Message From the Chair
The 2023 Boat Race Campaign reached a crescendo on 26 March with the Men’s Blue Boat shouldering the weight of expectation and completing a full set of wins across every boat class.
Never have Cambridge beaten Oxford so comprehensively across so many races.
The BBC’s brilliant coverage made much of the Club’s culture, inclusion, and high-performance programme, led so ably by our fabulous students, dedicated coaches and staff and supported by you, our alumni and generous donors. There was much to celebrate at the Club dinner that evening. In spite of this there is no time to rest on our laurels. As you will all know each campaign starts with a blank sheet and there is still much more we can and must do to stay ahead. Without doubt Oxford will be hurting from our success, they will use the sting of 2023 to fire up their 2024 campaigns, whilst they navigate the integration of their women’s and men’s clubs.
At CUBC we know we must continuously strive for excellence, to innovate, adapt, and to ensure our students thrive in their academic and sporting ambitions as well as their well-being: so that they have the very best opportunity to compete at the highest level; so that they can use their experiences at Cambridge to help shape a better world. We will do this by working to support every one of them to be their best, to help them work together to succeed, and to actively encourage a culture of inclusion across our community. Our class of 2023, like their predecessors, continue to represent the Club, its heritage and future brilliantly. It has been a privilege to see them grow in stature as athletes and leaders throughout the year, building their generational community and extending our global alumni network.
There is no such thing as an easy ride through Cambridge, the standards required to matriculate, to study and to graduate are high, without layering on the dedication required to be an exceptional athlete, and the University has acknowledged the added value of sport for our students at Cambridge. Our relationship with the University at all levels will continue to be of critical importance to us as a student-led club, facilitated and supported by its alumni. Our outgoing, interim and new Vice-Chancellors have been actively engaged with, and supportive of the Club’s mission. I am extremely grateful to them for the support that they have shown to our Club and to sport across Cambridge.
Thank you for your support which provides the cornerstone for the Club’s success: for your financial contributions and support in kind: your connections, advice, and encouragement. As we approach some significant anniversaries for the Boat Races, we will continue to work to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the Club through careful stewardship and solicitation, to protect the future of the races themselves; and to support programmes and projects that will leave our chosen sport of rowing in a better, more sustainable, and inclusive place for the next century, or two.
The selection and preparation for the Cambridge Boat Race crews is gruelling and competitive. The intense five-month campaign takes our student-athletes on a quest that will enrich their learning experience at Cambridge whilst supporting their studies; provide them with lifelong friendships; and empower them to achieve their ambitions in a supportive and tight-knit team.
I am delighted to be the first Club Chair of the new combined Cambridge University Boat Club. The support for unifying the three legacy clubs in 2020 has been overwhelming from students, alumni and our stakeholders: we are a new club with an impressive heritage and history and a bright, exciting future. This most recent milestone in the history of Cambridge rowing also marks another significant step: in working more closely with the University we will ensure the long-term sustainability of the club, so that future generations of students can benefit from the positive and transformational experiences it delivers. It will also contribute to the university’s ambitions, helping our student athletes go on to be leaders in their chosen fields, contributing to a better society and a better world.
Annamarie Phelps CBE OLY, Club Chair
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