Team Solent Rowing Season Highlights

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We interview Team Solent Rowing social secretary, Stephanie Macdonnell to find out how the last season went for the squad. You can meet the team at this year’s Sports Fayre 2014 which will be held at the Guildhall Square on Thursday 25 September! Join the official event on Facebook

Tell us how last season went for your team and did it reach your expectations?

I think we’ve had our ups and downs, each squad got off to a strong start with training, we were all keen to compete and had a lot of races lined up. The freshers did really well in Bristol back in December, with the fresher boys and senior girls both taking home gold. Unfortunately due to the weather conditions a lot of the races were cancelled, so the team (especially the freshers) haven’t had the opportunity to excel themselves further but training has been consistent and we are all looking forward to BUCS!

How did the Freshers settle in? Did you have many new joiners?

We had loads of people sign up which was exciting! Although during the trial period I think the boys had their work cut out for them as a lot of them turned up where as only a handful of girls showed up. I believe they’ve settled in well, when you’re training as much as we down at Coalporters (the club we are associated with) it almost becomes a second home, and it helps that there is such a friendly, relaxed environment there.

Who can join the team?

Anybody! That’s one of the great things about the rowing club, you don’t have to have had any previous experience. When I joined I had no knowledge of how to row or what any of the technical terms were! We are lucky to have the coaches we do to teach us everything we now know. Rowing is a sport that requires a lot of patience and dedication and that’s all we ask of people who decide to join!

How did the teams socials go last year?

I’ve had my moments as the club social secretary, it’s a job I love and take a lot of pride in but it can be challenging at times. Training is tough so it’s good we have our socials to let our hair down! When we all come together and drink things can get, interesting…we’ve dressed up as old people, pirates and worn nothing but bin bags! But we’ve had fun and made memories, still more to come though!

What were last season’s highlights?

The fresher men 8 crew winning gold at their first race was a big achievement for the club, along with the senior girls coming 1st in their race. Not only that but the fresher men 4 crew and both the fresher girl crews finished in the top 5! We also held an indoor rowing event, competing against Portsmouth and Southampton university, it was great day and we went home with some medals!

What is a typical training session for Team Solent Rowing?

It varies between squads as we have different coaches. Obviously, we have to get out on the water and practice as much as we can but training off the water is essential to keep up our strength and fitness for times when we can’t get out and row. Water sessions are more likely to take place in the early morning and in the evening most of us are down the club working on our core strength, doing weights or rowing on an indoor machine. We also have a sponsorship agreement with The Gym which allows us free passes, so a lot of us take advantage of that when we can!

What were the team’s toughest challenges to overcome last season?

Not being able to compete in races due to the bad weather conditions. It’s a shame as we have a lot of potential with in the team, each crew and their coach puts so much time and energy into their training. It throws you off when a race gets cancelled at the last minute, but that’s rowing for you, it can be unpredictable! You can’t let it discourage you from training, that’s not the attitude to have in rowing. You have to take it in your stride, think positive and train even harder for the next race which is what we’ve been doing.

What are the plans in moving the team forward next academic year?

That’s up to whoever is elected as the new club president! Dan Shoobridge, our current president has really carried the club well this year and I’m sure that whoever is next to be elected will do just as good! Hopefully, there will be a lot more races and more opportunities for Solent rowing to show just how much of a dedicated team we are!


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