October 28, 2009 in Captain's Blog
The incoming freshers have provided us with a huge cohort of novice rowers (35 at the last count), all of whom have adapted quickly to the intense schedule of early starts, thrice-weekly land sessions, and crew dates that I have put them on. As opposed to sorting crews according to perceived ability at 3rd week, boats have been filled for Christchurch according to how much time oarsmen want to commit to rowing: the response even better than I had hoped- there are two Balliol boats that have their eyes on winning the Christchurch regatta in 7th week, each getting 4 outings a week and some organising afternoon outings in IVs of their own accord. Judging by the other men’s novices on the river, their hardest competition seems to be each other.
These boats, ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’, have been taken under the stewardship of our Head Novice Coach, Rob Ryan, who has more than a decade’s coaching experience on the Isis, while ‘Greene’, the rotating squad of misguided freshers who for some reason also want to take part in extra-curricular activities besides rowing, have been responding well to the coaching from the bank offered by myself and my vice-captain Chris Arthurs – both of us were novices this time last year so have a fresh memory of the difficulties newcomers can have.
The senior squad is now under the auspices of Leander’s Alan Sinclair, who has rowed in the same boat as our previous coach, Colin Williamson, for six years. The continuity in calls, language, and technique has made the transition a fluid one. Michaelmas may traditionally be an easy-going term for senior college rowers, but Alan’s training programme has already had all of us feeling the burn and cursing our inactivity over the Summer. Last year Alan was head coach at Pembroke, whose fitness allowed them to bump M1 in the dying seconds of Friday’s race during Summer Eights – the thought of returning the favour in Trinity Term is enough to keep us pulling!