet so many new people, many of whom have gone on to become some of my closest friends. It gives you the opportunity to try out the training load without any lectures or work and you will be surprised at how much you can improve in four weeks of concentrating solely on rowing. For me, meeting members of the current squad, experiencing off Cam racing and seeing the improvements I could make in such a short space of time, gave me the inspiration and motivation to trial this year. Everyone taking part took different experiences from the programme but I’m sure that they will all agree that it was four weeks of sunny weather, incredible people and an experience they would love to go back and do all over again.
Daisy Gomersall, Triallist 2015