Rowing is the most popular sport at Cambridge with over half the student population trying it at some point. It is also one of the few sports you can do sitting down! The two sets of university bumps races are some of the largest sporting events in the country. For example, May Bumps has around 1800 people competing from across the university. There are also numerous other races run by colleges and the town clubs throughout the year. Any member of Robinson is welcome to train and compete with us. We are the largest society in college comprising of people of all ages and degrees.
How Can I Get Involved?
In freshers week we run a taster session at the boathouse. Here you can have a go in small stable 2-man boats called tubs as well as meeting the club and finding out what rowing is all about! For the remainder of Michaelmas term we run novice crews. You’ll learn the basics of rowing and will compete in several novice races towards the end of term culminating in the Fairbairn Cup run by Jesus College Boat Club.
Away from the water there are numerous other events including curries, pub nights, swaps with other boat clubs, trips to Funky Fun House (a soft play area) and our three massively popular boat club dinners at the end of each term.
If you have rowed or coxed before coming to Robinson then we’d love to hear from you. You can join straight in with the senior squads which races both in Cambridge and elsewhere. Please contact the captains for more information.
If you miss out on the Michaelmas novice program do not worry! It’s always possible to join in with the lower boats and start at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions
“Do you have to be an athlete?” You don’t have to be (not yet, anyway!) We train and accommodate all levels of fitness. All you need is the desire and commitment to improve. We have had people go from being extremely ‘unsporty’ to rowing in the first May boat and beyond. Although if physical exertion isn’t for you, you might consider coxing. Coxes are in charge of steering the boat as well as leading and motivating the crew through a race. A crew is nothing without their cox!
“Where do you train?” We are fortunate enough to use Lady Margaret Boat Club’s (St John’s) boat house. It is a 10 minute cycle from college and has a fully equipped gym with weights and rowing machines (ergs). We have a modest but well maintained fleet for training and racing.
“How often do you train?” You can commit as much or as little time as you like to rowing: As a novice you might have 2 water sessions a week with 1 indoor. The senior crews train 5-8 times a week in total depending on the boat and time of year. There is plenty of time left for a degree and socialising!
“How much does it cost?” Rowing at Robinson is very affordable and far cheaper than an outside club. There is no membership fee as we are generously funded by both college and our alumni (“The Pegasus Boat Club”). All the race entry fees and equipment are paid for as well. One thing that does cost money is club kit which you are eventually expected to have. Senior crews often come back a few days before term starts for additional training so pay a bit extra in rent. Boat club dinners and socials are entirely optional to attend as well but you may also find yourself buying more food as rowers need a lot of calories!
“What is there to aim for?” Robinson crews compete (and sometimes win!) in nearly every race on the Cam but occasionally go further afield. Recently we have competed at the Men’s and Women’s Head of the River Races on the Thames (Where the Oxford and Cambridge Boat race takes place), Kingston Head and Wallingford Regatta at Dorney (where the Olympics were). The main focus of Lent and Easter terms are the bumps races – a unique form of racing involving chasing and trying to ‘bump’ (literally) the boat in front before being bumped by the one behind!