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The Women’s Side
This year’s crop of women’s novices hit LCBC with enthusiasm that remained un-crushable in the face of wind, rain, the introduction to the erg test and even lengthy tank sessions with ex-head coach Paul Crewe! As term went on it became gradually clear that it wasn’t just the traditionally excessive optimism of the new Captain of Lower Boats that was suggesting a Christ Church win for Lincoln might be in sight.

Women's A Boat

Women’s A Boat

Extremely decent performances from both A and B crews at the preparatory Nephthys Regatta in sixth week added to the excitement. The B crew was the one of the last second boats left in the running, while a misplaced buoy meant that the A boat was narrowly defeated in a final against Brasenose A. Finally, Christ Church week arrived, and the girls smashed through the first few rounds, leaving Univ, New and multiple other colleges trailing in their wake. Again the B crew, comprised of freshers Alice White, Emily Stubbings, Jess Bailes, Ellie Williams, Solène Pelton, Christelle Alvarez, and Laura Collins, was making waves and was finally knocked out after an exciting race against famously speedy grad college GTC in the third round – still a huge achievement, being the penultimate women’s second boat left in the racing.

Coach Olivia Lamming takes a dip

Coach Olivia Lamming takes a dip

No such defeat materialised for the A crew, made up of the Amazonian Anna Hermann, Eleanor McKay, Isabelle Dietz, Leah Rand, Katie Allan, Nia John, Lucy Cross, Annina Graedel and Caroline Whidden, who were to end up in a re-run of the frustrating Nephthys final against arch-rivals Brasenose. The race was extraordinarily and terrifyingly close, removing many years and adding multiple grey hairs to the lives of the hordes of Lincoln spectators lining boathouse island. Coxed by the wonderful Haden ‘I’m-definitely-not-coxing-next-year’ Spence, coaxed out of “retirement” for this very purpose, the girls edged over the finish line a definite inch in front of the Brasenose boat (who needless to say contested the result, but to no avail). Some say coach Olivia ‘maybe-tennis-is-my-sport’ Lamming burst into tears on the tow-path; some say this is a malicious rumour, but certainly emotions ran high as the trophy was engraved with the Lincoln name for the first, though surely not the last, time. A great conclusion to an outstanding term for Lincoln’s novices – we wish all the best to the new Captains of Lower Boats as we begin to cross our fingers for next year!

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The winning women’s crew of ChCh regatta 2013

The Men’s Side
Of course, we wouldn’t be finished without a report from Men’s Novice Coach, Sam Diana:

After another strong performance from the men’s side in both Torpids and Summer Eights the previous year, there was once again a sense of rising panic and dread in the men’s side at the start of the year, stemming from the loss of many rowers having just finished their degrees, leaving only a handful of rowers left.

We were left praying for the arrival of a horde of guys, all 6ft tall, their clothes simply bursting at the seams from the ridiculous amount of muscles they flaunted, snarling beasts, ready to crush any opposition standing in their way. This was not the case…. In fact there really wasn’t much muscle or snarling to revel in at all. The sense of dread in the men’s side continued to rise.

Men’s A Boat

However that foreboding sense of panic rapidly turned into hope. Looks can be deceiving, what these novices lacked in muscle or height, they more than made up for in their determination, their desire to improve and technical abilities, even requesting extra erg sessions, unheard of in this men’s side. They made rapid progress under the supervision of their phenomenally talented young coach (okay, maybe not phenomenally talented, maybe fairly talented), though that is not to say things went without a hitch – broken shoes, riggers, rudders and the constant rain all becoming problems at one point or another, and yet they continued to give everything when training, improving vastly every session.

They made swift progress through the first few rounds of Christ Church regatta, annihilating any crews against them, until there proved to be just one problem too many. First, a lack of guys able to row stopping the B crew from competing. Then a blade came out of its gate in the middle of the A crew’s race – though they still nearly held on to win with only seven guys rowing. Needless to say, they are all itching for revenge after this incident.

It was an incredible achievement from both men’s novice crews, and the way they represented Lincoln, not just in that Regatta but throughout the whole term was outstanding, and the character and strengths of all of those guys means they will slot seamlessly into the men’s side next term.

You know what – at the end of the day, I lost all of my races in Christ Church Regatta so every single one of them did infinitely better than I ever did. I could not have been prouder of them.