Sports: Report - Women's Rowing 2019/20

This past year has been full of challenges and new discoveries for women’s rowing at Merton. The season started with quite a good number of senior rowers, motivated to do everything in their power to achieve a similar success to last year’s, and a very high number of novice rowers, interested in learning more about the sport. These two sides of Merton’s female rowers developed into a highly committed and determined team.

Although the weather has not been in our favour in Michaelmas term and we did not have access to water training, we put all our energies into land training. The seniors trained, together with rowers from other colleges, to compete in Fairbairn Regatta in Cambridge, where they rowed the Cam stretch one minute faster than the previous year. The novices, instead, were busy learning about rowing under the supervision of our wonderful Novice Co-Captains. Eventually, even though our own Christ Church Regatta did not take place, our two women’s squads did brilliantly at the Worcester Ergatta, with the women’s first team being the fastest team among the participating colleges.

With only four days of green flag on the Isis in Hilary term, our hopes and expectations for the new season soon disappeared, and once more we turned all our energies to land training. Away from the water, we learned about rowing technique either on rowing machines or by analysing various racing videos. Close to Torpids the girls were ready for the competition, which alas did not take place.

Trinity term has been the time when we all probably learned the most about rowing, although not only was the river not accessible, but even land training in groups was not feasible. The period of lockdown that our rowers have been, and are, living through asked us to understand better why we appreciate rowing at Merton and why we are not ready to give in with this sport. Beyond the great opportunity of learning a new sport and having access to some amazing equipment, rowing at Merton is about building a community and learning about yourself through it. We therefore decided to continue training remotely in Trinity term and throughout the summer, and to take an active part in rebuilding our community next year.

Constanta Burlacu (2018)
Women’s Rowing Captain 2019-20