Trinity College Annual Record 2002

Account of the year by John Earl, Captain 2001 - 2002

Recently, a sequence of two Lent headships in three years had led the Club to an undue focus on the Lent Bumps, somewhat at the expense of performance in the May races. This came to a head last year, when all the Club?s top crews fell heavily in the Mays. It was with these unpleasant experiences behind us that we set out to reverse our losses, by increasing the professionalism and quality of our training and coaching programmes, and building on the enthusiasm still extant from the success of last year?s novices.

Michaelmas term began with a somewhat small senior squads of fifteen men and nine women. This was the predictable result of an unusually large group of Trinity men and women competing for places in University crews: S. Richards and S. Knight for CUBC; S. Case (President), J. Grundy, T. Rose, N. Talbott, and J. Earl for CULRC; A. Lee and S. Taylor for CUWBC. Some questioned the transition to a rationalised training programme (produced by our new Head Coach and boatman I. Law) which reduced the number of training sessions in favour of finding more quality in the remainder, as it seemed too light at first. This, together with poor early results at the Bedford Fours and the Autumn Fours Head, and organisational trouble at a training weekend on the Tideway in mid-October, led to declining morale. However, positive results in the University Fours in November were most encouraging. The Men?s Coxed IV lost by only three seconds to the eventual winners (Christ?s), the Light IV made the final of their event, the Men?s 2nd Coxed IV made the semi-final to lose (again by three seconds) to the eventual winners, Christs II, and the women?s first IV beat Magdalene resoundingly before losing to a very strong Peterhouse crew. Things got even better from there, with respectable performances at the Head of the River Fours in London (despite illness requiring a crew change), and in Fairbairns, where the men?s eight placed third of the college eights, behind Downing and Emmanuel and equal with LMBC. The 2nd eight, despite insufficient preparation, placed sixth of college 2nd eights. The women?s eight were disappointed to place 21st.

Of course, for a Club which derives its strength in large part from the efforts of those who learn to row at Trinity, the most important part of Michaelmas Term is the development of the novice squad, and building club spirit is often more important than the seniors' results. Given last year?s success, this year?s Captains of Lower Boats had a hard act to follow, but their squads managed both strong results and team spirit! The women?s novices continued their string of good performances, with both the 1st and 2nd women?s novices making the semi-finals of the Clare Novice Regatta, and the 1st women?s novice eight placing 5th in Fairbairns. The 1st men?s novices never reached their potential, due in part to equipment failures, but still placed a respectable 6th in Novice Fairbairns; while the 2nd men?s novices did well to make the quarter finals of the Clare Novice Cup event, beating Wolfson?s 1st novice eight in the process.

Lent term saw the men?s Club enthusiastic; strong fitness testing results at the end of Michaelmas term had proved the effectiveness of the new training programme, while the Fairbairns result proved how the squad?s rowing had improved over the term with quality coaching. The women were also looking forward to good results; S. Painter, taking over as captain from T. Rose, intended to introduce to the ladies? club the same training programme that the men had so far used with such success. However, apart from some unusually good results in the Newnham Short Course and the Pembroke Regatta from the 2nd women?s eight, and an unprecedented win for the Boat Club in Cuppers Go-Karting, the Club?s results in the run-up to the Lent races were disappointing. In the Lent Bumps, the men?s 1st eight fell to fast Caius and LMBC crews before rowing over comfortably in front of Christ?s; an aggressive row on the last day saw them bump Emmanuel just before the railings, turning the week around to finish a very respectable 3rd. The 2nd eight bumped King?s and Peterhouse 1st eights to rise two places and finish 6th in the 2nd division. The 1st ladies suffered from the repeated re-rows in the 1st women?s division, and despite bumping Churchill on the 2nd day, fell one place overall to finish 15th. The 2nd ladies successfully rowed the Getting on Race to regain their place in the Lents after a space of several years, and bumped twice to finish 15th in the 3rd division. The term concluded with the Head of the River Race in London; sadly a time penalty while marshalling and the absence of two of the Lent eight saw the crew finish 196th, the lowest in several years and a somewhat disappointing result.

All year we had looked forward to May term, both for the return of our many University triallists to strengthen the squads, and for an opportunity to prove that the new training regime had really worked. Indeed, we had one Goldie, one CULRC, two Granta, one CUW Lightweight, and one Blondie colour, plus several spares, returning. Organised training began early, with an expedition to Dublin for 25 oarsmen and women to train on Blessington Lake and race at Trinity College Dublin?s regatta on the Liffey. This was financed in large part by the generous benefaction of the College?s Major Knights Fund. Early promising results included two different men?s pairs reaching the finals of both the Foster Fairbairn Trial Pairs and the Magdalene Silver Pairs. The continuation of CULRC and CUBC training programmes into May Term meant that the 1st men trained only part-time, but the 2nd men repeatedly proved themselves the fastest college 2nd eight at regional regattas: they won Cambridge 99s 2nd division, and a four from the crew won novice fours at Peterborough. The 1st women did well too, winning several rounds at Bedford in both college and novice events. In the Bumps, injury problems and limited training time weakened what should otherwise have been a strong 1st men?s eight who, despite bumping Christ?s incredibly quickly on day two, were unlucky to miss Robinson after achieving overlap on day three before falling again on the last day to finish level at 9th. The 2nd men?s eight proved themselves again and won blades; the 3rd men outclassed their opposition and were unlucky to rise only three places. The 1st ladies, however, were unfortunately bumped back on the second day by a Magdalene crew they had hit at the railings on day one, but finished on a positive note by bumping Robinson. The lower boats were less successful, perhaps reflecting the impact of exam pressure on training time, with the advent of tuition fees. Sadly, our entry in the Britannia Cup at Henley Royal Regatta was forced to scratch due to injury and illness.

The new professionalism of training and coaching introduced this year has worked - evidenced by the success of the 1st and 2nd Lent and 2nd and 3rd May crews, who benefited most from it. Thus strengthened, the Club wishes A. Fisher (Club Captain) and A. Lee (Ladies? Captain) the best of luck and success in racing next year.

Index of all Annual Records

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