Eleven go racing!

A small group of our team travelled to Boston, Lincolnshire for BUCS Small Boats Head and for the first Great Britain (GB) trials of the 2019-20 season.


The main group of our team were based  in Cambridge and Ely testing and training over the weekend.  It is the point in the season where the whole team were able to see the benefits of 2 months of training.  And everyone can be very proud of their personal development.

Chief Coach, Robert Weber says about the weekend,

“The training at home went well with 2K tests on Saturday, each member of our squads showed considerable improvement when compared to testing in September.”

Well done team!

Meanwhile in Boston, Lincs


The GB trials at this stage comprise of a 2000m (2k) test on the rowing machine on the Saturday, followed by a 5000m (5k) race on the river on the Sunday. It is an exhausting weekend and included everyone who is trying to get into the GB rowing team for the Tokyo Olympics in under 9 months time.   Our team was racing against Olympic medalists, World Champions and U23 World Champions along with top performers from across the UK university rowing scene.

Sadly we had one illness and Sophie Paine was unable to race but undeterred, Tricia Smith raced in her Single Scull.

CUWBC had some strong personal performances on day one with some PB’s

 As Assistant Coach Paddy Ryan says,

“The weekend was an excellent opportunity to test our performance against the best in the country. Saturday’s 2000m got us to test our development physically and for several students, in a foreign environment. Some great learning happening here!

Sunday saw us compete in our pairs combinations and one single, due to illness. The stream was “Tideway” quick due to the recent rain. While this lead to record times over the course we had great skill development as not only were we challenged physically but also ensuring we steered a thoughtful course to maximise speed. All in all a great step forward and a confidence boost for the whole squad.” 

Larkin Sayre, CUWBC President reflects on the weekend,

“I am really pleased with how our pairs performed on the water in Boston! We were treated to some fast water and incredible competition from senior GB rowers as well as other top university squads. We proved our speed and we come away from this weekend with renewed determination.”


From these trials BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) the governing body for university sport in the UK determine the results for the small boats head of the River.


CUWBC alumnae were also in action over the weekend and it was great to see them inspire the next generation of Light Blues. Melissa Wilson, Oonagh Cousins, Imogen Grant, Holly Hill, Fran Rawlins.



Current Squad:

The top three Cambridge pairs finished with a spread of just over 2 seconds.

Eva Simkens (Clare) and Larkin Sayre (Emmanuel) were the fastest Cambridge crew of the day, coming 14th in the GB Assessment in a time of 17:11.71.

Rebecca Smith (Newnham) and Laura Foster (Queens’) were just behind in a time of 17:12.14 (BUCS only).

Adriana Perez-Rotondo (Newnham) and Rebecca Dell (Christ’s) followed with a time of 17:13.96 (BUCS only).

Caoimhe Dempsey (Newnham) and Bronya Sykes (Caius) came in with a time of 17:16.17 (BUCS only)

Sarah Portsmouth (Newnham) and Abigail Parker (Emmanuel) finished in a time of 17:25.17, earning them 17th in the GB Assessment.

Tricia Smith (Christ’s) came 35th in the W1x in a time of 18:19.63.



Imogen Grant (Trinity College Blue Boat 2017, 2018) won the LW1x in a time of 17:27.42, seven seconds ahead of the next Lightweight Women’s single and fast enough to place her 8th overall amongst women.


Melissa Wilson (Caius and Lucy Cavendish College, Blue Boat 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017) came 5th in the W1x in a time of 17:23.86. Victoria Thornley (Leander) won the event in a time of 16:59.90.


Francesca Rawlins (Trinity College, Lightweight 2007, 2008) came 10th in the W1x in a time of 17:33.69, racing for Tideway Scullers School.


Oonagh Cousins (Caius College, Blondie 2017) came 7th in the W2- in a time of 16:54.72, racing for University of London Boat Club with Rebecca Edwards (Molesey Boat Club). Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College Boat Club) and Rowan McKellar (Leander) won the event in a time of 16:27.45.