November 2011


Thursday, 03 November 2011 18:27 Written by Administrator


Rowing matters

We're well into the new season now and its really great to see so many Nottingham Rowing Club crews and scullers on the water. We seem to be dominating the river. Lots of squads are well into serious training and it seems to be even more intense and focussed than last year. Its also good to see so many crews out from the other Trentside clubs too – University, Trent, Medics and even the Union. It gives a great sense of Nottingham being a major centre for rowing.

On Saturday morning at the end of October I was down from 8am until 1pm and counted over 25 separate NRC crews and scullers out – most doing double outings. That’s over 60 athletes on the water. It was great weather too and I’m pleased we are making so much of it.

I went out with Dez on the launch to follow the women’s high performance squad in their second outing and to lend some much needed ballast to the launch. The launch is a great coaching asset to the club and something that I want as many members to benefit from as possible. There is no doubt that getting up really close to crews allows coaches to see faults and correct technique quickly. I think it also makes crews concentrate more as they are very conscious of the coach right on the stern. Dez told me that our top women’s crew are off number 1 ahead of the GB squad at this weekend’s Fours Head of the river. Giddy heights indeed. I hope we defend our Head Pennant and have a great row.

I chatted to Claire Parnell and observed her technical session of core strength exercises in sculling boats with the juniors in her squad. It’s a far cry from when I started up in Durham 30 years ago. The level of coaching in our club and generally is on a different planet from when I started. I very much doubt I could do those exercises without falling in. Many years of intense “chair-robics” have resulted in rather depleted core muscles on my part.

Talking to Dan Johnson the senior men’s coach is always a pleasure. His ready wit and erudite repartee always has me on my toes. He’s also making good use of the launch and the senior men’s quad is looking very smooth indeed and should have a good row too on Saturday.

Helen’s squad were also out in force – 4 boats – double outing, pacing each other. The men’s IM3 crew are really coming on. The women will also be doing the fours and the vet fours head this weekend.

The clubhouse at 10am was packed for tea, toast and donuts (please forgive the American spelling). There was a real buzz and energy around the place. Please remember to pay the right amounts for your tea and toast. It’s a good source of fundraising.

On Sunday there were plenty of crews out too.

As I arrived a vet D8 was out early, stoical, forthright. Pillars of our rowing club. Smiling like Victorian patriarchs.

The sculling ladder was just finishing and several other crews were going out. We welcomed 5 members from a visiting Dutch club and put them into 2 veteran eights. Also out were a vetC four which will be going to the vet fours head on Sunday. A long and good outing ensued and once again the weather was great. I think out Dutch visitors really enjoyed the outing and our hospitality. Just as we were coming off the water at about midday the junior group coached by Ashley arrived. It never stops.

The recent Nottingham Autumn Head resulted in 17 wins for the club across many categories. A great result and 7 better than last year if my memory serves well. We are off to a great start.

Good luck to all crews rowing at the fours head this weekend and for the forthcoming heads at Henley and York.

New training centre

I think everyone is making good use of the new gym facilities at Sims. I have not heard many complaints of conflicting or crowded sessions so I am using this as a bellwether that the schedules are working. Let me remind everyone that the scheduled sessions are assigned priority but not exclusivity. Please stick as much as you can to the assigned schedule, that way everyone can make best use of the facilities.

We have a great new torture machine called the Swingulator. Having just finished reading Wolf Hall – a novel set in the reign of Henry VIII which is full of politics, death and horrible torture I could not help but draw many things in NRC. This contraption would surely have had its place in the tower. I hope all are using it to good effect. Thanks to Andrew Wilson at Oarsport for making it available to us. 


Opening this month's edition of Rowing I was delighted to see our women’s quad give their views on training and racing. Its great publicity for NRC. Keith Atkinson, the club President, also summarises all results from every event we attend and regularly posts articles to local newspapers.

EGM / AGM update

At the meeting 2 weeks ago members of the club voted overwhelmingly to go ahead with the purchase of the Sims building, change the legal entity status of the club to a company limited by guarantee and for the Spooner fund to contribute to the purchase of the building.

The next steps on this are:

  • A working group consisting of Andy Brown, Paul Williamson, Mark Cooke, Tony Lorrimer, Steve Cuthbert and Geoff Nichols are meeting to work through this – 10 year cash-flows, business case, meeting with the bank, lawyers and tax specialists.
  • Fundraising. We will have to raise a significant deposit by next April. That’s going to be a challenging undertaking. As a club all members have got to get behind all efforts to raise these funds. The Duck race is an excellent way of raising money and I urge all members to get out and sell ducks.

The challenge ahead

We face a challenging season ahead on a number of fronts:

  • Funding Sims
  • Maintaining and beating last years success on the water
  • Adjusting to moving a lot of the club from HPP to Trentside and the inevitable pressure that brings on people, facilities and resources
  • Balancing all the requirements of a growing club.

We might not always agree on how we will do things but its important we don’t fall out, try to see things from others’ perspectives and work through any problems. In the event of prolonged disagreement I reserve the right to assume the mantle of Henry VIII and send people to the Tower.

We will provide a regular communication as to how things are progressing with the Sims purchase

Andy Brown (Club Captain)