A good year to be a Red Rose

Change is always a hard thing to overcome; it is an especially common obstacle in university rowing; experienced members graduating, new people to teach every year and constant changes in coaching staff. Lancaster University is one of those clubs, constantly an underdog at most competitions as a result. This year has set the mark for progress away from that stereotype.

The club has had its fair share of change in the past year but has come out of it stronger than ever. Starting the year saw a small return to the club in the form of 7 guys, 6 girls and 3 coxes, hardly the composition for a winning club. A new coach was also arranged with the departure of the previous who has since moved onto bigger and better things. This then fell apart with clashes in timing and LUBC were left hanging by a thread.

One desperate phone call changed everything with the club captain contacting a former blade convincing her to coach. This good fortune was accompanied by the hard work of the novice captain, the executive committee and the rest of the senior squad in the recruitment drive during fresher’s week which brought over 100 new novices to the club as well as a few experienced rowers. 

Bad weather and consequently cancelled water outings didn’t prevent the club doing well with the men’s squad returning a win at York small boats and a gold medal in a team event as well as a silver and bronze at English Indoors and a 9th place at British indoors in the men’s student category.

Second term once again tested the clubs commitment with the cancellation of BUCS regatta; this would have been the novice’s first race and a test for how the winter training had prepared the club. It was then decided to hold a fun regatta dubbed ‘Head of the Lune’ where the crews could test their strength and skill against each other, an event that is going to be kept on for the foreseeable future as a way to take some of the pressure out of the first race.

The flagship of the club and the main source of its success have been, without doubt, the women’s senior IV which composes of the stern 4 of the also successful women’s VIII. The girls have had quite a year with the VIII taking gold in the IM3 VIII’s at the north of England head in Chester, coming 5th in IM VIII’s at BUCS regatta and earning a top 200 place at WeHorr, not bad seeing as it was the first year of rowing for 5 girls in the crew and the first ever race for 6 of them. At the end of the year, the 9 girls were awarded with one of the highest sporting accolades in the university by being given full colours and being named Lancaster University’s ‘Team of the Year’.

The IV went on to take the club’s first BUC’s medal with silver in the IM IV’s, they also went on to win IM3 IV’s on the Sunday at Durham regatta with the 2nd IV making the semi final and the final the day before. To round off the year, the IV went on to make the quarterfinals at Henley Women’s Regatta, matching the clubs best ever Women’s Henley Regatta result.

After a few hardships and setbacks in the summer term, the men’s squad were able to hold their heads high walking out of the season having made a final and multiple semi-finals at Marlow regatta thus keeping them optimistic for next year.

LUBC are looking to continue their success into next year’s season. This is looking likely with 2 new boats on the racks, a larger returning senior squad, continued support from their sponsor Cityblock, a new head coach and an introduction of a second novice captain to accommodate the predicted fresher intake.

With plans to enter IV’s head and even start up a lightweight squad, the club is developing rapidly and with the increased experience in the club, the Henley qualification dream has potential to be fulfilled soon.

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