W1 May Bumps 2016. Photo: Giorgio Divitini

It’s the end of another academic year and another successful rowing season for CCBC. New facilities and equipment along with a strong network of coaches, coxes and boatmen have come together to produce some great racing results both on and off the Cam. Catch up on the latest news with the Easter term Captain and Crew Captain reports.

“This has been another fantastic term for Churchill on the back of an even better year. Beginning with training camp in the sun at Molesey, where we made huge gains on where we would otherwise be, as always this was an invaluable experience for most. M1 had been busy racing off cam in BUCS and Notts City Regatta as well as HoRR over the break.

W1 raced WEHoRR over the break and were (technically) the fastest college crew there. The return of a few CUWBC athletes to W1 has bolstered their confidence and this in turn has been fed down to a very competitive W2.

M2 have dramatically improved, possibly the most I have seen any eight people improve by for a long while with the the help of Rob Oeffner and Nii Djan among others. M3 have been very keen to try and beat M2 which has kept them more than motivated, although it’s not as easy as they thought. I am proud knowing that every crew has trained as hard as possible and will give it their best. At the end of the day, this club judges itself on far more than it’s bumps results anyway with ambitions mostly set on off cam races. However, the women’s side had two fantastic results with a massive up 3 in division 1 and W2 with up 7!! M1 managed to hold level in a ridiculously competitive division 1.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the help from our coaches and alumni. Absolutely nothing would be possible without Roly’s commitment to mending what we break (which is a lot, trust me). The men’s new boat has helped keep us competitive in some races where we needed that extra half boat length of speed, and stopped us having to bodge last minute repairs at the 4 minute gun. We would like to thank all those that made our new boat, Shall We Dance, possible. The comfort of the boathouse that we can do this in would not be possible without those who have helped produce such an amazing building, we are all very thankful of this.

This is my last term report and I hand over the running to the boat club to a more than capable Jonathan Morell, for those who don’t know him he has been working extremely hard as an LBC and I have discussed many future plans that he is keen to begin working on. Hopefully this time next year we can have the club set-up to match the new boathouse and equipment that is in it, I am certain we will.


— Dan Jones, CCBC Overall Captain 2015–16

Photos from the opening of the new boathouse

Crew Reports

“After a positive Lents term, M1 looked forward to an exciting May term, with the promise of sun and side by side racing. Yet another successful training camp at Molesey organized by Roly and Silvia put us in an excellent position to continue our success on the water.

Our first race at BUCS gave us the first opportunity to show what we could do in our new Filippi, which didn’t fail to impress. The additional speed and responsiveness that it added to our rowing was instantly recognisable, and with little practice we were already faster than in our old shell. Although the competition was significantly tougher than last year, we had a solid couple of races, narrowly losing out in the final to Durham and Oxford Brookes university crews. On our return to Holme Pierrpont for Nottingham regatta, M1 gave an impressive effort in the IM3 division, and narrowly missed out in a final where the last five boats were only separated by a length between them.

Spurred on by these successful off Cam results, a new boat, and a new boathouse, our training has been rather covert; choosing to head out on the water at the less-busy periods led to some colleges wondering whether we were even training! In fact, the crew approached this term with even more determination and focus in what we knew would be a volatile May bumps. Unfortunately, after a somewhat incoherent row on Wednesday, we narrowly missed out on moving up after we were bumped by a very fast Magdalene, having gained three whistles on Christ’s in front. This was followed by two consecutive row-overs, where we regained our composure and returned to row as a crew. We were rewarded with a bump on the final day on St. Catharine’s, ensuring that we retained our original position in a very active half of the M1 division. I would like to thank our coaches, Silvia and Stef, and our boatman Roly for all their support, attentiveness and advice throughout the term.”

— Daniel Manela, Men’s Captain

“As W1 started off the term with a few returners still training with CUW to take part in BUCS, there was a week of unsettled outing with various subs. Over BUCS weekend, with most of the crew away, we entered a scratch IV into Spring Head to Head, which we came away from with pots. In the following weeks, thanks to our fabulous team of coaches, we have come a long way. From eight pretty decent rowers each individually rowing well but not really together, to rowing together as an VIII. We have developed a strong crew rhythm and a fiery pink (with a bit of mint) crew spirit to go with it.

We sparred with Caius W1 (2nd on the river for may bumps) and found that we were pretty evenly matched at this point, even though we had a sub in the boat at the time. During exam week we put in some productive outings in the IV and this is when we really clicked into our rhythm and started rowing together. Unfortunately, the categories we entered at Nottingham City regatta were all either under or over-subscribed. We entered X-press head for bumps preparation and succeeded in bringing home medals and finishing as the second fastest women’s crew to take part.

We went into bumps feeling confident that we were fast and we could ‘humiliate and destroy’ many of the crews ahead of us in the W1 division. For the first few days, we came away successful, having eaten into our opposition and hit them. This crew favoured the long bump, knowing that our fitness and strength were impressive we knew we could settle into a rhythm and eat into them stroke after stroke until we hit them. On the last day we put in a strong row over as our efforts to hit Newnham simply pushed them closer and closer to FaT ahead of them. We finished the week an impressive +3 in the first division, breaking into the top 10 and reaching the highest position that Churchill W1 have been in since 1997 and any Churchill boat has been in the past 10 years. I hope to see the women’s side grow over the next year to take on the challenge of climbing even higher.

It has been a pleasure to captain W1 this term and throughout this year. Each term the crew has been amazing and they are all awesome individuals too. I would like to say thank you to the whole of the women’s squad this year: you have been awesome and it has been a pleasure to watch each of you grow in your rowing. I look forward to seeing what next year brings women’s rowing at Churchill and I am confident I am passing it into capable hands with Kathryn Dodds becoming WC.”


— Anna Welch, Women’s Captain

We went into this term having had most notoriously terrible Lent bumps campaign Cambridge might ever see, but fortunately something clicked over Easter and (despite very little changing) right off the bat we looked like a very promising crew. X-press Head at the start of June was where we finally put all the massive improvements we’d been working towards to practice, and that race was the best rowing I had ever felt, as a crew, and individually (and that doesn’t just apply to me) since I started. This really showed as we put out an extremely competitive time of 7:54, coming 3rd in our bumps division, and most importantly beating the LMBC boat that overbumped us in Lents. Bumps was competitive, but unfortunately wasn’t quite so successful (we went down 3 after rowing over on the final day) however that is only telling of the level of the challenge at hand and not of our rowing ability. We didn’t deserve to go down three, and probably wouldn’t have if not for some horrible luck (seats falling off, foot plates snapping, nosebleeds, etc.). Considering the circumstances we’ve had a very successful term and have come an amazingly long way since Lents.”

— Elliot Farrar

“W2 have had a very successful and enjoyable term culminating in an incredible Bumps week in which we went +7 and are now sitting at the head of the W4 division, ready to break into third division next year. We spent the first couple of weeks working on technique and bringing the rate up altogether but it was apparent from the first few outings that we had a lot of potential to be not only a good boat for the W4 division but a competitive W2 crew. We entered Champs Head, completing the course in less than 6 minutes and beating Downing W2 and Darwin W1 among other crews, so we went into Bumps week confident.

The Wednesday of bumps was frustrating since we were awarded a technical rowover after 200m of the course as we were forced to stop due to King’s W2 not clearing after their bump. However, the next day more than made up for this with an amazing double overbump on Darwin W2 which was a great pay off for all the training we had done throughout the term. Day 3 saw a much quicker bump on Fitzwilliam W2 as we came out on top of a tight sandwich with King’s W2 coming at us with everything off the start. We went into Saturday knowing that we could move up a division but that it would be a challenge to do with a couple of faster boats directly ahead of us. We first ‘bumped’ ARU W1 to go head of the W4 division: unfortunately they didn’t turn up due to an injured rower. We went into the W3 division as the sandwich boat with our eyes set on Selwyn W2 five positions ahead but ultimately we rowed over as the six boats above us bumped out. However the commitment and determination from everyone to push into whatever boat was in front of us was amazing and we rowed back to the boathouse proud of what we had achieved in the week.

Thanks to our three principle coaches; Stella Isaac, James Green and Giorgio Divitini, for all their help and time throughout the term: we were unrecognisable from the boat that went out at the beginning of term and would not have been half as successful without your coaching. Also thanks to Chris Burfiend, Silvia Breu and Roly Beevor for all their help and advice. My biggest thanks however goes to the rest of the crew: we have all come so far this term and it has been a privilege to row with such a determined and fun bunch of people! Forward!”

— Kathryn Dodds

This year’s M3 was first conceived less than a month before the start of Mays. By drawing from the pool of experienced rowers in College, a solid crew was assembled and started training with a relaxed schedule, but very efficiently. This couldn’t have happened without the help of several alumni who helped fill the boats, and coaches who were happy to give up quite a few of their evenings and working days. We are very grateful to all of them and we hope that our bumps performance rewarded their efforts.

Our bumps campaign was quite successful. After proving to be one of the fastest lower boats on the river in the getting-on race, we moved up easily until we were caught in a boat sandwich caused by a very slow boat two positions ahead on day 3, resulting in a technical row-over. On the final day, we got our vengeance and finished up three, setting next year’s crew for moving into the M4 division.

Personally, it’s been a pleasure for me to come back out of retirement to lead this crew. I think people enjoyed the outings and the atmosphere, and we also pushed College cohesion well past the usual boundaries — very rarely, in the Boat Club, we have had so many rowers, coxes and coaches from all parts of College – JCR, MCR, SCR and alumni  — in the same boat.”

— Giorgio Divitini

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