Having completed a full season with GUBC, my second year in post was conversely both simpler but also a lot harder than before!
It was easier in the sense that I now have a far greater understanding of how things work at the boat club and the university, however after a successful first season it is always a challenge to undertake the cliched “difficult second album” and ensure the club is getting better and moving forward.
However I am pleased to say that thanks to the multitude of volunteers and coaches and the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the rowers that semester 1 2014/2015 has been a success.
Overall numbers within the club have increased from last year, has performances on and off the water. Had Glasgow Rowing Club’s 4’s Head Race not been unfortunately been cancelled due to weather then a total of 44 novice women and 28 novice men would all have raced on the water in semester 1. As it stood we managed to get a total of 32 novice women and 24 novice men racing in Aberdeen and Inverness over the course of semester 1, which is a tremendous achievement, and credit must go to new novice coaches Jonny Fettis (novice women) and Jonny Cheyne (novice men) for inspiring and motivating the new rowers to the club to take on the challenge of racing with minimal experience. In addition our senior squads have raced at new levels, travelling to Nottingham for the British Championships and Newcastle for Rutherford Head. These regattas required our rowers take their rowing to a new level and I am delighted in the progress of both senior squads in the short space of time between British Championships in mid-October and Rutherford Head at the end of November.
There is certainly more to come from our current seniors at the club and this would not be possible without coaches Fraser Quinn (senior women) and Michael McNaul (senior men) devoting time and energy into the ambition of this young but exciting group.
In addition to a new standard of racing, our seniors have enjoyed (I hope!) a new standard of land training, with sports science and strength and conditioning support provided by intern Lucy Hems and S+C coaches Davie Watt, Calum Hill (both of Glasgow University) and now full time coach Finlay McHugh. I have no doubt in my mind that by a more scientific approach to training that our senior rowers will be in a great place by the time the summer months come around.
I’d also like to take the opportunity to identify a few individual rowers who have stood out from their respective squads. Emma McDonald’s goal for GB representation at the Under 23 World Championships continued with some brilliant performances at the first round of GB Trials, where she knocked an astonishing 7 seconds off her personal best time to place herself 4th lightweight female and second under 23 lightweight female on the ergometer. She backed this up a strong showing on the water, placing 11th on the water overall and 6th under 23, a mere 5 seconds from ranking 3rd in this category. With a water training camp in the 1992 Olympic venue of Banyoles, Spain in the New Year to look forward and personal bests falling in all erg and gym tests, we are delighted with Emma’s progress and wish her well for the next part of her journey. Additionally novice rowers Katie Mackie, Arabella Ogilvie and Callum Sinclair all provided the club with much joy as they won their first rowing medals at the Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships. Katie and Arabella claimed great silver and bronze medals respectively while Callum somehow managed to win a bronze despite spending the first 5 seconds of his race trying to get back on his seat after an overly enthusiastic first stroke left him beached on the slide of the ergo!
From a facility and equipment point of view good progress has been made this semester with a new training room secured for semester 2 which will greatly enhance our land training capabilities. Additionally work on our boating steps has finally commenced so we hope to have these up and running early in semester 2 also. 5 new ergometers and a brand new Hudson double/pair have also been purchased to improve our land training equipment and boat fleet. The purchasing of the ergometers was particularly pleasing as all money came from an alumni of the university who has donated extremely generously into the boat and rugby clubs at the university, and I am very grateful for that.
The committee has also been working extremely hard to secure the new Grow2Row accreditation through Scottish Rowing. As one of only two rowing clubs in Scotland to currently have this accreditation I am more than thrilled in the provocativeness of the student volunteers that are on the Boat Club committee to secure this accreditation as it will undoubtedly improve the professionalism of how activities are ran at the boat club.
And finally our annual Easter training camp is to be changed from Inverness to Italy in a move which will see the reestablishment of the link between GUBC and our twin club Canottieri Sebino Lovere. We hope this camp will not only help build the connection between these two clubs, but also provide a truly memorable experience to our rowers as they gear up for the big races in the summer.
So to return to my opening comments about how this semester has been a challenge to try to match and better our achievements of last year, I have nothing but pride in all of the rowers, coaches, committee members and volunteers in the boat club as they have all contributed to a highly successful semester 1 2014/2015.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the Christmas break, but I know that after a few weeks off I will be eager to kick off semester 2 with a bang and build towards an even more successful summer with GUBC.
I would also like to take this opportunity to ask that if anyone would like to get involved in our activities at Glasgow University Boat Club, whether you are applying to study at the university, you would like to help coach or are an alumni and would like to donate to us or help in any other way, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the club. Full contact details are on the website for our committee and I can be contacted by the following email address: