A Fantastic Year!

The 2008 – 09 season has seen the St Peter’s College Boat Club go from strength to strength with some of the most successful crews in the club’s recent history and around about 120 active members. We started as we meant to go on by claiming victory in Christchurch Regatta (an intercollegiate competition solely for those who are new to rowing) in Michaelmas Term, with our men’s ‘A’ Crew defeating strong opposition from Exeter A in the final and emerging the triumphant winners out of 80 men’s crews entered. The men’s B boat and women’s A and B crews were not as successful but still performed outstandingly and trained with great dedication throughout what is a very tough term- battling through the early mornings, freezing cold and driving rain

associated with Michaelmas training.
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Torpids in Hillary Term, the first bumps race of the year, saw Peter’s well represented on the Isis, with the boat club fielding a total of 5 crews (3 men, 2 women) which considering the size of the college and the boat club was a tremendous achievement. The men’s first and second boats both claimed blades by bumping every day of the competition, with the women’s first boat narrowly missing out. Overall the boat club’s bump total was one of the highest out of all the college crews entered and established us as a club whose tenacity and ability is not to be underestimated.
As was the case in Hillary, we were able to boat 3 men’s boats and 2 women’s boats in Summer Eights, and green and gold became familiar colours to all those down at the river. M3 wowed (and quite frankly disturbed) us with their un-necessarily tight lycra and soulful power ballads, and W2, who had the unenviable job of rowing at the bottom of the bottom division were a continuously cheerful presence down at the river and showed so much dedication in putting a crew together over such a short amount of time. It’s often said that a good crew gets three bumps, and a lucky crew gets blades. This was exemplified in our men’s 2nd boat and women’s 1st boat whose plans for river domination were sadly thwarted by various combinations of factors, again showing the unpredictable nature of bumps racing. M1 fought hard the whole term, having to contend with a shortage of rowers amongst other factors, and as their win in the novice plate at Bedford regatta showed, were certainly not lacking in talent. Although their bumps campaign may not have played out the way they wanted I for one couldn’t be prouder of their relentless drive and commitment to the sport.
We rounded the year off with our Summer Eights Dinner on the last day of Eights, preceded by a naming ceremony of the new women’s eight which is to be christened ‘Zona and David Hardy’ in honour of two individuals who have been vital supporters of the boat club for many years. It was inspiring to see the whole club- including numerous alumni members- gathered together, and was a real testament to the friendships which are formed out on the water and which are certain to be some of the most enduring relationships we enter into.
So those are the facts. But what these do not and cannot communicate is the way this club has moved forward over the past year. Some say that summer eights is the hardest of the inter-college competitions because there is such a short time to prepare, but I would argue that our preparation didn’t start in our pre-season training this term. It started on the day in fresher’s week when a boat full of novices holding the blade upside down, barely able to row in pairs, made its way shakily down the river. It started on the first stroke of the first ergo test of the year, and carried on through the moment when our novice A boat won Christchurch regatta, when two of our men’s crews won blades at Torpids, right up to the moment that our coxes released their hold on the bunglines at the start of eights. This year we have shown that a small college which does not have access to a large amount of funding need not be underrepresented when it comes to college sport. We may not be Head of the River, but if the achievements of this year are anything to go by there is every reason for the club to continue on its road to success and establish itself as a serious contender in college rowing. See you on the river!
Caroline Dobbin 
President 2008 – 09
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