Here’s a little September update – it may have been a quiet month on the racing calendar but that doesn’t mean that things have been quiet here at GUBC!
We had quite a big turnover this year, with many of our members from last year graduating and heading off to pastures new. Despite this, we have had a big intake from last year’s novices and several new ex-juniors and exchange students joining the senior squad, bringing the men’s squad numbers up to 17 and the women’s squad up to 18.
1st September saw the start of pre-season for our seniors. Pre-season was a very good block of training, with the old novices stepping up to the senior workload impressively. The atmosphere has been a very positive one; with everyone fresh and excited for the season ahead. Overall a solid start, with promising outlooks for the upcoming year.
Pre-season really set the baseline and training since has been continuing to improve. Attitudes, fitness and enthusiasm have been great, with groups beginning to form in preparation for Brit Champs, Sculler’s Head and Clyde 3’s. More to come on these races in the next month’s update.
As well as working hard in the gym and on the water, our seniors were also working hard to recruit the new generation of GUBC novices. Two long days of keen flyering at the Fresher’s Fayre paid off as our first (+ second) taster day was a success. The rain stayed away, the burgers were edible and most importantly we had lots of fresh faces interested in joining rowing. They have come on so much in just a few weeks and it will be great to see how far they go. Our novices are generously being coached by volunteer coaches Jozef Stzef Gwizdala, Charlotte Jackson and Ben Sugden – we would like to say a special thank you for all your help and commitment to the club.
For the first time we are also running a Performance Novice programme, led by Paddy Hudson, which has already had plenty interest and we look forward to seeing how far they will progress.
The start of this season has also welcomed the return of Fraser Quinn and Claire Aitken.
Fraser Quinn has had a history of volunteer coaching for GUBC and won Scottish Rowing’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2015. His 5 years at GUBC previously were very successful, with medals at BUCS, record finishing positions at WEHoRR, reaching finals at Henley Women’s Regatta and a great number of athletes representing Scotland. We are so pleased to have Fraser back with GUBC and are very excited to see where he can take the club.
A GUBC graduate of 2016, Claire Aitken has been one of the most successful novices we have seen grow throughout the club. Starting with a BUCS Bronze in her novice year, she set the standard for years to come. Claire went on to win gold in the Champ 2- at BUCS 2015 with fellow teammate Emma McDonald. The pair then went on to represent Great Britain at GB University Champs where they placed a very impressive 6th. After representing Scotland several times, Claire headed south after graduation where she rowed for Molesey Boat Club. As a very well-established rower, somebody who learnt to row with GUBC and all-round lovely person, we are so happy to have Claire back in the boathouse and impart all her knowledge on to those who are in the same position as she once was herself.
As much as we all have fun in between the sweatiness and pain of training – it is nice to get to know everyone in their post-shower/non-lycra wearing states…and so this brings us onto this month’s socials.
For the seniors, it was the Black and Gold social up first – the first time of hopefully many where the squad will be donning the GUBC colours. As this year’s senior squad is mainly a new mix of people it was the ideal way to round off pre-season training, celebrate the start of the new semester and get to know everybody a little better before the novices arrived.
However, two weeks later and the novices had arrived and were already getting stuck in to their training. It would’ve been rude for them to continue much longer without getting properly introduced to the rest of the club and so in true GUBC style, we hosted our Family Night – a club tradition where our older, and questionably wiser, seniors adopt some novices for the night into their rowing ‘family’ as well as welcoming them to our big GUBC family too. Despite the success of Family Night, one bonding night is not enough and so it was time again for another club tradition – Girls’ and Boys’ Night In. Yet again, another entertaining night and we hope that all attendees feel truly part of the club now.
We wish all novices, new seniors and new coaches a warm welcome to GUBC and hope you enjoy your time with us as it really is a special club/family to be a part of.
That’s all for September; a fantastic first month back at it and hopefully the start of a great 2018/19 season of rowing!
– Jane MacGregor (Member in charge of publicity)