The Club Column: Boat Club

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We caught up with Laura van Heezik and Max Perl to find out all about Boat Club. Here’s what they’ve been up to recently and how they are representing Lancaster in competitive rowing around the country.

As it’s quite early in term, there are yet to be any competitions to comment on. That said, Max is keen to point out that training has got off to a strong start. They have got a new coach who has brought a much more intensive training regime along with with them, which already seems to be getting the most out of the team. As the club is made up of competitive members only, Freshers’ Week is an important time for the team, who have had in excess of 400 applicants! Although they are still working their way through each individual, both Laura and Max said that they’ve seen some promising recruits already, including some who have rowed at college and school level.

Max tells me that Boat Club is a true commitment, mainly due to their intense training regime. And he isn’t joking when he says its intense! Seniors have eight training sessions a week, with novices having five. This is made up of a variety of circuit training, longer rows, weight sessions and gym sessions on the rowing machines – many of which involve 7am starts down on the River Lune. It’s certainly one that requires dedication, with Laura saying that the team are planning to increase the miles covered in training as a priority for this year.

Looking back on last year, Storm Desmond sadly damaged a lot of the club’s equipment, which essentially set them back a term on their training regime. Despite this they still managed to win some events, with both Laura and Max being particularly proud of their third place finish at the Durham Regatta.

The knock on effect of Desmond did mean that the rowing was cut to be worth half points at Roses. The club won two of their races, the novice men’s 4s and the senior men’s 8s, with Max adding that it was right down to the wire, despite York being much better equipped as a society. Looking forward to Roses 2017, Laura says that the women are hopeful for win this year, and also believes that chances will increase across the board due to their new coach and new, intensified training.

With Roses being a good few months off, we were keen to know about what competitions and events were happening soon for the club. There’s a 5km race in Chester taking place on the 29th of October which Laura highlighted. Max was keen to say that the team is still in preparation for the upcoming year, with an indoor race in the coming weeks being the first big competition for the men. In terms of other challenges for the coming year, Max pointed out that a lot of the seniors will be graduating this year, which means that training up their novices and making sure they have enough competitive races to allow improvement is an important focus point for the club this year.

Outside of competitions, the club certainly have an active social calendar. It’s clear to see, through spending so much time in training together, that they are a very close knit bunch. Every week they have a social, which are usually themed – and, Laura admits, usually drink-related, unless it’s just before a race! Max says that they are very fun, whether you’re a drinker or not, due to the closeness of the team. In the Club Column we always ask if there are any key team members, but both Max and Laura tell me that no such thing exists within Boat Club – the crew is so big, and as all races are either in fours or eights everyone has to pull their weight equally. The fact that men and women train together is another unique factor to the Boat Club, they are one of a handful of sports teams on campus that do this. Max says that this team spirit is one of the highlights of the team and may even be better than winning races. Laura is equally enthusiastic, saying that university life would be a lot worse without the team. She does add that winning at the Tees Regatta has been her best moment as a member of the club, though!

From speaking to both of them it’s clear to see that Boat Club is hard work, but equally rewarding in it’s success in races and also the friendships that are formed through their team spirit.

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