Novices, a mixture of freshers, current students, and visiting students, try out rowing or coxing for the first time in October at the beginning of Michaelmas term. Whether you are new to Oxford and want to try something else, or you’ve been in Oxford for years and just want to give it a go, Catz novice rowing is a great place to start. There are talks throughout fresher’s week, stalls at the St. Catz Fresher’s Fair, and a day of taster sessions at the training tank and on the river, usually accompanied by a BBQ at the boathouse! Before proper training kicks off, all new rowers and coxes must take a swim test at Iffley Sport’s Centre. Then it’s full steam ahead getting novice boats ready to compete in Christ Church Regatta at the end of Michaelmas term.
Training takes the form of erg sessions, tank sessions and river outings. Erg sessions are about technique and strength. Tank sessions deal with more complex technique such as feathering and squaring the blade, and moving as a crew. River outings are the real chance to come together as a team and really get going on the water.
After all this initial training, and the fun competitive spirit of the regatta, the novices join the seniors and embark on the next stage of their rowing career.
Senior rowers train all year round in preparation for the two main college level rowing events of the academic calendar, Torpids and Summer Eights. Both of these regattas are bumps style racing and take place in Hilary and Trinity terms respectively. There are also many external regattas entered by various crews from both the men and women’s squads throughout the academic year. Senior crews are expected to train all year round and maintain a good level of fitness through the long Oxford holidays. Training takes the form of ergs, river outings and weights and fitness sessions.