Conversation & Competition with Oxford!

CUWBC opened the 2020 racing season on Saturday at Quintin Head with strong performances from the crews. After a successful winter camp in Spain and some tough weeks training back in Ely the squad was keen to test speed in eights for the first time.


The strength of the single programme showed across all results at the weekend with the whole team posting good results. The Lightweight Women won their division and came out on top of Oxford while Cambridge’s Openweight 2nd VIII overcame OUWBC 2nd VIII and posted a time only 6 seconds behind the OUWBC 1st VIII. The Lightweight men won the Open Intermediate 2 division and pushed ahead of their boat race rivals. Everyone continues to learn from their racing experiences.

Chief Coach Robert Weber is delighted with the performances overall,

“I thought each of our crews did a very good job staying internal, executing their race plans and focusing on the elements we’ve been working on. It was a big step in the right direction for us as a program”.


The Lightweight women’s crew won the Women’s Intermediate 1 Division, with 7 seconds over their Oxford counterparts.


Morgan Morrison (Homerton College, Rosebery School) learned to row at her college boat club, Quintin Head was only her 3rd race away from the River Cam. Morgan was sitting in the 4 seat of the Lightweight crew and shares her reflections,

“My headphones were put on pre-race, to keep the nerves at bay and I imagined taking the first 10 strokes in my mind. From boating the energy was high, the crew were ready. Spirits were kept high during marshalling, even if our body temperature were not! Conversation coming from not only within our boat but with the dark blue boat in front of us.”

The crew’s performance overseen on the water by Cox Emily Insanally (Fitzwilliam College, Kent College) another member of the team who learned her skills at the college boat club. Emily handled the overtaking of a number of crews and kept the crew focussed throughout. Morgan added,

“Winning our division, against strong competition, fuels us the for the rest of our 2020 campaign. The race and win were hugely satisfying and raises the bar for us as a crew, we can keep learning.”

Openweight Women’s 2nd VIII had a great race!


Architecture student Sarah Portsmouth (Newnham, Yarm School) was part of the Openweight women’s 2nd VIII that put in a solid performance this weekend at Quintin Head. She says,

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first Quintin head race! As a crew, we feel we have added some key skills and moves to our racing. There was the added pressure of having two Oxford crews competing in our division, with one setting off straight after us! It was good to have returning members in the crew to set the tone of approaching this as a challenge.”

Fresher Sarah is new to the squad this year and is enjoying the experience, she adds,

“It’s amazing to be able to row with such a driven and supportive group of people.”

It was a rewarding day for Assistant Coach, Patrick Ryan who adds,

“The goal was to pursue our racing goals and come off the water with a clear idea of what we have done well and where we need to continue our developmental journal. A good step in the direction of our eventual goal.”



Lightweight Men’s Crew division win in Open Intermediate 2


The crew quickly found a solid rhythm while navigating past other crews and choppy water. Coxswain Jamie (St Johns) helped us to find this groove and steered without fault down a busy course.

With a verdict of a good row but with an awareness that there was still a lot more to come the race was a good learning experience and step on. The subsequent results confirmed a 10th place finish, up from 25th last year, as well as a time which would have won the Open Senior division. While Oxford Brookes put five classy crews in the top 10 only 4 other crews bested us on the day. The gap to the Oxford Lightweight crew was predictably slim, just 3 seconds, with Cambridge coming out on top.

James Lee (Homerton College, The Skinners’ School) says,

“Overall it was a very positive weekend, with great bunch of guys and girls. The results show our hard work is paying off and with a fantastic atmosphere in the squad everyone is looking forward to the final stretch of training before the big day.”

Assistant Coach, Katy Knowles is new to the club for the 2019/20 season, she joined the team from British Rowing. Katy is really pleased with how the Lightweights have developed and comments,


“The lightweight men have had some individual challenges in this training phase but came out fighting and put on a great performance. The result was very encouraging and there’s plenty more speed to be gained from this squad, I look forwards to helping them find it!”


A special thanks to Thames Rowing Club and London Rowing Club who, as always, provide us top quality facilities to train out of and all our hosts who are indispensable in accommodating all our athletes.



Race No 60Lightweight WomenRace No 132Lightweight MenRace No 32
Rebecca Dell (bow)Christ’s CollegeVictoria Walker (bow)


Gonville & CaiusLuke Andrews (bow)


Gonville & Caius


Gemma KingSt John’sLaura Stewart


PembrokeEytan Cortissos




Catherine KingGonville & CaiusFreya Sutcliffe


JesusDaumantas Kavolis




Adriana Perez RotondoNewnham Catherine Walker


Gonville & CaiusJack Reid




Sarah PortsmouthNewnham Regan Hamel


St Edmund’sEryk Sokolowski




Laura FosterQueens’ Morgan MorrisonHomertonJames Lee




Jo MatthewsSt John’sYfke van der HeijdenGirtonBen Wood




Eva SimkensClareMiranda ClementsHughes HallTeague SmithGirton
Angela Harper (cox)ChurchillEmily Insanally (cox)FitzwilliamJamie Bailey (cox)


St. John’s




Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club are high performance student rowing clubs working together to support the sporting and academic ambitions of the team. The squad of young women and men train together within a supportive and challenging environment overseen by Chief Coach Robert Weber. The dynamic and positive team culture has been built by the many women and men who have represented and coached CUWBC and CULRC over the previous 90 years.

75th Women’s and 45th Lightweight Men’s Boat Races in 2020