Patrick Martin: Men’s Club Captain
Hello fellow QUBBC alumni past, present and indeed future, for the 2016/17 season I am Patrick Martin and I am privileged to call myself Captain.
Blonde hair and lightweight it now seems QUBBC definitely has a type when it comes to Captains over subsequent years. Personally I hope this is not where the similarities end, over my time at Queen’s I have observed great passion and leadership from those who have held the position before I, from the determination and sheer drive of Luke McCann to the encouragement, example and understanding shown by Jason Armstrong, I strive to live up to this standard.
I want to take this opportunity to say Thank You to all of those who have given me the opportunity to row as part of this great rowing club. First and foremost thank you to all of the past alumni of the boat club and to the guidance and support demonstrated by Lady Victoria Boat Club. It is far too easy for us at times to take for granted the opportunities we have been provided due to the sacrifices of our elders, I feel especially grateful given the recent passing of Paddy Kemp. A man I never had the privilege to meet, however had it not been for the efforts of those such as himself and in fact the very boat that bears his name, I might not be rowing today. Joining QUBBC in the Autumn of 2014, I definitely wasn’t what a coach might look for in terms of the ideal rower, re-joining team sports after a yearlong recovery following a broken femur, average height and build, as well as lacking the drive, commitment and fitness it takes to survive in this unforgiving sport. It quickly became clear that I wouldn’t make the cut for the top 8+ and in order to survive Michael Quinn and I would need to adapt to our surroundings and realise that two oars can be just as good as one, to do so there for only one boat for the job, the Paddy Kemp.
My second Thank You is to the coaches and mentors that welcomed me as a novice, who couldn’t tell the difference between stroke side and bow, let alone scull and sweep. It is a sport that has always fascinated me, being a past student of Loreto College Coleraine I was always somewhat jealous of the surrounding schools having boat houses giving them unfettered access to the open water of the River Bann. I now take this opportunity to thank Phil Costen, Brian Murray and the late Chris Rice, you have helped develop me as a rower, focus me as a student and shaped me as man.
My final word of thanks goes out to my Vice-Captain David Roy, never short of words of encouragement or a smile on his face even during a 2K test. David kept me company in the bows of both an eight and a quad last year and he is equally as competent at steering a boat as well as a club, I can think of no better an individual to share the role of Captain with this year.
That’s enough about me! Let’s move on to the upcoming season, I could list the wins of the club from the previous season and tell you that we did indeed medal in many events in both the Irish and British circuits, from novice level to elite, but I don’t really think I need to. I am so proud of our club, if I have learned anything in the last 12 months it is that when we face a challenge we come together and overcome it as a team, that’s pretty hard in a sport like rowing were to the naked eye passion and ego might seem bigger than club spirit at times. As we progress and grow in strength and numbers year on year it is so encouraging to see the level of sportsmanship within our club thrive within our club.
We have started the year with a healthy supply of rowers who are anything, but short on drive and determination. We begin our year by sending athletes to London and Bann Head within the next few weeks and Winter training is well underway. I am very pleased to welcome back this year Paddy Doherty, Stephen Lockwood, Mark McMullan and James Cook who are assisting Tom Drummond and Paddy Holden with our fresh wave of novice men. In addition we welcome Ronald Walker as lead coach to our inter men squad and Mick Desmond as lead coach to our Elite and academy lads.
With a new development officer role to be filled shortly, watch this space! QUBBC are primed and rearing to fire off the start line this season, I am excited at the limitless potential this club possesses and hope to be see you all at the Annual Men’s Dinner on Saturday 3rd December. If you would like to get in touch in the interim, my details are listed below.
Victoria Coulter – Women’s Club Captain
Hello, my name is Victoria Coulter and I am Captain of Queen’s Ladies Boat Club for the 2016/2017 season. I am twenty-one years old and I recently graduated from Queen’s with a degree in English Literature and have just started a Masters in Marketing.
I joined Queen’s Rowing four years ago as a first-year student with no previous rowing experience. I simply joined because my friend was going and she encouraged me to go with her. I remember my first Saturday as I was placed on an erg and told that “I had no core” followed by standing in the foot well to climb into the boat and being completely confused at the coach’s explanation of “feathered” and “square” blades. However, despite all of this, from that first water session with novice coach Andy Wells I was hooked and enjoyed the fact that friends and family were convinced I wouldn’t stick it out. Initially I was far from the best, with an interesting technique, very sore hands and a lack of fitness but one thing I have always had is a competitive spirit which was enough to keep me coming back to training. Unlike the state of my hands, my technique and fitness have improved over the years and my love of the sport has also increased.
As much as I love training, pushing myself to my limits and ultimately – winning, I also love the people at Queen’s Rowing. Rowing is unlike any sporting team I have ever been a part of; partly because of the number of hours you dedicate to it but also because of the bond you form with your team mates. Through rowing I have met many different people and have made friends for life, counting the girls in my squad as my second family. My motivation to train hard and to win is as much for them as it is for myself.
After the recent success of Ireland and Great Britain’s rowing teams at the Rio Olympics we are expecting hundreds of freshers to sign up and come through the doors of Queen’s Boathouse. The novice women are back under the care of experienced coach Andy Wells and his team of helpers and we are hopeful that this year we can reclaim the Novice 8+ Irish Championship title in July. The intermediate women had a successful season last year but despite all the hard work we disappointingly fell short at the end of the season. However, with this in mind our twenty-three-strong squad are more motivated than ever to win from the start to the end of the season and are confident we will do so with the help of our coach Stuart Kelly.
This year we intend to send the whole Ladies Club to local events such as Bann Head, Lagan Head, Queen’s Regatta and the Boat Race. We will also send crews to Skibeereen Regatta, Cork Regatta and Irish Championships and hope to travel a little further afield to BUCs Head, BUCs Regatta and Henley Women’s. When we go to these events we proudly represent the University and Queen’s Rowing and will try our best to do as well as possible.
As the Ladies Captain I intend to lead by example of work ethic and performance and hope to lead the club to many victories over the long season. However, I am aware that club success is not possible without the help of our coaches, the support from Lady Victoria Boat Club and of course, the rowers themselves. I cannot recommend joining Queen’s Rowing enough – and this year promises to be very exciting.