At times the stress and disruption caused by the pandemic felt like it might derail another Boat Race. There were days that my crewmates and I questioned our love for the sport – an appetite for endless ergos can only last so long. But removing significant chunks of a typical Boat Race campaign eventually served to highlight why rowing at OUBC is so special. In essence it is the camaraderie that saw us through.
Adjusting our program to life in lockdown was not easy nor a quick fix. It took time to find our groove and there was a significant period of trial and error before getting it right.
Initially, we ran a program akin to our summer training that allows for a high degree of flexibility and rower-autonomy but then we embedded more structure and fixed daily workouts and our output improved. The coxes continued to provide support and led the virtual erg sessions, and the coaches pushed our technical development via remote video analysis. Returning to the water and finessing our crew in the last few weeks required a high degree of collaboration and focus but I am confident we now have what it takes to win the Boat Race.
It has been nearly eighty years since Oxford last raced Cambridge at Ely. This year presents us with a rare opportunity to beat Cambridge on their home water. It is a significant source of motivation for our squad, and it is an opportunity we fully intend to take. We want to beat Cambridge on their own water.