CUWBC Dev Squad 2007

Every year, CUW holds a four week ‘Development Squad’ for anyone interested in trialling in the future. This year there were an enormous amount of applicants – about 80-odd for seats in 4 VIIIs! There was also a wide range of experience among rowers and coxes – from those who only noviced in 2006 to those who’ve been rowing for years, and also some returning triallists from the 2007 Boat Race crews.

The training camp kicked off immediately at the end of term, with crews being changed several times before being set in the last week or so. The squad had eleven training sessions a week, mostly water training, at both CUWBC’s Cam and Ely bases, along with ergos at Goldie boathouse and weights and core stability sessions at Fenners. And of course it wasn’t just about training; post-outing crew breakfasts, house parties and themed parties all found their place in the 4 weeks!

The main focus of the squad this year was two events. The first and second heavyweight boats were aiming for the National Championships in Nottingham, and the third heavyweight boat and the lightweight boat for Molesey Regatta. Unfortunately owing to the beautiful British ‘summer’, neither event went particularly to plan this year. Molesey was called off due to the river being 4 feet higher than usual, and it was touch and go as to whether Nat Champs would run. Eventually it went ahead, but with a very tough draw in women’s elite VIIIs, it was always going to be tough for the 2 VIIIs to make it through to the final. However, since multi-lane racing was a new experience for several of the Dev Squadders, it was still a fantastic opportunity and one that everyone learnt a lot from.

Despite a less than perfect ending, everyone took away from Dev Squad a lot of rowing/coxing themed improvements, and many new friends. All who took part agreed that it was a really good way to focus fully on rowing without a degree getting in the way (!), and many of the Dev Squadders are returning to trial in September, having made the first step towards Henley in March 2008.