Trinity College Annual Record 2004

Account of the year by Dan Holland, Captain 2003 - 2004

The year did not start well for the club. Several regrettable accidents occurred involving our boats. The worst of these lead to the demise of Mary Gwyneth, the coxless IV that had served the club well for the last 20 years. Prior to this, preparations had been going well and we were shaping up to field strong crews in the coxless and 1st and 2nd coxed IVs categories. However, thanks to some good work from our boat man, Iain Law, a replacement coxless IV was hired from Aylings. With plans back on track we sent the Coxless and 1st coxed IVs down to the Tideway for the Head of the River IVs. This proved good experience for the crews, with the Coxless IV putting in a very respectable performance holding off a Goldie IV for the first 3 min of the race to finish in 191st place, ahead of the nearest Cambridge college, even accounting for the lack of cox. The University IVs saw some mixed results with the Coxless IV picking up a branch on their rudder coming out of First Post Corner thus losing to LMBC. The 1st coxed IV also had a disappointing set of races losing in the 2nd round. However the 2nd coxed IV put in a very good time winning the 2nd coxed IVs event in a time only 2 seconds slower than the 1st coxed IVs winners.

Shortly after the conclusion of the University IVs competition we held a ceremony to name our recently acquired coxed IV. The boat was due to be named "The Prince of Wales" in honour of HRH Prince Charles, who was a member of college during his time at Cambridge. Thanks to the efforts of the President of First and Third, Peter Brandt, Prince Charles himself took time out of a busy day spent in Cambridge to name the boat, After the naming ceremony itself, the Prince spent a significant time introducing himself to the members of the Club. We hope that the IV serves the club well in future years.

Despite the early successes, several oarsmen pulled out of the squad for the rest of Michaelmas term leaving the Fairbairn VIII selected by default. However those who continued rowing trained hard and as a result improved markedly during the 4 weeks training together. The crew performed very well in the race itself, finishing as the 3rd college crew. The crew then split up to race in the IVs event, with stern IV putting in a particularly strong performance to finish 4th. We also entered 3 gents VIIIs in the race, one of whom took out the 2nd VIIIs category. Black Prince Boat Club, consisting of ex-First and Third oarsmen, put in another superb performance in this event winning the invitational VIIIs and IVs in both the men's and women's categories.

The women's club was unfortunately short of oarswomen in this Michaelmas term. However, those women who were rowing for the club were committed and performed well. They finished 5th in the Autumn Head, 1st and 2nd in the two categories raced in the Winter Head. They capped this off with a 4th place finish in the Fairbairn IVs. Overall this was a very encouraging start for the women, particularly the continued improvement demonstrated over the term.

As ever, the heart of Michaelmas term lay with our novice training. This year saw an incredible performance from the women's novices, clearly outclassing all of their opposition in the Queens erg competition to win in a time 35s quicker than their nearest rivals and about 24s quicker than the winning time for the previous two years. The 1st women's novice VIII went on finish 2nd Novice crew in the Winter Head, to reach the semi finals of the Clare Novices and win the Novice Fairbairns. The 2nd novice women won the plate competition of the Clare Novices and finished 2nd of 2nd VIIIs in Novice Fairbairns. The men's novice squad could not quite match this achievement but put in some good performances to finish 11th and 16th in the Novice Fairbairns. However, a pleasingly large number of the 1st novice men's VIII and a few of the novice women agreed to remain in Cambridge for a week after the end of term to continue rowing. This proved highly successful and was enjoyed by all.

Lent term saw the 1st men's VIII sitting in 2nd place on the river and as ever aiming to topple Caius who have established themselves as the dominant force on the Cam over the last few years. Despite some good race results throughout the term, for example finishing 2nd in S3 VIIIs at the Head of the Nene, this proved beyond the crew. They did, however, do well holding off the chasing Downing crew, who only really troubled them on the Friday. The races turned out to be more disappointing for the 2nd VIII who finished down 1 for the week. The women had a much more successful term. Through the integration of the very confident and powerful novice squad the 1st VIII finished 6th in the Head to Head and went up 1 in bumps. The strength and depth of the squad was further emphasised by the performance of the 2nd women's VIII who won blades in the Lent bumps. A mixed crew from the 1st and 2nd women's VIIIs went on to race at the women's Head of the River on the Tideway. They truly outperformed themselves there finishing 115th overall and 8th of the Cambridge colleges. Given the inexperience of the crew, this is an exceptional performance for a national level event. The men also entered the Head of the River, but extreme weather conditions led to the race being cancelled.

Meanwhile, we had several oarsmen and women off training with the University squads. CULRC had Alex Summers (Hon. Sec., Half-Blue) and Graham Sills (Granta), CUW had Sarah Cochrane (Lightweight President, Half-Blue), Alla Doubrovina (Blondie) and Alex Lee and CUBC had Jonathon Davies (Goldie). However, this was a disappointing year for the university squads with only the men's Blue Boat winning their race against Oxford. Jonathon Davies and Alex Summers were also involved in the Great Britain Under 23 squad trials. Unfortunately, Alex Summers was forced out due to a shoulder injury, and Jonathon narrowly missed out on a place in the later trials.

In order to bring the squad together early a training camp was held in Cornwall over the Easter break. This was very enjoyable and many thanks go out to Richard Church and Castledore Rowing Club for their help in organising the week. The main focus of the training camp was small boats work in preparation for the small boats regatta at the start of May term. Two crews were entered in the Foster-Fairbairn Pairs, who lost to the eventual winners in the semi-final and final respectively. We also entered a crew in the Lowe Double Sculls, who, again, lost to the eventual winner but did give the winning crew their closest race of the competition. Several intrepid novice scullers raced the Maiden Sculls, in which Andrew Lea-Cox won the men's event.

As ever, the highlight of the year was the May Bumps and with a number of both men's and women's university squad rowers returning, the Club was looking to field some excellent crews. However, owing to a number of injuries, the Men's 1st VIII struggled to find consistent form. The crew put in some good times at Bedford Amateur regatta, but came away without a victory in either S2 or S3. In the Cambridge 99s regatta the crew lost to a very strong Churchill VIII in the first round, though they went on to win the plate competition comfortably. Frustratingly, just before the May Bumps, Jonathon Davies was forced out due to another GB trial on the Friday of the races. Although we had a good substitute in Ed Peacock, a Granta colour from the previous year, the crew did not gel as well without Jonathon. This led to a disappointing result on the first day when we failed to make any impression on LMBC, which got worse on the second day when we were bumped by Queens. Jonathon finished his GB trial by mid afternoon on the Friday of bumps and consequently returned to the crew to row with us in the evening. This addition boosted the confidence of the crew sufficiently to reverse the result of the previous day, bumping Queens back around the railings. The final day saw us close on LMBC, who closed on Robinson, who closed on Downing. Unfortunately, the LMBC hit Robinson under the Railway Bridge just as we achieved overlap on them. This left us with no room to pass and thus we were awarded a technical rower over. Despite ultimately performing below expectation this was the fastest May VIII the Club has put out in recent years.

The men's 2nd May VIII consistently impressed this year. Although initially a very unsteady and decidedly slow crew, through committed training and reliable coaching, they came together very well. They finished runners-up in Cambridge 99.s Regatta, losing to Girton in the final, and gave the 1st VIII some scares during training. The Bumps proved very successful for the crew, who finished as the 2nd highest 2nd VIII, and 2nd in the 2nd division.

The women's 1st VIII were also looking to be very strong given the performances throughout the year. In the Head of the Cam they were the fastest crew in their category, and in the Head to Head they finished 3rd of all the college crews. They narrowly lost to Darwin in the 99.s Regatta after a gate came open during the race. They went on to race the plate competition in which they pushed Pembroke College hard but could not manage a win. They went on to finish up 2 in Bumps and Head of the 2nd division. An excellent performance and some very gutsy performances, saw them row over 4 times during the week in addition to their 2 bumps.

The women's lower boats again performed outstandingly with the 2nd VIII winning blades, including an overbump on the Vets School on day 2. A change in the rules saw the 6th Men's division split into two allowing an extra half division of women's crews to reflect the change in the number of women rowers in recent years. This rule meant that the 3rd women's VIII did not need to row on. They also had a very successful Bumps and only a slow Robinson II crew denied them their blades, finishing the week up three. The men's club only fielded 4 lower boats and therefore with no 7th VIII all had permanent places on the river. Overall they had a disappointing bumps week, with only the 5th boat going up.

The Club would like to wish Andrew Lea-Cox (Club Captain), Alex Lee (Ladies. Captain), Mark Sankey (Secretary), Alla Doubrovina (CUW Hon. Secretary) and Alex Summers (CULRC President) the best of luck for the next year.

Index of all Annual Records

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