During the University’s two-week spring break, each of our squads completed a week-long training camp, kindly hosted by Belfast Rowing Club. Our men’s teams headed out on 17th March for the first week, allowing them to properly recover before racing in London at the Head of the River Race. On 24th March, our women’s teams headed over for the second week.
Have a read about each camp from reports written by our Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s Captains, Henry and Morgan!
Men’s Training Camp – Henry Marles
The focus for the senior men going into training camp this year was to improve our ability to row in larger crews using a similar rowing style; the purpose of this being to prepare as well as possible for Head of the River in London the subsequent week. Fortunately – despite my best efforts to give everyone food poisoning with some questionable cooking – I think we have come a lot closer to where we need to be to perform at our best in the eight on the Tideway and in other crews in the upcoming regatta season.
The beginning of the week saw a lot of sessions experimenting with different combinations in small boats and fours to get different members of the squad used to rowing together. This had the added effect of giving the squad more chance to work on the finer points of balancing boats while we had respite from the Scottish wind. The sessions were predominantly long rows in the morning followed by harder pieces and some rhythm work. On Thursday, with the arrival of Jordan – and some much-needed technical expertise as a result – we spent the majority of our time on the water in the eight with a large technical focus due to the short period of time until Head of the River. This involved deconstructing the stroke slightly, so we were all rowing in the same way; the benefit of this was massive as many of us were not fully aware of our differences in styles of rowing. The week finished with match racing against Belfast Rowing Club in fours. Two scratch crews were put out so although the racing didn’t go in our favour, we could be happy that we had progressed greatly in our ability to row in crews throughout the week.
Overall, the camp was a great success and the whole squad came closer together throughout the week. Importantly, our rowing progressed very quickly due to the technical focus of the camp so we hope to carry this forward to Head of the River and the regatta season.
Women’s Training Camp – Morgan Hartley
The Women’s Camp was a great opportunity for the senior and novice squads to get in an a focused week of training before the start of regatta season. We completed three sessions per day. In the mornings, we focused on our mileage with long paddles, then worked on technical sessions and practised pieces in the afternoons.
A week away from university gave us the time to try out different crew combinations that may work for our upcoming regattas, such as the Strathclyde Park and BUCS Regattas. After this time spent really focusing on our technique and cohesion, we feel confident and excited moving into the regatta season.
The weather in Belfast was fantastic and the water was perfectly flat every day, a nice change from the windy weather we’d been having recently in Scotland! The week was a great opportunity for squad bonding; on the last day of camp the seniors and novices went out in some mixed boats, which was really fun.
All in all a great week of rowing and team bonding, now back to university to finish my dissertation before summer rowing begins!