Novice

Why should you try rowing?

  • It is fun and satisfying - you will find yourself smiling and laughing a lot, and will be satisfied and proud with your achievements and improvement.
  • It is good for you - rowing will improve your strength and fitness, and can help you lose weight or put on muscle (if you want it to do either of these things).
  • You will meet lots of new people - rowing and boat club social events introduce you to many people - including those from other colleges and years.
  • You will make friends - the people who you row with, learn to row with, race with, win with, lose with (not much of this though) will become some of your best friends for your university years.
  • Develops important skills and qualities - rowing is a team sport so you will develop team spirit and team working skills, and also drive, determination, just the right amount of competitiveness, the desire to win and the ability to deal with, and learn from, losing.
  • Will get you involved in a club community - it is possible that your first weeks (and maybe months) at university will feel a bit lonely; getting involved with the boat club allows you to feel part of one of the friendliest and most accessible clubs in the college - you won't feel like an outsider, and those dull Sunday afternoons will have a bit of direction and purpose.
  • Christ's College Boat Club is just the right size to be friendly and yet still competitive. We do well (look at the results pages) but it's still very easy to get to know everyone in the club. All club members want to win, but they also want to have fun.
  • The final reason: Why not?
  • How do I get started?

    A really easy way to get started is to come to the Fresher's Fair - the rowing stand will be easy to spot, I promise.

    If you miss this, however, you can still get involved:

  • Email anyone on the committee (Lower boats captains are probably best though), and just say that you want to give rowing a go - you can find their email addresses on the Committee page of this site.
  • Put a note in the pigeon hole of anyone on the committee (again LBCs are best, but whoever you contact will be able and willing to help).
  • Ask just about anyone in college - most people will be able to help you or point you in the direction of someone who can.
  • Tubbing

    For the first stage of your rowing career, you'll be learning and practising in 'tubs' - this is so that you can concentrate on all the new things you're being told without the risk of falling in the (extremely clean) Cam. These boats need two rowers and a combined coach/cox (cox = coxswain = the one who steers).

    We'll organise your first outing (including a coach) in one of these versatile vessels early in Fresher's week (come and see us at the fresher's fair) and from there, we'll help you to organise further tubbing sessions - for each of which you'll need another novice to row with and a coach/cox.

    Don't worry - we will help you to find all these things - but a very easy way to do it yourself is to confer with another novice while at the boathouse, find some suitable times, and then ask a suitable senior (there are always loads hanging around avoiding work) to coach or find a coach. This is the old-fashioned no emails approach - easy, but don't forget when you've arranged the outing for.

    One of the advantages of tubbing is that it is fairly easy to get three people together in an afternoon without clashing with other commitments - this is harder for 9 people. Afternoon outings = more sleep + quieter river + better concentration from everyone involved.

    Other training

    The main thing in rowing is to have good technique when in an actual boat, but other things matter too. Fitness and strength will help you to be a powerful and effective rower as your technique improves. Strength does not mean being being built like an Ox, or having biceps as big as an oak tree, and while we're on myth-busting, you don't need to be 6ft4 to row. Also, there are ways to help improve your boat technique while not actually on the river.

    What we're talking about is land training - done in the warmth of a dry boathouse. This consists of erging on an rowing machine (ergometer), weights sessions, and circuits sessions (circuits does not have to involve dance warm-ups or crappy house music - but if you really want to...!).

    Erging will do wonders for your cardiovascular fitness, will help improve you rowing stroke, and will strengthen the relevant rowing muscles - it does not generally bulk you up (some see this as a good thing, others don't).

    Weights will really improve your strength, and can also (if you want it to) give you that ripped six-pack and those bulging biceps for the beach next year (ask our boatman Nick for more information - she will also have to induct you so that you can use the weights room safely).

    Circuits - involving a mixture of certain light weights routines, and cardiovascular fitness drills - will help strength and fitness, and also increase your flexibility - important in rowing, and good as you get older too! It doesn't bulk you up, but makes you look toned and HOT!

    Depending on your keenness (a common Cambridge word meaning willingness to participate) you can do any or all of these other training activities - you will see results.

    Rowing in Eights

    Once you've been through the tubbing part of Rowing School, you will be put into crews of eight, plus a cox, and you will go out in a very pointy 60ft boat called an eight. These can, at times, be a little unstable, but you will have progressed so much in your tubbing time that it will not be a problem - you will not get wet.

    The rowers within a crew will hopefully match each other in keenness, so you are all happy to train together - no-one will feel that they are spending too much time on rowing, and that they are obliged to continue for the crew. Also, we'll match the crews in timetables, as much as possible, so that you can all go out at the same time.

    Ideally, you will be able to get some afternoon outings in the eight - this maximises your lie-in and the productivity of the outing, as the river is much quieter in the afternoon. However, finding a 2 hour afternoon slot for 9 people can be a bit challenging - morning outings may then become necessary - they're not as bad as they sound.

    Race Information

    You are only classed as a "novice" during your first term of rowing. For most people that will be a Michaelmas term. During that term you compete in three races:

    1: Queens ergs

    Run by Queens College Boat Club (QCBC). Each crew member has to complete 500m on an erg (rowing maching) and the crew with the combined lowest time wins. Always a laugh and a good chance to see how red faced the LBCs can get (you will see what I mean once you do it). Visit the QCBC website for more information and last years results and photos.

    2: Clare Novices

    This is the first one the water race you do as a novice. It is a regatta meaning two boats start of together and the first one to a point wins and goes through to the next round. The race is 800m long. Visit the Clare College Boat Club website for more information.

    3: Fairbairn Cup

    This is a head race meaning you race the course (2700m) once with no other boats near you, your time gets taken and the crew with the fastest time wins. Visit the Jesus College Boat Club website for more information

    Jargon Buster

    Visit our Jargon page to give crab, rigger and all those other weird rowing words some meaning!