Welcome back!

Welcome back to the start of another exciting year for Queen's Rowing! The new Public Relations managers for the club are myself (Oliver Graham) and Jennifer Whittaker. We are both in the second year of our degree courses at Queen's, and after competing as novices last year we are about to begin our second season of rowing.

This year, our goal is to increase the regularity and quality of the updates that are being released by the club. With this strategy in mind we will be updating this blog every two weeks, informing everyone about what is happening at the club. On top of this we will continue to update our Facebook page: Queen's Rowing, as well as an increased twitter presence: @queensrowingni.

Our first article of the year is a welcome from our club captain's Luke McCann and Alicia Green (pictured below).

Captains

Alicia Green Ladies' Club Captain

Hi, my name is Alicia Green and I am in the second year of a Politics degree. Since joining the club last September I have been warmly welcomed into its friendly environment, and I very quickly became immersed in the club. This was made all the easier by the hugely welcoming and friendly existing members. I began rowing at the age of 15 at Gloucester Rowing Club in England and quickly fell in love with the sport competing at British Championships for a number of years. Having taken a bit of time out of rowing before joining Queen’s, I missed the sport and knew I wanted to join the Ladies Boat Club once I got here. It truly was one of the best decisions I have made since moving to Belfast and I would urge anyone who is sitting on the fence to take the leap and give it a go! Being so heavily involved in the club is highly rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for the world – I spend my time here with some of my best friends and really couldn’t be happier.

Queen’s Ladies’ Boat Club has achieved great success over the last year with impressive performances in a number of events across Britain and Ireland with the girls in the novice eight earning the title of Irish Champions by an impressive margin. Strong performances from members of all squads in the club meant that although we didn’t close the year with as many titles as we would have hoped, the girls certainly impressed with their determination and resilience. Reaching finals in a number of events is an achievement that can never be taken lightly and is something that we hope to build on in the coming year with the aim to secure more medals and victories than before. In travelling overseas to compete in huge international events such as the Women’s Head and Henley Regatta, the girls gained invaluable experience of racing at the highest level with some of the most prolific talents in the rowing world. The girls held their own at these events, proving that Queen’s University is not only a threat at University Championships but at large scale events with crews from all over the world. 

Whilst the challenge of winter training looms large for all at the boat club, the environment created by the personalities and strong relationships within the club make a seemingly daunting prospect something to be enjoyed as the squads work together to lay down a strong foundation for next year’s regatta season. It is only through hard work and dedication by the girls that the club can go on to succeed more and more so every girl works extremely hard nurturing friendly rivalries to improve both fitness and technique in order to produce the highest quality crews that we can. This training and determination would mean nothing without the enduring support of the coaches and volunteers at the club, without whom the club would not function. A huge thanks to all who helped the Ladies’ Club last year, we really do rely on that support to move forward as a club and we can only hope that in the coming year this dedication to the girls and their goals can help in producing some fantastic results.

I’d just like to close by saying how excited I am for the year ahead and what is to come for Queen’s Ladies’ Boat Club. We all love the sport of rowing and put an enormous amount of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears to achieve our goals and I can’t wait to see what’s to come from this ever improving club and its amazing members and supporters!

Luke McCann Men's Club Captain

Hi, I'm Luke McCann, Captain of QUBBC for the 2014-15 season. I would like to briefly introduce myself, and tell you a little about our plans for this season.
 
 I've been rowing in Belfast since I was a junior, and I'm now going into my 8th year of rowing. I'm in final year of my Psychology degree, with plans to stay on for a postgraduate course.  During my years as a junior I would always see Queen's training on the river, and always aspired to join their ranks. I feel very privileged to now be captain to the club I have been looking up to for so long. 
 
Last season had a mix of ups and downs, with a great start to the year and some excellent wins at BUCS, but unfortunately we did not achieve what we hoped come Henley and the Irish Championships. Retention of experienced rowers after Christmas was poor, leaving us with just enough to field an inter 8. We have learned from this however, and have changed both social sides of the club and aspects of the training programme to have much greater retention this season. We also have excellent numbers to start with, with over 25 athletes returning from previous years. Overall, with the training programme I have set up with head coach Mick Desmond, and with the number and quality of the athletes we have this year, I am confident we are building up to a very successful season. 
 
With the numbers we have, we will once again be able to focus on 8's racing, and early plans include trips to events such as the HoRR in London. Individual's international success has shown this summer in both the Commonwealth Regatta, and the World University Championships, and while several athletes will once again be trialling this season, focus is on the club events rather than feeding national teams. 
 
I would like to take a moment to thank Paddy Doherty and Steven Lockwood. The two have coached the novice crews for several years and have been vital for many wins, ultimately providing some great rowers who have gone on to be part of inter and senior crews. While they may help at some stage in the future, they have decided to step down from the lead novice coaching positions. I thank both of you for everything you have done for our club. I would also like to welcome Phil Costen who has stepped up in their place, and we look forward to another great year of novice rowing.
 
Overall, I have never felt the Queen's Spirit higher in my time here, and am looking forward to a great season. Athletes are hungry for wins, not just for themselves but for the club they have grown so proud of. If anyone has any questions about anything to do with the club, you can always contact me by the emails listed on this website. I'm sure I will speak to some of you again at the annual dinner, details of which shall be uploaded soon. Until then, thank you all for the support for our club, and good luck to Queen's for this season!