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Newnham Short Course 2016

Saturday 30th January

Previous event: Cambridge Winter Head to Head - Following event: Pembroke Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Fred Benham‑Crosswell, 2: Matt Simpson, 3: Stephen Kindness, 4: Ben Evans, 5: Ollie Russell, 6: Riccardo Conci, 7: Callum McKenzie, Stroke: Jon Swain, Cox: Basma Khogeer

7th of 12 M1 crews in a time of 7:18

Jon Swain reports:


Riccardo Conci reports:

M1 apologises for the lateness in writing the race report.

We met at 11 and started our warm up a few minutes later. We weren’t worried about the race - this was a chance to improve, not so much win. However, I felt a tinge of excitement at the prospect of rowing, especially as the Thursday coming up to the race we were starting to find something special.

As we set off, spirits were high, and the weather reflected it magnificently. It was cold. The sun was shining. Even the wind seemed just a breeze. Probably because we weren’t going against it.

We continued plodding along to the first lock and over.

By this time the race was getting closer and we still hadn’t found that beautiful sensation of effortless speed. Or, worse than that, basic balance. Frustration was starting to creep in. Frustration that we knew we could do better and often we just were not accurate or together to really make the boat fly.

We stopped and convened just outside a lovely pub next to the bank.

This was the moment of pre-race superstitions. Some (aka Steve) stuffing their faces with biscuits because - god knows why. We closed in as a group and started talking. We knew things weren’t going right. This was our chance to start afresh with better training, better concentration.

We were the first crew of our division. It felt special, although we were the harbingers of pain to the rest of the crews.

After a rolling start we settled relatively comfortably. It was not a pretty sight by any means, but we were moving along. At least we thought we were moving until we turned to the reach and all hell broke loose. Whilst trying not to loose our form, the wind was forcibly restraining our blades from reaching their natural habitat, the water.

The race finished. Callum had his post exercise coughing fit.

He probably thought he could get away from doing the core exercises which I then showed them; our first step towards a new attitude to training.

Uploaded Sunday 7th February, 11:02


1st Women's VIII

Bow: Charlotte McGarry, 2: Ada Krzak, 3: Rosie Boxall, 4: Robyn Hamer, 5: Edith Ross, 6: Anna Peel, 7: Anna O'Brien, Stroke: Lydia Price, Cox: Julia Kelsoe

2nd of 15 W1 crews in a time of 8:21

Ada Krzak reports:


Julia baked glazed orange race cake. The race cake was good.

Also we rowed. The wind was not helpful.

After a solid row up aided by the wind and not too much waiting time, we were focused and ready to go. We opted for a standing start. ATTENTION. GO! After 3 strong draws and 5 good winds, the boat got a bit wobbly and the rate dropped more than it was supposed to. We recovered that with a good build before first post corner. By the time we reached grassy the crew was again strong and in time. We build in to grassy and pushed out of grassy. Piece of cake. We forgot all about the wind. On plough reach our amazing bank party thought it helpful to remind us about it. Thanks to that we were prepared for it when it hit us with full power around Ditton corner. Nightmare. Since then we fought for every single stroke. About halfway through the reach the incredible Julia called for power from bow pair. Few strokes later she included 3 and 4. Then 5 and Texas. And finally 7 and stroke. The boat was MOVING. We did one last build about 15 strokes before the finish line into the wind tunnel under the bridge and the race was over. Again: piece of cake. And the cake was good.

Uploaded Saturday 30th January, 17:41


Photo of the 1st Women's VIII: click to view full size.

2nd Men's VIII

Bow: Alistair Brown, 2: Iwan Williams, 3: Harry Perkin, 4: Jason Delp, 5: Gabriel Bliard, 6: Rory Fairhead, 7: Ben Leitch, Stroke: Adam Harrison, Cox: Clement Chan

8th of 15 M2 crews in a time of 8:07

Clement Chan reports:


Given we have had various different crews over the past few weeks, we were, somewhat understandably, still trying to find our balance on the row up to the start of the race. As we approached the race start, our confidence started to build up and it translated to a slightly more composed stretch of rowing after First Post Corner.

However, we were not quite able to repeat that at the beginning of the race. The build towards the start was auspicious and the first few strokes past the starting point were great. However, in our keenness to maintain the pressure, we lost our timing a bit and the commitment of the crew did not translate to boat motion. In response to a few technical calls from me and the bank, the crew made a great change and the balance of the boat improved immediately with the approach to First Post Corner fantastically sat. That appeared to have unfortunately come at the cost of rate and pressure. We struggled to find the balance between the two until halfway up the Gut. Our 6 man Rory caught a crab as we pushed out of Grassy corner and he recovered very well, missing only one stroke. That proved to be a great reset call, which catalysed a change in the boat motion as the pressure picked up without much change to the overall balance to the boat.

As I thought the composure could lead to a final push to the end of the race, the strong winds of the Reach dashed such hopes. I misjudged the power of the wind and did not tuck into the bank, which turned out to be a massive mistake. In spite of my mistake and that most of the crew had never raced in rough waters, the crew was committed and fought valiantly against the pressure of the headwind. Unfortunately, we were not able to maintain the same timing we had previously. I initially attempted to use pressure calls in an attempt to gain boat speed and improve the ease of the recovery, which worked to an extent. At our bank party Joe's suggestion, I tried a few technical calls emphasizing the tap down and arms away on the home stretch of the race, just past the dip on the reach. The crew responded fantastically well and the last thirty strokes were arguably the best rowing we have done in the race.

Overall, the race was a great experience as rough water is perhaps to be expected at Bumps and that sets us up well for the rest of the race. We are still trying to find out how to combine power and timing, but from the evidence of this race, I am confident we will get there very soon!

Uploaded Saturday 30th January, 21:35


3rd Men's VIII

Bow: Andres Bustamante, 2: Jamil Mustafa, 3: Georg Starke, 4: Nicolas Levi, 5: Felix Kreis, 6: Jason Delp, 7: Tom Hilbourne, Stroke: Vikram Thakur, Cox: Izzy Rudd

9th of 16 men's lower boats in a time of 9:03

Freddie Benham-Crosswell reports:


Report by Tom Hilbourne:

The morning of the 30th came about in the usual fashion. 8 of us turn up to the boat house (including our cox) but the final member doesn’t turn up. We all thought “what a Rebel (Rebel)” but it turned out that Fred had failed to find a sub for one of our crew. There needed to be some Changes in our line-up. The Starman himself, Georg Starke, came in at the last minute and rowed beautifully.

Anyway, our bank party was none other than Miss Jess Lindley who stepped in at the thought of us being bank partyless. Such Modern Love. We set off slightly behind schedule and with a broken/faulty/questionable (depending on your outlook of life) Stroke rigger arrived only 5 minutes late at Baits Bite Lock. We span round and helped ourselves to sweets with as much enthusiasm as Fred’s message that evening (stating that he “loved us all” and “he can’t find the heart thing but we’re still the best”).

With St Edmund’s setting off, that was our cue to leave. We powered up to race pace and crossed motorway bridge with a strong pace. The boat was sat and we were opening space between us and Magdalene who were behind us. We entered First Post Corner without much difficulty but new the trouble was really about to hit us as we encountered Grassy. A strong bowside pressure took us round and then we were hit with an almighty gale.

“Strong Core” was the cry as we powered on past the pub; the thought of a pie and chips spurring me on further. We hit Ditton with a slight loss of rhythm but reset quickly. Now, the reach. The end is in sight. “Power 10!” was the cry from Izzy. At some stage in the furore, Jamil had had enough of rowing and decided Crustaceans were the order of the day. After quickly deciding he had had enough of marine animals, he tapped down and got back into the rhythm, only missing a stroke.

I digress, with Magdalene a distant memory like unlimited ketchup in buttery, we powered over the line with a strong time of 9:03. We powered off home with Vikram having a slightly masochistic obsession with calling Power 10’s (“Mate we were on our way home?!?) we returned back.

Uploaded Tuesday 2nd February, 11:27


3rd Women's VIII

Bow: Mirjam Reiner, 2: Sabine Hallamasek, 3: Danielle Saunders, 4: Katie Wilkinson, 5: Ariane Dupas, 6: Rachael Young, 7: Vashti Davies, Stroke: Jess Lindley, Cox: Alex Horne

4th of 5 women's lower boats in a time of 10:09

Anna Peel reports:


Mirjam Reiner reports:

Notwithstanding numerous cancelled outings because of yellow flags and no-shows, we gathered at the Boat House for the race. After fixing – or at least trying to fix – loose footplates and shoes we pushed off. The people in the crew had never rowed together so it took some time for us to row in sync and sit the boat properly – or do so at least most of the time… we did get sloppy the longer the race lasted. After the rowing down to the lock the inevitable long wait for our turn began. We knew we would be chased by the Wolfson MII crew so our main goal was for them not to catch up too far (let alone have them overtake us). Turns out it was not the Wolfson crew, but the strong head wind that was our main opponent (as well as some shoes that were too big and whose Velcro fasteners were insufficient to deal with the pressure). We may not have won the race, but we did win a new coach… Jamil who was part of our bank party decided to take us under his wings. So off to new adventures we are…

Uploaded Thursday 4th February, 16:23