First and Third Trinity Boat Club
Log In

The Club's Results

Mich Term 2022

1st men's novice VIII

Queens' Novice Ergo Competition (1st division)

^ top

Cambridge Winter Head (Student Beginner VIIIs)

5th in Category (UEA, Corpus, Pembroke, Downing)
Time: 11:06
  1. FaT NM1 completed the 2.5K course in 11:06. The split time for our first 1000 meters was comparable to our main competitors, that is Corpus, Pembroke, and Jesus; however, we were about half a minute slower than those three NM1 teams at the finish. Though we caught a few crabs, there were no significant incidents and we were able to recover from small mistakes during the race. It was an overall reasonable performance given that this is only the fourth time we rowed as a crew.
  1. The main purpose of this race was to expose our weaknesses in the situation of an actual race and identify ways to further improve in the next 2-3 weeks. It was shown that we should improve in the following areas: 1. synchronisation, 2. proper technique and form, 3. engaging core and balancing the boat.
  2. Synchronisation. The main reason that we were not able to put force into the water efficiently was that the rowers were not perfectly in time when catching, driving, finishing the stroke, and rolling-up. Instead of focusing on being in time, we were focusing too much on increasing rating. When asked for power, the rating typically increases instead of force on each drive. This means that the rowers were rushing through their strokes to catch up with others and not able to keep a proper form. Moreover, a high rating increased the chance of mistakes and left little time for us to catch up and correct mistakes. Hence, a call for more power or a mistake from one rower could start a vicious cycle. Indeed, during the race, there was a time when a call for more power was made and subsequently stern 4 and bow 4 were rowing alternatively for a few strokes due to a mistake/crab. As Bomber said, we were trying to run before learning how to walk. Bomber suggested that we should try some exercises in sixes to get the right feeling of pushing together as a crew at a calm and manageable rating.

  3. Proper technique and form. The main problem with technique was that most rowers were very tense in their shoulders, which led to a waste of energy. The reasons for this included (i) bad personal habits, (ii) eagerness to put more power down, and (iii) the fact that the blades (especially on stroke side) were skidding on the water and the resistance required a lot of force from arms and shoulders to push the blade forward during recovery. Another problem was that the finishes were not strong, either because the rowers were rushing through their strokes to catch up or because the rowers were not consciously focusing this. Thirdly, the rowers were distracted by things outside the boat. There were some audiences cheering near the railway bridge and we were seriously distracted by them for a few strokes. In the coming weeks, we should of course continue to nail down individual techniques and hopefully, with the help of improved synchronization and balance, we would be able to maintain good technique in challenging situations. Discipline and consciousness during the race should be emphasized and our focus should be impeccable during Emma Sprint since we no longer have the excuse of “racing for the first time”. Furthermore, I personally think that the coach and the cox should be constantly emphasizing and reminding the crew about techniques, matureness, and composure during the race, rather than simply asking for power. Multiple rowers had reported after the race that they still had strength left but they were struggling to apply the strength in their legs into the water. I don’t think that the rowers need any reminder to push hard, but it seems that we do need to be constantly reminded to have a clear and calm mind and keep very good forms.
  4. Engaging core and balancing the boat. The cores were collapsing occasionally during the race, especially during the recovery or roll-ups. As far as I can see and remember, there were 2 instances where the boat jolted from one side to another at front stop, which led to crabs. Furthermore, though there were quite a few strokes where the boat was balanced, most of the times the boat was down on stroke side. Rowers on stroke side reported pain in inside arm. This is because the blades on stroke side was skidding on water and there were a lot of resistance when feathering or squaring. Possible reasons include weak finishes, handle heights, lack of concentration or awareness, and center of gravity while sitting. The problem of balance has been bothering us since our first outing and there were multiple complaints throughout this week. We should get better at balance once we nail down the technique mentioned above, but perhaps rearranging seats would also be a good idea.

  5. Overall, we have visibly improved over the past few days and performed according to expectations. More importantly, we have identified the problems that we need to work on. There is room for massive improvements. We need to get our heads down and put the work in.
- not Thomas, but a currently anonymous member of the crew.
(Thomas Frith)
^ top

Emma Sprints (NM1 Division)

1st round
Lost to Emma NM1 by 1.5 lengths
we were panicky
so we lost to emma 1
fuck the start umpire
(Luke Barratt)

The first race of Emma Sprints was a lost againstEmmanuel boat club. We started slowly off the line. This was because the referee started the race before we were fully ready. This caused some confusions for the cox and the rowers at the back of the boat. According to coaches on the bank, we were about 1 boat length behind Emma after the slow start. During the course of the race, our rowing was poor and we caught some crabs. However, Emma did not significantly increase their advantage despite our poor performance and finished about 2 boat length ahead of us at the end of the race. Emma ended up finishing second overall.


There are three main problem regarding our rowing during the course of the race: 1) not catching in time, 2) missing the front, 3) rushing the recovery. These problems were pointed out by our coaches during debrief.


1) not catching in time. We were not rowing very well in time during our first race. Part of the reason was that at the start, not all of our crews were ready and it was very difficult for us to get back in time during the draw/wind/lengthen phase. Secondly, after rhythm was called, the crews were aware that we were behind and were panicked. We were trying to catch up by increasing the rate and ended up rowing at rate 35-36, which was not helpful for us to get back in time, or to keep a good form. This problem had been identified by the crew and coaches before the race and we tried hovering exercises during training to improve synchronization. However, we were not able to apply what we learned from hovering exercises to our first sprint race.


2) missing the front. It was pointed out by our coaches that at front stop, we were not putting the blades into the water. Instead, we began driving our legs before putting the blade in. As a result, we were not able to make use of the full length of our stroke and our rowing was very energy inefficient. Of course, panic, high rating, and a somewhat unbalanced boat were factors contributing to this problem. But it was also worth pointing out that technique could also be a factor contributing to “missing the front”. It has been noticed by our coach that many of our crew members tend to “sky the blade”, that is, push the blade upwards at front stop instead of downwards. In the next few outings, it has been suggested to the crew members that they should try to be aware of blade position at front stop and place the blade into the water while sliding up to front stop, not somewhere on the way back.


3) rushing the recovery. Again due to high rating and panic, most of the crew members were rowing at very low ratio and rushing the recovery. This was manifested in a few different behaviors. Some were intentionally pushing the blade quickly away from body after back stop; some were not clearing the knees, i.e. raising the knees up before body-over; others were using the shoes to pull themselves quickly into front stop position. The coaches, especially Neil and Luke, have provided many individual feedbacks to our crew members. In the next few outings, we would aim to improve our techniques and forms while rowing at low rate and rowing in 6.


Last but not the least, it should be pointed out that psychology also played a huge factor on our performance in the first race. We were fairly nervous during the race due to the occasion. After the bad start, it took both rowers and the cox a few strokes to recover mentally and refocus. During the race, we were perhaps too aware of our opposition. We were frantically trying to catch up and, as a result, the rate was too high, the rowing was not in time, and the forms were rubbishThis race should have taught us the lesson that we should focus on our own boat instead of our opponent. Though this point was emphasized by our coaches before the race, we still needed this loss to really nail the lessons into the wood of our heads.


In terms of panic, it seems that the real problem was a lack of confidence. Not confidence in strength, but confidence in the style of rowing. If we knew very well how to properly perform as a team, then when accidents, such as bad referee or crabs or being behind, happens, we should be able to recover to the ideal state of rowing. However,currently we don’t have that feeling of “proper rowing” in mind. As a result, when bad things happen, we were trying to solve the problem individually and in the wrong way (such as rushing the recovery or increasing the rate). The writer of this report thinks that perhaps the feeling of “proper rowing as a crew” is the key to our advance from novice to senior rower.

- Rossoneri (str)

- the publisher of this report does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed above, and they are purely the personal beliefs of the writer.

(Thomas Frith)
2nd round
Beat Churchill NM1 by 4 lengths
we started slowly
but more calm against churchill 
we won easily
(Luke Barratt)
The second race was against Churchill who lost against Lucy Cavendish in the first round. Our start was comparable to that of Churchill, which by our standard is relatively slow. We did not improve much in the first couple of strokes of the second race. The rate was still very high and we were still slightly panicky at the beginning. Then an up-one-down-one was called by our cox. It was suggested by Neil during the crew chat between two races that such a call should be made when we were not rowing properly and rushing strokes. The up-one-down-one call took an immediate effect and we pulled about one boat length away from Churchill. Then we rowed at the same speed at Churchill for a few strokes before another up-one-down-one call was made. Immediately after the call, we were pulling away again and quickly built up an advantage of more than 2 boat lengths about half way through the race. In the second half of the race, our lead simply increased gradually partially because Churchill kind of gave up and partially because we were rowing more relaxed with a comfortable lead. Though it is not really much of an achievement, we won the race with an advantage of at least 4 boat length.

-Rossoneri (str)
(Thomas Frith)
^ top

Clare Novice Regatta (Men's Cup)

1st round
Beat Magdalene NM1 easily

Due to James attending a wedding that day (apparently not his own, even though we insisted that the only wedding that's a valid excuse for not showing up to the race would be his wedding), we needed to find a sub. Thankfully, Arsen Miković kindly agreed to sub for the race and one outing, after not rowing for two weeks. Even though we'd never technically rowed together as a crew before the day of the race, we were hungry to perform better than the week before when we lost to Emma NM1 in the first round of Emma Sprints.

We started pretty even with Magdalene. We quickly got a lead and were about half a length ahead after a minute. Seeing their boat (in peripheral vision, my eyes were definitely in the boat) gave us more confidence. We could feel how we were pushing away from them with every stroke. By the railway bridge we were a full length ahead of them and after that it seemed like they lost any speed they had. Quickly, we heard calls from Luke and Kian to wind it down and finished the race with a nice, relaxed paddle, saving our energy for the next race.

(Igor Medvedev)
2nd round
Beat Pembroke NM1 easily

After beating Magdalene, we had to wait about an hour for our quarter final against Pembroke NM1. Our enthusiastic race start and imperfect technique in the first race meant that by that point we were already completely soaked. This wasn’t helpful for our warmth given the single digit November temperatures.

We got out of the boat and a number of us jogged to the Green Dragon where they kindly let us use their restroom. (Later, we heard that someone from NM2 just knocked on the door of the nearest house and said "I am representing Trinity College, can I use your restroom", and that it apparently worked. In any case, the jogging helped with staying warm). Others took advantage of the extra kit carried by our bank party to get dry. After some refuelling and hydrating we were on our way to the second race.

With added confidence from the previous win, we had an even better start this time, gaining almost a quarter length 2-3 strokes in. After about ten strokes Pembroke caught a nasty crab and couldn’t recover for a while, while we easily pushed away. Even before we made it to the railway bridge, Pembroke was so far behind that we heard calls to wind it down and focus on technical paddling until the end. I can’t remember exactly what happened after their crab, but either Pembroke’s rudder fell off, they crashed, or both. In any case this meant we got an easy win and could preserve energy for the semi-final.

(Igor Medvedev)
Semi finals
Beat Clare NM1 easily

By the time we finished the race with Pembroke, we’d been wet and cold for over an hour. It was getting harder to not freeze between races and with the encouragement of everyone in our bank party, we did some light exercise to warm up. Even with that I felt very cold and looked forward to getting back into the boat. We refuelled and discussed the previous two races in preparation for the semi final against Clare.

Our start against Clare was comparatively slower to our previous starts and the race kicked off with both boats being very even. This continued for about 30 seconds where nobody was getting a clear advantage. During this time, we focused on technical calls about lengthening the strokes, “one catch one finish”, getting in time, etc. This clearly helped since at some point something clicked and we started pulling ahead with each stroke. After a few strokes we were already a whole length ahead and this gave us the confidence to continue rowing steadily and evenly. By the railway bridge they were behind more than a couple of lengths. This time we continued pushing almost all the way to the finish, only winding down when it was obvious that the race was easily won. 

(Igor Medvedev)
Beat Trinity Hall NM1 after their DQ

By this point it was extremely hard to stay warm as we had been outside for a couple of hours. We had to change into dry kit, do jumping jacks, and run around to stay warm. Additionally Luke, Polly, and Thomas gave us all of their extra layers to wear, while they remained in t-shirts (thank you for keeping us warm!). Still, this didn’t seem enough for Arsen and me, as we were shivering even after a couple rounds of jumping jacks and some food (and, no, the two of us are not resistant to extreme cold - we are from Serbia, not Siberia). I was really looking forward for the next race to start - it was really exciting to be in the final, but more than anything I wanted to properly warm up.

Soon enough the race started, and Tit Hall had a slightly quicker start - they immediately got a quarter length ahead. In contrast with the previous races, this time our rowing felt much scrappier - it was probably a combination of feeling we were a bit behind and everyone being ready to empty their tanks for the day. In spite (or because) of this, we managed to not let Trinity Hall pull away any further, staying 1/4th of a length behind. At some point along the Reach all I could hear through the rowing was calls for Kian to keep the line as our blades got dangerously close to Trinity Hall’s. After a few near misses we clashed blades with them. This seemed to slow us down and they got to three quarters of a length ahead. Calls for power 10s came from Kian and the bank party as we appraoched the Railway bridge. By this time my forearms were seriously hurting and I felt like I was running out of energy. Dreading another race report by Rossoneri, I decided to completely ignore the pain in my forearms and push with everything I’ve got. Everyone seemed to be on the same page and we started gaining on Tit Hall again. The energetic rowing continued for a couple of strokes after the Railway bridge, when we unfortunately caught a crab. Even though we quickly recovered, the rowing didn’t feel the same afterwards. Perhaps we subconsciously gave up, but Tit Hall was consistently ahead after that and finished almost two lengths ahead of us.

On the paddle back to the boat house we were disappointed by what we thought was a loss and confused about what happened with the blade clash. Luckily, the umpires were fair and Tit Hall was disqualified for repeatedly failing to keep the racing line. 

Overall, we were very happy with how the Regatta went. We showed a big improvement from Emma Sprints and displayed some of our best rowing as a crew this term. The Clare Novices’ Regatta cup is back in the hands of FaT for the first time since 2016!

(Igor Medvedev)

“The race went horribly. I was horribly cold. I don’t remember half of it.“ - Anon.

(Thomas Frith)
^ top

Novice Fairbairn Cup (1st division)

^ top

Facebook Instagram Youtube LinkedIn
If you have any comments or suggestions please email the webmaster. Click here to switch between designs. If you log in as a First and Third member, you can set a preference for a color scheme on your profile.