After a successful 2014/15, Glasgow University Boat Club returned to training in early September, with new found enthusiasm and high expectations. With many of last years senior rowers returning and a high retention of novices, this year has the potential to be better than ever.
With pre-season very much in full swing, it was time to turn to Freshers Week. As a result of a large recruiting effort on the part of our Senior rowers, membership numbers have seen a huge increase. This testament to the hard work by the Committee, particularly our Squad captains who were in charge of ensuring the club was represented at the annual Sports Fayre!
This season showed early promise, notably with the purchase of two Filippi eights and the appointment of two fully funded coaches. In a huge development for the club, Iain Docwra and Matthew Mole were successfully appointed to their respective positions as Senior and Novice coaches. Despite only undertaking their roles recently, their impact has already been notable. This is great news for the club and we are very thankful to Glasgow University Sport and sportscotland for their ongoing support.
There has been less racing than normal due to restrictions on the Clyde meaning all head races on the river to date have been cancelled this year. Despite the disruption this did not hamper preparation for our GB hopefuls who lined up against the best British rowing has to offer at the British Rowing Championships. In tough conditions against the best crews in the country, our crews finished in very commendable positions, with a special mention going to Emma McDonald and Flora Wharton who finished 20th overall in the Women’s 2x.
With trials slightly earlier than normal our top athletes made their way to Boston for the 1st GB Rowing Team assessment of the year. For many of our hopefuls this was their first experience of the trialling process, with many of them recording PB’s in the 2k test. On the Sunday it was time to time to put the speed from the erg to the test on the water and a special mention must go to Emma McDonald who put in a mighty performance in the 5km to come 14th in the lightweight women’s category as well as being the 7th fastest under-23!
While our top athletes went south for GB trials in Boston, the rest of the club headed north for Inverness. This was the first race for our fresh faced novices, who put in some strong performances, whilst gaining much needed racing experience which will be of benefit heading into semester two. The senior squads put in an equally good effort and winning their respective coxed four categories, reaping rewards for their hard work so far this semester.
By mid November it was then time for our novices to make the trip to Aberdeen, where they showed they had all stepped on from Inverness with all crews finishing in respectable positions.
The extension to the Stevenson building has allowed us to, once again, have a land training space on campus as the club has now moved into Studio 1 which was formerly the weights room. The move has made a massive impact with increasing attendance to and the atmosphere at training. A huge thank you to University of Glasgow Sport for allowing this to happen!
This year the Executive Committee have been working hard on what is possibly the biggest fundraising effort in the Club’s history – ‘GUBC GO TO HENLEY’. With the overarching aim of the project to raise money to buy new oars and give something back to the local community; over 60 members of the club volunteered at the Greater Maryhill Food bank, helping with wrapping presents for Christmas and the running of their annual Christmas party. The second part of the campaign involved rowing the distance from Glasgow to Henley (629km!) across 8 rowing machines scattered across the university campus in a time of 7 hours, 8 minutes and 3 seconds! Thanks to all to those who supported us and donated, without you it would have been impossible to reach our target. With £5,185 – the new blades have been ordered and will be delivered in the new year!
Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships was a club affair, a big opportunity for everyone to show all their efforts reaped from what has been a tough winter training programme. With tough competition from the best university rowers in the country, the majority of our athletes managed to record a PB. Particular mention must go to Calum Sinclair, who stepped up the occasion, finishing 7th, and getting among some of the big boys from Edinburgh!
After a long day at Bellahouston it was time for the annual Club Dinner at the City of Glasgow Hotel. This was the biggest in the club’s history and we were privileged to have Rio 2016 hopeful Scott Meenagh as our guest speaker, who provided for some reflection and gave our members added motivation for the season ahead.
Semester one has signalled some great changes for the club. On top of this, the atmosphere in all the squads in extremely positive and depth and ability is the best we have had in recent times. The future is bright at GUBC!