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End of Semester Review 2020

There hasn’t been much to report on this semester- no competitions, no club dinners, not even any boats for most of us! Instead, here’s a roundup of all the little things that have happened and have highlighted the resilient spirit that makes UStABC so special.

It started in September with training bubbles being implemented. This meant training in small groups, which really changed the dynamic and meant it took quite a while for us to meet all our new members. Our Covid Officers on committee worked really hard to make sure training was as safe as possible, but this did mean some changes took place. With no access to boats for water training, erg sessions became the highlight of the week- a mark of what strange times these are…

As a club we have adapted and made the best of the unusual situation of being a rowing club with no rowing. UStABC briefly became more of a cycling team, with members heading out to lay down the miles on the roads of Fife, though we found plenty of opportunities to stop for pancakes along the way as well.

There were some highlights to the semester when some events were able to go ahead, albeit online. Saints Regatta was a huge success in September, with the organising committee working quickly to transform the event into a virtual competition with competitors from across the world taking and raising money for the mental health charity SAMH. Competitors could run, erg or row 500m and submit their times, and an informal and socially-distanced competition took place one West Sands for running competitors in St Andrews to do their race.

Although we were unable to enter at the last minute because of changing restrictions, the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships would have been the peak of our training this semester. Instead lots of our members volunteered remotely as race marshals to help the event go smoothly for those who were able to race.

Once again our members took on the challenge of fundraising for Movember, raising over £600 in one month. With social distancing in place, the facial hair efforts were harder to spot, though our President Ailsa also ran 60km on top of training, and we had fun taking part in a virtual Games Night to raise money.

We also adapted to make ‘off the water’ events happen too. Online socials took place which helped us get to know new members, and at various times when restrictions allowed we were able to meet in small groups for scavenger hunts or go for coffee under our new mentorship scheme. The Senior Women’s squad also made and sold Christmas-themed facemasks to fundraise for the club. Eden Boat Club hosted a very successful careers event, where our members were able to get to know alumni and hear stories from sectors as wide ranging as teaching, photography and politics. It was great to hear how rowing can help lead to such a diverse range of futures and big thank you must go to the Eden BC Committee for organising.

All in all, there has been no ‘news’ as such from us this semester, but that doesn’t mean nothing has happened. We’ve all adapted and learnt from a very strange period and undoubtedly discovered things that we will take forwards as restrictions ease. For now we are heading back to training at home again over Christmas, ready for the return to St Andrews and (hopefully!) some real rowing in the New Year!

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