With many Universities around the country beginning to welcome students back onto campus for the start of a very unique 'freshers' week. We ask two of our beginner members to reflect on their 1st year of being part of DUBC.
Beth Forrester - Beginner Rower
I joined the University of Dundee in second year after completing the first year of my degree at Aberdeen. Not getting the traditional fresher experience by missing first year made me keener to join a club and get stuck in. I wondered around the sports Fayre until I came to the boat club stall where Ida (our previous fresher convenor) stood full of energy and encouragement, which is exactly what this club has portrayed throughout the ups and downs this year has brought us.
From there I attended DUBC’s ‘give it a go’ days where we had a water session and a try on the ergs. We got to see the rowing facilities at Inchyra and meet many more of the boat club members from mad 4th year law students (who make the best captains might I add) to nurses, medics, business students, life scientists, artists and many more disciplines demonstrating the diversity this club is proud to support.
Us freshers quickly merged into the club as if we had been there for years, although you would never guess it watching the boys fresher 4! From seniors organising themed socials for us, to cold early mornings on the Tay, we saw each other’s good and not so good sides and continuously learnt as a team. There were circus themed events, club nights out, ceilidhs, Christmas dinner and of course welcoming nights which we can all agree is not the name they deserve!
We got the fun out of our systems and started to get stuck in smashing out the miles on the ergs as well as technique sessions on the Tay to get ready for a couple of Head Races we entered. We competed in the beginner categories at Aberdeen and Inverness in our first semester which gave us a level playing field, making it a little less daunting. The races were learning curves for us but out main aims were to gain experience, learn how to work as a team and stay dry! The club also attended the Scottish Rowing Indoor Championships where Dundee wiped the floor in multiple categories as well as taking home the Victor Ludorum trophy for best overall student performance. It was incredible to see the hard work pay off and win a medal but what made the day for me was seeing how proud our captains team were of us all. They have really been the backbone of this club the past year dealing with multiple storms and temperamental Tay conditions, their own degrees, a pandemic, and trying to teach us to row a boat somewhere in there too!
We met such a variety of people through this club and got to row with different combinations to figure out who complemented each other best on the water. The main 3 girls I was in a boat with became like family during term time. We would do the majority of our sessions together both on and off the water. We new each others humour, capabilities, strengths as well as weaknesses and never stopped being passionate about rowing no matter what set backs there were. For me coming from a sporting background where I always worked individually, rowing taught me so much about putting the other athletes first and that as soon as you clamber into that boat, you win or lose as a team. We had sessions where we had to remind ourselves why we did it when our feet were numb and had sore hands but it was those imperfect sessions that made me want to keep trying. Those sessions where you were tired or couldn’t catch with the rest of the boat are where most of our memories were made and are laughed about for years to come! We might not be the biggest rowing club out there but we have resilience and a sense of humour that will make the hardest sessions achievable
Ethan King - Beginner Rower
My time at DUBC has been one of firsts. Coming into the club last year with no prior knowledge of rowing nor with any real team sport experience, I quickly realised that I had made one of my best decisions in my first two years of University. DUBC’s biggest strength, I believe, is that it is both led and driven by students. What quickly became apparent to me after visiting Inchyra for some taster sessions and my first social nights with the club, was DUBC’s real atmosphere of community. Everyone there was proud of their club and of one another, they seemed to genuinely enjoy those early morning starts with their friends. Being taken around the club’s boathouse for the first time, hearing of Christmas dinners, competitions away, and of weekends at Inchyra to come I couldn’t help but think of my first year at University – mostly spent with little to nothing to do – and regret that I hadn’t joined sooner. Training with DUBC has been a completely new experience for me. I am not sure much could have prepared me for my first walk into the Tay at 7 in the morning, but it doesn’t seem so bad when you’re with your friends. I had to learn how to row from scratch, so my time at Inchrya was spent in boats with other beginners, all learning together. This is a sure way to quickly get to know someone, and I felt I had become fast friends with the other boys learning alongside me as well as with the senior rowers, coaching beside us in the Launch.
The instruction we received from these student coaches was excellent; Not just learning from our teachers, but also from watching the other boats passing us by up and down the Tay, older students making it look effortless and having a good time whilst doing it. And as I began to feel slowly more confident in the boat, my love for those early mornings on the water only grew. I like to think there are few things that could get me out of bed before 6 am; Boating with DUBC is certainly one of them.
Away from the scenic Tay however, DUBC can still make an early morning worth the struggle. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the morning erg sessions with the team. All my previous experience of that kind of exercise and training had been by myself, which is how I thought I liked it. But something about all being there, suffering erging together, whether racing a teammate or pushing for a new personal best – makes me realise my mistake. It’s not all training though; socials with the club have been some of my favourite evenings at university. Whether it’s some food together after training, an evening in the pub or a full-on night out, the DUBC social calendar is always busy. From these socials, I have met some of my favourite people, people I am excited to see and train with again, that have become some of my best friends at university. I have loved being a part of the DUBC team.