The Lady Victoria Boat Club at Queen’s University of Belfast

The first few weeks

By Aenne Schoop

Hey there fellow Jacobs Rowing Team members and alumni!

I am currently in Belfast, Northern Ireland, for my MSc of Political Psychology. Today is actually my one-month anniversary here, and I am already very involved in the rowing team. I originally didn’t intend to commit to this again, as I thought it might take up too much time. And honestly, it rains here ALL the time, which makes coxing so much less fun.

But then, one semi-sunny day during welcome week, I walk out of the store and there is a guy with an oar on his shoulder. “Why in the world are you carrying an oar through the city??” “I am recruiting freshmen to try rowing! Do you want to sign up?” “Um, I’m a postgrad, and I am a cox.” “SERIOUSLY?!? Please come join the team, we don’t have a cox for our senior eight! Are you free tomorrow at 10am?”… There you have beginning of my career.

Since then I have training every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 6:30 am. Sometimes I also help out with the Intermediates, which then is on Monday and Wednesday at 5pm. These training sessions are obviously only a tiny bit of what my 8 boys really do. Today the second session had to be cancelled due to heavy rain (…), so that after the (added Wednesday morning session) 18k on the water, they have to do the 4×2.5k on the ergs. They have weights sessions, strength and conditioning circuits, and endurance days. Overall, there’s at least 2 sessions a day, and I think they get Friday afternoon off. Mick, the full-time coach, supervises all this. He’s really nice, but also demanding and says things straight out. He still tries to swear in Northern Irish slang so I wouldn’t understand! And he absolutely hates girls rowing. We have 2 separate female coaches for that, one other guy for the intermediate boys, one for the novice boys. It’s really very luxurious.

There’s no free afternoon this Friday, though. We are leaving Belfast at 6:45 am to fly to London, where we will be competing in the Jubilee Regatta on Sunday: As far as I know, this is happening on the same lanes that were used during the Olympics! It’s really quite awesome. But it costs a lot of time. Luckily, my MSc program allows for this time commitment. And I am already so used to getting up at 5:45, that I wake up at that time even if I can sleep in until 8! But hey, these boys are really good, and the plans for this season include going to Newcastle, training camp in Spain, the London Head, the Irish University championship (which they won last year), London Mett, and of course, Henley. Sounds pretty good, right?

I will try to take some pictures later on, and during the weekend, but for now, Easy There!