LUBC's Committee have written an end of year (fairly lengthy!) report for 2017. Whether you are current members, Alumni, parents or friends of our rowers, we hope you enjoy reading what the last year has brought to the club.
Returning from the Christmas break, there was the juggle of training and exams to deal with. January is an important time of the year as it sets everyone up for both the Head Season to come, and for training camp that leads on from it. BUCS Head, a major event on the calendar, was fast approaching and at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
There were lots of cold and dark evenings down at Runcorn to ensure we got down the mileage on the water for a successful season. The hard work was paying off, especially for the novices who were now spending more time in smaller boats, particularly fours and singles. With this introduction of singles to the novices came the inevitable capsizes. A few of the novice men in particular, took their first dip in the waters of the River Weaver, learning the hard way what happens when you don’t keep your handles together in a single. Towards the end of the month we saw a few very early, cold mornings on the water to get in the miles for BUCS Head.
Our first month of racing for 2017 started off with an unfortunate cancellation of BUCS Head cancelled for our novices. This was obviously disappointing considering the amount of miles we had done on and off the water to prepare. However, whilst the Senior’s headed North to race their categories as originally planned, the Novices went somewhere more local, and raced Trafford Head. The Novice Women’s Eight won their category, as did the Novice Men’s Eight.
BUCS Head was windy, wet and cold. Our Seniors' events went ahead as scheduled, despite Novice Racing being cancelled. The Senior Men entered Championship for the first time, and placed respectively against the competition. Our Senior Women did very well in the Intermediate categories with their Eight taking 11th place and the Coxed Four placing 5th.
The month of HoRR/WEHoRR is a tiring and long one. The weather was not kind to us this Head Season, with BUCS already being cancelled for novices, and then Runcorn Head having to cancel their race due to water levels. They say that bad luck comes in threes, and unfortunately the men missed out on HoRR too. Disappointedly, it looked as if the Men’s Senior Squad were going to be on track for a club record, so it was a real shame not to be able to compete. However, it was not all doom and gloom, and LUBC performed exceptionally well at the races that went ahead as scheduled. The Senior Men won in IM3.8+ at North of England Head, with a time of 16.43.8, and the Senior Women came a 2nd in IM3.8+, losing out by 2.3 seconds. The Women’s Squad made the long trip down to London for Women’s Eights Head. Our Senior Women placed 86th out of 295 crews that competitively raced that day and our Novice Women came 180th, placing 52 crews ahead of the previous years Novice Eight.
To round up Head Season, we competed against John Moore’s at Varsity. They hosted the race on their stretch of water down by the docks. A few technical difficulties meant that our Senior Men narrowly missed out on the win in the eight, but the Women’s 8+, 4+ and the Men’s 4+ came out on top. Sport Liverpool overall won varsity against John Moores for yet another year.
After a non-stop month of training, racing, and spending what felt like a lifetime on the M6, we got a break at Easter. However, our annual Training Camp fell on the last week of Easter and this year we were travelling to the Lakes, training at Derwentwater.
Running the week was Greg Brand. Greg volunteered to coach Liverpool throughout the year as we did not have an Official Head Coach. He had a tough week planned for Training Camp, but it sure paid off. We enlisted the help of our Alumni: Harry Bailey, Tim Hopkins, Lydia Beeken, Fraser Morgan, Howard Hartley, Liv Butler and Beth Rolt, to help coach the crews in the week. We also had the opportunity to have Olympian, George Nash, come to coach for the last few days. George kindly offered to set our training plan to help with the struggles of not having a Head Coach in 2016/17.
BUCS regatta was yet another exciting weekend for LUBC. The first day of racing saw four Liverbird wearing boats on the water. Two men’s beginner IV+’s were the first to boat, both enjoyed a good first experience of side by side racing. Then came the men’s intermediate VIII+. After a strong time trial, they raced in the E final, coming 5th. Finally our intermediate women’s quad came a very impressive 12th.
The Sunday saw our beginner women’s IV+, beginner men’s VIII+ and intermediate men’s IV+ take to the choppy water at Holme Pierrepont. The women’s IV+ impressed, coming 5th in the B final. The men’s beginner VIII+ saw some tough competition, placing in the D final and finally the men’s intermediate IV+ came 2nd in the E final.
Monday morning saw some tired but cheerful faces after a busy weekend. Liverpool saw five boats on the water. A fearless novice men’s single did well, but the beginner women’s VIII+ stole the show, making an impressive A final. In a dramatic turn of events, they came 6th, after having to borrow a boat at the last minute. Two men’s pairs boated, but sadly only one raced due to boat issues. Finally, a women’s intermediate IV+ raced coming a very strong 9th!
Overall this was a wonderful weekend for LUBC, with all involved agreeing that it was, as ever, a favourite weekend in our racing calendar. We can’t wait to see what BUCS Regatta 2018 holds!
Following exams, the club had a quick turnaround to get crews ready to race at Henley Womens and Henley Royal. This year, the decision was made to take an eight to these events. In the Women’s Eight, from cox to bow was, Georgia May, Hannah Garmston, Sarah Davis, Molly Kearney, Sarah McKay, Charlotte Siddoway, Jess Trott, Becca Hagan and Melissa Grierson. Nine hardworking, and motivated individuals were ready to take on Reading Regatta and HWR. For the men, the decision was made to take an eight also. The Men’s squad’s decision was to bring through a ‘Development/top eight’ to facilitate a strong start to the 2017/18 season. The crew (from cox to bow) was, Hannah Carter, Dan Tucker, Jordan Simons, James Thorne, Nic Cerulus, Alex Moss, Jonny Norton, Dan Overfield and James Brown. Seven out of nine of this crew had learnt to cox/row at Liverpool that year and were determined to rise to the senior rowing status.
Whilst the women competed at Reading, the men went to the more local, Chester Regatta. The Men’s 8+ came 4th in the Adult Regatta Time Trial, a great result for the crew. The Women, had a particularly difficult time at Reading, losing their Captain (their five-seat) to food poisoning and had to get MUBC to help with a sub (shoutout to Saskia!) They were knocked out in the semi-finals by Southampton University by half a length. It was a pretty good race considering the sudden crew change.
The following week, the Women travelled to Henley. The nerves were high, so much so, we didn’t recognise that it was Sir Matthew Pinsent checking our boat for us! The time-trial was the best the crew had ever rowed together, and having only been formed two weeks before, the girls were overjoyed to have got that far and rowed that well. It was an even bigger bonus when they qualified! They had the unfortunate case of drawing against Durham University in the first round, and even after an impressive fight, they lost to the strong opposing crew. The girls were happy with the end to their Regatta Season, and even happier when qualifying times were released and Southampton, who had beaten them at Reading, were slower than them in qualifiers. We were also very happy to see LUBC Alumni, Leanne Knight, win in the Academic 8+’s with Newcastle University.
The Men took to Marlow Regatta that same weekend. It was a scorching hot day, so the conditions were not ideal, and especially worse for some members (special mention to Nic who soldiered through the really tough conditions). The men placed 16th in this race, and were excited to race at Henley Qualifiers next. A few of our Alumni went on to race in the Royal Chester boat at the regatta who won Club 8’s, a tremendous result which we were very excited to watch.
The time came for Henley Qualifiers and for the Men’s 8+ to take on the course, and for the most of them, the first time. The boys unfortunately did not qualify for the Temple Challenge Cup, however they believed the way they rowed at qualifiers was the best they’ve ever rowed together and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We were very happy to see our Alumni do so well at the Regatta with members of the alumni racing in the Royal Chester B boat (Borna Banafshe, Tim Hopkins and Abi Sanders) as well as Royals A boat (Fraser Morgan). Both of these boats qualified for the Thames Challenge Cup. Royals B unfortunately drew last year’s finalists and we’re knocked out on the Wednesday. Royals A beat Upper Thames and Almania, but lost out on the Friday. Oli Wilkes represented Edinburgh in the Visitors, and narrowly lost in the Semi-Final to four men from the Cambridge Blue Boat. It was great racing all round from members past and present!
While most of the club were home for the summer, alumni and current members returned to Runcorn to hire a new coach for the club. Having four applicants for the position of head coach we were fortunate to have a high chance of having an official coach for the 2017/18 season.
The selection process included an interview and a water session with each of the applicants leading the session. This was followed by a quick debrief with the crews on the session. After all the applicants had taken to the water we had chosen Sam Edwards as our head coach, son of Liverpool’s previous head coach Val Edwards. We also had the opportunity to appoint a novice coach, Alice Palace. Also joining the coaching team is Calvin Perchard.
On behalf of the club we would like to thank alumni and current members who helped with the selection process and to those who helped coached throughout the 2016/17.
At the beginning of September, everyone started to return to Liverpool for Preseason. With a new team of coaches, everyone was excited to get back into training with new aims for the new season. We mainly focussed on sculling, something we had not done much of in the past, but it was a great way to bring out competitveness as we were in matched quads and doubles.
At the end of September, we competed in Runcorn Small Boats, and as it was our home stretch, we hoped to win some medals! The Men’s squad entered a 4+, 4- and a single. The 4+ won their category and the 4- were the second fastest boat of the day, a great way to start the season. Jacob, one of our new members of the Men’s Squad, raced the course in 19.04 in the single and has become a valued member of the squad. The Women’s Squad entered a 4+ which won their category and the Women’s 4- won the fastest Women’s boat of the day. It was a great start to the year and the success of the day gave everyone the motivation to continue training hard ready for the next races.
October brought many new Freshers meaning many potential new novices for LUBC. With over four hundred signups at the Freshers Fair the Vice Captain’s commenced the ‘Learn to Row’ trial sessions consisting of land and water training. Within the first month extensive progress was made generating lots of excitement and enthusiasm as training for the annual Novice Race Day intensified.
Before we knew it the day arrived and was a great success, it was BUCS endorsed which generated much interest from the North West Rowing Community. Novice Race Day was a great experience for the Liverpool Men’s and Women’s 8s. Their first competition resulted in a win from the Women’s 8 and a close second from the Men’s 8. We also managed to raise funds for our partner charity Claire House Children’s Hospice. Thank you to everyone who helped organise our Novice Race Day!
On the 4th November, LUBC headed to Salford University for BUCS Indoors. There was a large number of LUBC competitors and for many of the novices it was there first taste of racing and for the seniors a chance to prove themselves. The day was highly successful with a large number of medals and PBs across all categories. The Novice Men kicked off the day, and did not disappoint, with LUBC claiming three medals (1st - Alex Sims, 2nd - Charlie Williams and 3rd- Artie Williams). The Novice Women followed with an impressive performance, and just missed the opportunity to medal. The performance they gave was well worthy of gold in our eyes. The Lightweights were up next, and despite not achieving a PB, the men proved themselves as mighty, with impressive commitment to the 2k. Hannah Garmston, Women's Captain, came second with an impressive time to go with her new silverware.
Next came the Openweight Mens 2000m, all of the men put in a strong performance, with many PBs, which is a positive start to the academic year. LUBC’s Ben Heap defended his title for the second year in a row with first place and a time of 6:11.2. New to the club this year, Jacob Norman came an impressive third place with a time of 6:33.4.
The biggest performance of the day however came in the heats of the Openweight Women's 2000m. LUBC secured the top four times by Jess Trott, Charlotte Siddoway, Sarah McKay and Amy Hobbs respectively. These four girls went on to gain gold, with an impressive lead against the next team, in the Women's relay. The men’s ‘A’ team consisted of Ben Heap, Jacob Norman, James Thorne and Patrick Home who secured a comfortable lead from the start and continued to increase this throughout the race. Both of the ‘B’ teams also showed a strong performance, finishing closely behind. It was a fantastic finish to the day!
The last weekend in November, the senior squads travelled up to the North to compete in Rutherford head. The day was very cold with sub-zero temperatures, and despite being very tough conditions, all our athletes gave a strong performance. There was a large amount of competition for all boats and a great opportunity to compete against other universities. This event was the LUBC debut of many of our new experienced seniors to showcase their talent and they did so excellently.
First to come down the course was the senior mens eight coxed by Hannah Carter. The eight had an unfortunate race as 3k into the race, the wheel came off two seat and they had to row the rest of the eight as stroke six. Despite the technical misfortune, the eight felt they had a strong start and that they were rowing together the best they had as a crew so far. Also in the first division, was the Womens 4+ of: Charlotte Siddoway, Amy Hobbs, Hannah Garmston and Jess Trott, coxed by Georgia May. They came third in their category with an impressive time of 23.08. This was strong start to the season for the girls, who came off the water excited what the future has ahead for them as a four.
In the second division came the Senior Mens four consisting of Jacob Norman, Nic Cerulus, James Thorne and Jordan Simons coxed by Rose Cowperthwaite. They had a strong technical row, with a time of 18.58.9, coming fourth in their category and beating boats from both Durham and Newcastle University. The last LUBC boat of the day was the womens 8 made up largely of new LUBC members and coxed by Cat Oliver. The girls came 6th and had a strong race. They came away happy with their row, which was the best they had together so far.
December saw us enter White Rose Head, the annual BUCS endorsed, student led race in York. We took a large number of boats to the event, many coming back with wins. In the first division, the Senior Men raced three boats 4x/+/- with the 4x winning their category. The senior women raced an 8+ and the beginner men won in their 8+. A quick pitstop and the second division was underway, this saw the Senior Women field two quads and a winning 4+; the Senior’s Men’s 8+ and last but certainly not least was the Beginner Women’s 8+, who won their category despite also receiving a time penalty!
The Christmas funday rolled round the day after the Christmas Ball, and with it came the annual LUBC vs Sphinx BC race. Despite the freezing conditions (and 18 hangovers) the race went ahead over a 700m course. It was a close race which was deservingly won by the alumni who managed to hold onto an early lead.
Thank you for supporting us throughout the year!
The year was definitely not without its trials and tribulations, the pressures of not having a coach were definitely more intense than we expected but looking back, we achieved a lot in a difficult year. We are not only proud of LUBC’s direct achievements in the 2017 year, but also of our Alumni’s. We have seen previous rowers go on to row at fantastic clubs, members go to the GB World Class Start program, and thrive off of the scheme, as well as seeing one of our own, Oli Wilkes, represent Edinburgh University, and also Great Britain, winning a silver in the BM4+ at World Championships and a silver in BM8+ at the European Championships. We’d like to thank everyone who helped us over the year, we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you to Greg Brand, Patrick Home, George Nash, Harry Bailey and members of our alumni who gave up their time and travelled the country to come and help coach us and support us in our training. Also, thanks to all our members for an amazing 2017 of racing and for their continued efforts not only in attitudes towards training and racing, but towards fundraising and developing our club.
LUBC's 2017/18 Committee would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, we hope you're as excited as we are to see what 2018 brings!