Santa Claus Regatta Kettwig 9.12.2012

by Ana Brecan

On the 8th of December the Jacobs University Rowing Team left for Kettwig for the Saint Nikolaus Regatta. After 3 hours of fun driving and singing the team was ready for their first encounter with the river where the Sunday race was going to take place. The weather was sunny and charming. Once in the boat we forgot about the minus three degrees outside and just enjoyed the delightful landscape. With each stroke, the team was more and more motivated and exited. We were trying to imagine how tomorrow would be and got a better contact with the river and the path we would try to defeat the next morning. After the practice, our coach made many of us curious about the place we were supposed to sleep. He produced a lot of confusion into the freshies minds, such as mine by mentioning: “You are going to sleep on the water!”. And on the water it was!!! Even though at the beginning the room we were sleeping in was really cold we hoped it would get warmer by night. Instead of being worried about this the team gathered into the common room and shared food and stories. The atmosphere was warm and everyone was just happy to be together. The star of stories was Karim who shared with us unbelievable experiences. It made us all to be thankful for what we have and we almost forgot about how time was passing. Hunger was of course the alarm clock and at seven p.m. we left to have dinner in a pizzeria, traditional for our rowing team. The food was delicious and the rowing stories of our seniors made the evening complete. Our coach Lars seems to always have a motivating story to tell us and his rowing life, quit fantastic, awakes the interest of us all. In comparison with last year, as I heard from the seniors, Kettwig succeeded to have a Christmas Market. Of course we couldn’t miss the chance to get a hot Glüwein and experience a bit from the well-known German Christmas spirit. The market itself was much smaller in comparison with what we have in Bremen. However, the good spirit of our team made the place really lively. We even met some of the organizers of the Regatta. They welcomed us and, being really cheerful, they invited us for a second cup of Glüwein. Back to the boat house we spent one more hour talking and then we got ready for sleep. The room was now really warm and everyone was convinced they were going to have a nice sleep. Listening to the water sound created an interesting sensation: tomorrow we were going to do great! .


“Good morning ladies!” said Lars with a voice full of excitement and in half an hour we were all ready to go to the racing place. We got to know it snowed in Bremen and this would result in an hour delay of the team members who were supposed to join only on Sunday. This made us a bit sad since we would have wished to all have breakfast together. In spite of this, breakfast time was really pleasurable. The organizers were very welcoming and prepared a lot of things for us. Some of the team members started to be a bit worried about the race and you could see how excitement was taking over step by step. We were all expecting a lot from today and we tried to cheer each other up. We of course, started to make up funny stories regarding how our boat would capsize. We watched some funny rowing videos and by the time the rest of the team arrived we were all in a very good mood and welcomed them accordingly. At 11:15 the senior eight started warming up. The weather conditions had changed since the day before and it started raining a bit. We were not intimidated by this and kept our hopes up. Lars bought for us nice, blue Santa caps and it felt like our team has something special to differentiate us from the other teams. To motivate us even more he offered us small chocolate santa and he started a cheering song “How do we do it?, Like a steam machine: chup, chup, chup”. We loved it and the senior boat took off. The part of the team from the bank of the river was cheering with enthusiasm and we started running and tried to catch up with the boat as much as possible. We wanted to be near them and we had our hopes very high for their result. It was interesting to see how some of us refused to go inside even though they were all wet. We wanted to see their boat coming back, we wanted to cheer for them for the final strokes and then give them a warm hug once they were out of the boat. The seniors seemed very happy with their race and even though exhausted they were all smiling. They gave everything they could have given and now it was our turn, the freshie eight to try and keep up with their devotion and their result. During the warming up period we started dancing and the great feeling of belonging to a team was what kept everyone on a good pace. Lars was rowing with us which gave the team more confidence. For me personally it was amazing to see how involved he is with the team and how much he loves rowing and the team itself. I was taking Adriana ‘s place on bow and I must confess I needed her encouragement for the start. She is a great captain and I am very thankful to her. The race itself started with a few small problems but none of us got discouraged and with a lot of concentration we got better and better. It was fantastic to see how everyone was trying to work together for the best of the team. Even though tired, by the end of the race everyone tried hard and again Lars’s and Maria’s comments were keeping us up. I am very proud of my colleagues on bow: Marcie, Michael and Emre. The stroke side, with Laura, Imma and Domingo tried hard to keep up with Lars. As expected the seniors were there to cheer for us at the end of a spectacular race. Surprisingly, the Jacobs team felt like a super star at the Regatta since for some reason, the main organizer liked us a lot and he was always mentioning us on the microphone. He appreciated our spirit at the Christmas market and he was sure we were going to continue in the same manner at the race. And so we did. Worth mentioning is how Lars managed the team after the race. We gathered together and Lars encouraged each of us to talk about its feelings and impressions about the race. For us freshies it was really helpful to get an insight into what might go wrong and get some tips on how to manage the situation. In the same time to hear all the good things that happened during the race was highly motivating.


At the end of this wonderful weekend Lars announced that our senior team got 3rd place. Congratulations to Ale, Kerst, Ahmed, Ioana, Aleks, Andrei, Ulla, Marlou and Adriana! We are very proud of you! The young boat got 1 second behind the 4th place and we think this is a nice result for a first race. Last, one should not forget our heroes who raced twice : Ioana, Marlou, who joined Kareem and Sidhart in a sculling four coxed by Adriana.

I am writing this report while driving back to Bremen and the only thing that stays in my mind is the warm feeling of being part of a wonderful family, the Jacobs University Rowing Team. We have lived a weekend full of excitement. We had the chance to discover us, as both friends and teammates and we are all looking forward for the next race. Until then we are going to continue to train hard and enjoy our passion. I wish you all great 2k results next Saturday and a restful holiday.