2024: the year ahead for our squads

21st January, 2024

Sharon Manhi and Sharon Alcock: Masters Women

We have been developing new ways of working and now have a healthy set of around a dozen women on the Stax app, most of whom are keen to race two or three times a season, with others happy to continue to build their skills as regular sit-ins.

As well as competing in races, the squad aims have widened to also include rowing challenge events (watch this space) that bring with them that sense of achievement as well as social bonuses.

We have regular seats at erg nights and have been enjoying circuits since they started, so fitness is building and it’s been great to see the level of commitment and focus on common goals, whilst always enjoying the wider support and friendship this squad excels at.

Other responsibilities, careers, availability and sometimes injuries do make organisation of our weekend outings tricky at times. But currently we have squad training for named crews organised through to the end of March. We’re aiming to race an 8 at Henley 4s and 8’s, as well as Avon Head, with consideration being given to Wycliffe and/or Gloucester as a gamble against the weather-stops-race lottery. The Head of the Dart and Vesta Vets are also in our sights.

It’s been particularly enjoyable, over the winter, for some of us to sit in for Andy Rogers Masters Men’s 8 outings, and we will (hopefully) keep this up as well as benefitting from the occasional coaching input from Andy Ursell at these times and when we share S2 on Sundays.

Efforts are ongoing to entice others to give us the coaching once-over – no weekly commitment needed – so any offers from lovely volunteer coaches will be lapped up and come with coffee and/or cake as negotiated. Please do speak to either of us, thank you.

Andy Tyler: Masters Men

Our squad goal is to be as inclusive as possible, to integrate new members and maximise opportunity for all men’s masters to train and race at appropriate levels. With training, we aim to ensure there are suitable programmes for each of us to achieve our individual performance targets

Our racing goals are to compete successfully at regional, national and international masters events, including the 2024 World Masters in Brandenburg, Germany.

Finally and most importantly, we aim to make all the above is enjoyable!”

Juliet Phillipson: Midweekers

We aim to continue our successes of the past two years, growing the squad through our Learn To Row courses; we have a LTR course running through the winter this year as an experiment to get beginners competent on the water faster. All Midweekers learn to cox too, each taking their turn on a rota.

Midweekers now have a near equal balance of genders in the squad, many of whom have already passed their single sculling competency. We will continue to encourage midweekers to achieve single sculling competency this summer and we also aim to have more foot steerers signed off so can enter local races without Minerva being our only competition!

Two of our squad have achieved launch competency – Sarah Kendall and Steve Cheasely – a useful skill for the whole club to be aware of – and we have a crew who have the Head of the Dart in their sights again this year (they raced in it in 2023).

Midweekers squad aims to continue to bring in new members to the club, maintaining its reputation as a friendly, welcoming group for all levels of rower. Especially those who love to socialise, have fun and eat cake!

Matthew Hunter: Senior Men

The senior men’s squad will be targeting two main races this year Head of the River Race (HORR) at the end of head race season (Saturday 23rd March) and Henley Royal Regatta at the end of our main Regatta season (July 2-7).

We will be attending various other races around these to prepare. The main goal for the year is to qualify for Henley Royal Regatta for the fourth consecutive year!



Ellie Dargie: Senior Women

The senior women’s squad will be targeting two main races this year women’s head of the river Race (WeHORR) on 9th March and Henley women’s Regatta at the end of our main Regatta season. We will be attending races such as Worcester and the regatta on Downey lake to prepare us for these races.

The goal for the squad is to send at least one crew to Henley women’s qualifiers for the second year in a row. We have had various new members join the squad over the last few months meaning we can get eights out the majority of weekend sessions and we hope to continue to increase the squad size.

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