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The Neptunes


October 2013 Volume 6, Issue 1

A New Leaf

Holly Smith, Vice-Captain

shedding their summer green and a host of fresh faces are seen wandering the college grounds. It can only mean one thing; Michaelmas is come again. But before we look forward, we are going to take a look back. In this issue of Neptunes, we revisit last term’s racing, which culminated in May Bumps where Murray Edwards fielded four crews for the first time in nine years (p. 2 to 4). MECBC boaties share their tales of summer rowing on the Cam, in France and in Vienna (p. 9 to 11), and Alumnae Officer Sally-Anne recounts her internship at MECBC’s sponsor, Barclays (p. 5). We also hear from New Hall alumna Fiona Stiedl (née Langham) about her memories of THE TREES ARE

rowing, winning, and eating crumpets with Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club in 1968 (p. 6). Some of our recent alumnae pitch in to tell us about life after Cambridge, what work they are doing now, and how rowing has helped them professionally (p. 7). On the topic of alumnae, we invite them along with supporters and members of MECBC to the Neptunes Dinner on February 15th 2014 in college—for more information see page 12. However, for boat clubs, Michaelmas term is all about the novices. I speak for everyone when I say MECBC looks forward to building on the fantastic base of results we have from Easter and training up all the budding rowers Murray Edwards has to offer. Many thanks to Henny, Harri and SallyAnne for putting this issue together.



Sally-Anne Bennett Alumnae Officer 2013–14

Something needed to change, and so Jess and Laura swapped places—a new stroke to invigorate our bumps campaign. It worked —sort of. We rowed with more energy and drive, but Churchill had had a similar change and got the bump on Kings, leaving us to a strong row over. The final day had us chasing Kings—finally, not Churchill! Kings were chasing a falling Magdalene so we knew we had to get them early. Sadly, we didn’t manage it and Kings bumped out quickly to leave us to our fourth and final row over of bumps. There was one accolade: we were the only boat on the river to row over on all four days. What an achievement! Overall, bumps didn’t show W1’s real ability and the tankards from Champs Head will really be my memory of the term.





Easter term W1 report


to get a place in W1 last term which gave the promising suggestion of competitiveness. Although we took a while to gel, we came together for the first race, Spring Head to Head, and rowed impressively through a tough headwind to come second in our division and 9th out of all college W1's—a solid start. Next it was Champs Head and another windy day; we won our division and shiny new tankards. We were impressed and daunted to see that our 2nd boat was only 8 seconds slower than us! After some disrupted training (for some reason exams take precedence over rowing in Easter term!) it was time for May Bumps and the chance to bump up into the 1st division, just as we’d done in Lents. Sadly, it was not to be. The first day we were chasing Churchill, who were chasing Kings at the top of the division (happily, we could ignore the boats behind us who never got close). We gained some whistles on Churchill but disappointingly couldn’t close the gap for the bump. All three boats rowed over, so the next day was an identical start-up. And, the same result—we all rowed over again. IT WAS A FIGHT

Michaelmas Term Races

MECBC is planning on entering these races in Michaelmas term 2013. The most up-to-date events listing as well as race results can be found on our website. 19th October: Autumn Head 12th November: Queens' Ergs 16th November: Winter Head 5th - 6th December: Fairbairn Cup Races


Easter term W2 report

Henny Schulte to Bühne

Publicity Officer 2013–14

Results Easter 2013

Spring Head to Head W1: 2nd in division Champs Head W1: 1st in division W2: 1st in division May Bumps W1: Retain station 3 in 2nd division W2: Up three in 3rd division W3: Up two in 4th division W4: Up one in 5th division


EASTER TERM ' S W2 was an amazing crew, who constantly tried to push harder and go faster. This may or may not have anything to do with us having been coached by the crush-worthiest pair of faces you're likely to see on a bank at 6 a.m. in the morning—but let's review the evidence. W2 had raced only once before May Bumps, in Champs Head. Proving that we really had grown together as a crew during training, we positively flew through this race, winning our division as well as coming out as the fastest W2. Along the way, we posted a better time than some W1s as well as some men's crews. Thus, we went into May Bumps floating on air. However, if we thought Magdalene W2 would wait for us to bump them, we thought wrong. They bumped out in front of us, leaving us to row over. We however refused to lose a wink of sleep about this, and calmly waited for our chance to take revenge. So, the next day, we cut right to the chase of FaT W2. We bumped them, and bumped them hard. On the third day, we smashed into Pembroke W3. To finish off in style, we bumped Selwyn W2 on the last day. We had become the beautiful nightmare of the 3rd division after all. I thus conclude that W2 is a good crew: for lucky crews get blades, but good crews go up 3. As Beyoncé might say, it's such a funny thing for me to try to explain, but we know that, in the end, these blades may be the best thing we never had. Thank you, girls and Matt and Alex, for such a fantastic term!


Easter term W3 report

Siena Carver

W3 got off to a slightly unbalanced start but with the help of our amazing coaches Pete Wilkes and Richard Dearden we managed to shake off the persistent stroke-side lean by the time Bumps had started. A crew-bonding pasta and brownie night commenced our Bumps campaign, which was on the whole successful with two bumps and two row overs to show by the end of the week. Overall, W3 had a successful Easter term, with plenty of potential in the boat too. In Christina's words, 'Power 10!' the boat club to victory next year. WING YING CHOW



W3 Easter term 2013


as a competitive crew with the objective of taking part in the May Bumps. Despite a difficult start to the term, we brought together the number of outings required thanks to our coach Watson and the help of many others such as Reana and Georgie. Not even a nasty combination of exams, illnesses and CUBC rules could finally force us to scratch from the Getting-on race. We qualified for May Bumps with a solid performance, gaining on the boat in front. For most of us it was our first Bumps experience, and for Laura her first series of races as cox. I expected it to be difficult for us to achieve something, since we were racing in Winston, a heavy boat, and started off sandwiched between third boats. But these things didn't really matter—Winston quickly caught up with Girton III, and W4 were the first boat to earn greenery for MECBC in the May Bumps campaign of 2013. What followed can be described as the full range of Bumps experiences: W4 rowed over, were bumped by Fitz III, and on the final day got the bump back on them. All in all we moved up one place in the order, and it was a great experience for all the crew. Easter term W4 report


Annelies Hammig


W4 Easter term 2013

Murray Edwards College Boat Club is proudly sponsored by



I joined Clydesdale ARC, and within 10 days of arriving in Glasgow I had been out in a quad, a double, a fat single, a racing single, and had coached their novices, whilst coxing for the first time. Despite my fears, I neither capsized nor crashed any boats, but I did learn the basics of sculling and coxing. Now to try both on the small and windy Cam… Without MECBC, my summer could not have been so successful. Quite apart from the skills (leadership, organisation, finance, teamwork, etc.) rowing and being on the committee has given me, I would not have applied to Barclays if not for the sponsorship. It’s as simple as that. Internship with Barclays

Sally-Anne Bennett Alumnae Officer 2013–2014


I had just signed the sponsorship contract with Barclays, on behalf of MECBC, and had had vague discussions about a careers session put on by Barclays for MECBC members. I had absolutely no idea that by now I would have just finished an intense 2 month internship with Barclays and accepted their graduate job offer. Entirely due to the subsequent CV session for MECBC, and after several rounds of interviews, I got the offer of an internship and prepared to go to Glasgow for 9 weeks of the summer. What a summer it was! Within Barclays, I was in an Operations Change Management team which included managing an improvements project within the team and doing some testing of new software, which I particularly enjoyed because it matched my logical thinking (I was a mathmo). My skills were actually useful to Barclays! My colleagues were incredibly helpful and welcoming—I can’t imagine a better working environment. I got on really well with all the other Glasgow interns too, which definitely helped me to settle in. I couldn’t spend all summer working though. I spent most weekends at tourist attractions, if I wasn’t spending time on the river. WING YING CHOW JOHN GIBB



Beginning of Women's rowing on the Cam

Fiona Stiedl

there was only one women’s boat for the whole University in those days. The CUWBC did exist, but boasted only one vessel which was kept in the boat shed of Jesus College. Women who rowed or coxed could be from New Hall, Newnham or Girton, the three women’s colleges. In 1972 King’s, Churchill and Clare began to admit women. The ratio of men to women at the University before that was about 9:1. And on the Cam it was more like 90:1, though the shorts did us no favours. I can’t remember how I became involved with rowing, I was un-sportive before and have been since, but I had pottered around some backwaters of the Norfolk Broads in an ordinary rowing boat. There was no competition to get a place in the boat, or I would not have found myself in it. I can’t remember how often we ‘trained’. Perhaps it was most weekdays. The most important aspect of ‘training ‘ was said to be eating large amounts of food to get our weight up, and teatime crumpets were especially recommended. Now that rooms don’t have gas fires for toasting them, the significance of crumpets may be lost. I also worked out my own version of what is now known as carbohydrate loading, which was to drink a can of pineapple juice and eat half a packet of glucose tablets before a race. FIONA STIEDL


Women's Boat 1968-71


Our rowing gear was purchased from the men’s outfitters on Trumpington Road, and the shorts, while good for leaning forward after all the crumpets, were in all other respects utterly incongruous. I hope that some more womanfriendly ones are now available. In the first two years I rowed at 2 but in the third year I was promoted to Stroke, and there are patchy memories of rowing against the Civil Service’s only Women’s Boat, taking a record long time to win—seeing the tide ripping around the piers of Barnes railway bridge and threatening to engulf us—and winning on a misty morning against Oxford (also, one women’s boat) when the daunting appearance of our No. 6, her knuckles almost brushing the ground, made the opposition want to declare us winners in advance of the race. Those two opponents were I think the only other women’s boats around. In the Bumps they mixed us up with the men’s colleges’ lesser boats, and we came back with bits of willow stuck into our prow every time. I liked all the other women in the boat and there was a great camaraderie between us. I remember us all cycling along the towpath, weaving between the boat sheds, while carrying our oars on our shoulders. In 1971 we were given all Full Blues because of our victories and also because of turning out on bitterly cold mornings, though I hadn’t noticed that it was early or cold—the innocence of youth! I have never rowed since, but if I get on a rowing machine in a gym the body memories come back. It still feels easy compared to anything else.


Noviced with MECBC Rowed/coached Mich 2008–Easter 2011, Mich 2012–Easter 2013 Committee positions: Lower Boats Captain, Captain of Boats

What I am doing now: Private Equity Real Estate Investment About MECBC: Being a rower gave me mad time management skills. MECBC creates a network of friendly professional women for life, everywhere. Only this morning I met an exMurray Edwards Boat Club Captain in a property networking event and it made me appreciate MECBC. Still rowing? No, but I’m still in touch with the boat club so I feel like I am.

Pauline Pilote


Noviced with MECBC Rowed Mich 2010–Easter 2011, and Mich 2012–Easter 2013 Committee position: General member

Alumnae corner

What I am doing now: Teaching in Cambridgeshire (currently in a beautiful school behind the Plough teaching year 5/6) About MECBC: Rowing is great for perspective; no problems at work can be as expensive or inconvenient as snapping a boat. And a whole bunch of useful time management and organisational skills which have been absolutely essential for having any sort of work-life balance. Still rowing? Up until October this year I was still rowing, and I just took part in the Boston Marathon this summer. I probably won’t stay out of a boat for too long.

Ola Janusz Noviced with MECBC Rowed/coached Mich 2009– Easter 2013 Committee positions: Social Secretary, Lower Boats Captain


Eve Bonner

What I am doing now: starting a PhD in France About MECBC: As a foreigner on my year abroad and most willing to improve my English, entering MECBC is probably the best idea I've ever had when first coming to Cambridge! It helped me meet a whole bunch of lovely people I could talk to, making new friends and improving my English on a daily basis. MECBC made me enjoy my first year in Cambridge so much that I couldn't wait to come back and apply to come for another year! Still rowing? Yes! But most probably in a pair!

We have asked recent graduates how their time with MECBC has benefitted them beyond their time at Cambridge. 7

Getting The Boats Out

What do you need to get a boat out? Eight rowers, a cox, a boat? In fact, we all know there is much more that has to be considered before we can get on the water: we have to be insured, pay for repair and upkeep of Octopussy, Owen, Winston, Dame Rosemary and Two Fat Ladies and the boat house. Cox boxes and life jackets have to be provided; race entries have to be paid... Luckily, we can count on the support of our sponsor, Barclays, as well as our donors to help keep subs for members low and thus make rowing a sport accessible to everyone at Murray Edwards College.

To all of those who help us get the boats out: Thank you!

WALL OF HONOUR Thanks for donations in 2013:

Abbe Brown

Elizabeth Aiken

Catherine Elwood Wing Ying Chow

Anonymous donor Thanks to the generous donations from alumnae and supporters and sponsorship by Barclays, in 2012–13, MECBC was able to...

...receive extra coaching at a training camp in Fumel ...subsidise travel to London for WEHoRR

...continue repaying the loan for Octopussy ...subsidise crew tops for novices a much-needed new coxbox

...equip the boathouse with another erg.


If you would like to make a donation to MECBC, please visit or email our Fundraising Officer Harri at if you have any further questions.



1. Apparently, TFL is not only weighted for heavier rowers, but also designed for taller rowers – no, the foot plate and rigger can’t be adjusted any further, Nadia. 2. You should never let go of your blades in a double and both of you should definitely not do it at the same time. 3. In the summer, reeds under the surface of the water like to wrap around your blades and cause you to spend ten minutes extracting yourself (or else risk capsizing). 4. The Reach is not in fact straight and the Cam becomes even bendier in the summer heat. 5. “Wait” is a very confusing call and should not be included on the list of calls your cox is allowed to use. Most importantly, rowing never ends and summer sculling is amazing! Thanks so much to Eve and Alex for putting up with us.

for rowing on the Cam, a heat wave, long daylight hours…but where did all the rowers go? I was at bow at one end, and Nadia, a cox, was left at the other. With the rest of the crew missing, this had ‘disastrous outing’ written all over it! PICTURE PERFECT WEATHER

Summer sculling

Nadia Tsao & Emma Heydon

Two rowers and one double scull had much better odds of success. Enter Two Fat Ladies sunning herself outside on the racks. Now to find a willing victim to sacrifice his or her sleep for early morning outings all summer. You mean to say two such people exist? Maybe they were doing it for the entertainment value, but whatever the reason, we had secured ourselves a bank party in the form of Alex Massey and Eve Bonner. Right then—one boat, two rowers, two coaches, and a gloriously empty river. Just a handful of other doubles and singles were quietly gliding around the corners and the occasional coxed IV or VIII shattering the peace. The swans liked to attempt low flying passes over the boat—really low. With shorts and t-shirts the standard rowing kit and sunburn replacing hypothermia as the dominant threat, we learned many things on the Cam this summer.


W2/W3 Easter Term 2013


Rowing in Vienna


W4 Easter term 2013

joined a rowing club in a town next to Vienna, where I rowed twice a week for a month. On my first outing I was amazed; rowing on the River Danube was a lot different to on the Cam. It literally felt like something out of the Sound of Music; I was rowing on a huge river surrounded by a stunning landscape of hills, forests and pebbled banks. The clubhouse itself was picturesque, too. We would row 13km in either 4s or 5s, and in the July heat wave it was tiring work. Sometimes when the current was really strong it hardly felt like we were moving. Our outings were always interesting; we once talked to an old man who was just floating along in the middle of the river! The club also rowed in sculling boats, so after sorting out my hand coordination, I learnt how to scull! The members were so welcoming, they’ve invited me to row with them next year. I won’t forget my last outing where we pulled in on the shore and went for food at a Gasthaus, before rowing back in a breathtaking sunset.





THIS SUMMER I was lucky to benefit from the college’s




Gateway Challenges Funding, which allowed me to spend two weeks working as a voluntary assistant coach in a boat club near Annecy, in France. I assisted their current professional coach, and watched him train rowers whose level ranged from complete beginner to participant in the French National Championships. Most of their rowers are young students, between 10 and 18 years old, so their main focus is sculling and small boats.

Coaching in France

Laura Désert


Lower Boat Captain 2013–14

I was put in charge of coxing a quad and then an octuple for an outing. However without a cox box, I was really just a glorified rudder. I also found that the rowers in the quad tended to have a mind of their own and were quite happy to discuss with me which line to take, and if in disagreement with me, to steer the boat into the direction they wished. No need to say that, having been taught since novicing that in the boat the cox is like a god, I was outraged. The coach I was following explained the rigorous training programme for rowers aiming for the National Championships, which consisted of 3 or 4 outings per week and a main body of weights and ergs, focussing on general fitness. While chatting with the young girls who were following this programme, I discovered that they had similar concerns as me regarding time management in balancing work and rowing. I would say that what surprised me the most was noticing the lack of motivational shouting during erg tests (how do they not just give up?!). The biggest lesson I learnt from my experience was without a doubt the value of patience as a coach, especially with the younger, less experienced rowers. This will undoubtedly be useful when I, along with fellow Lower Boat Captains Rowanne and Katie, begin the arduous yet worthwhile task of training MECBC’s new novice rowers up to a competitive level. Bring on Michaelmas!


SAVE THE DATE: Active members, alumnae and friends of MECBC are cordially invited to




The Neptunes Dinner Saturday, 15th February

To keep up to date with MECBC, for race reports and club history, visit or like our facebook page If you are an alumna and would like to get back in touch, our Alumnae Officer, Sally-Anne, would love to hear from you (








If you would like to attend, please contact the social secretaries Catherine and Jess at Invitations to follow.

The Neptunes October 2013 by Murray Edwards College Boat Club is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Some rights reserved.

The Neptunes October 2013 Volume 6 Issue 1  
The Neptunes October 2013 Volume 6 Issue 1  

Find out about our May Bumps campaign, alumna Fiona Stiedl's experiences in the University's Women's Boat 1968-71, and where in Europe MECBC...