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LMBC Newsletter – Lent 2023

Following an immensely impressive Lent term for The Lady Margaret Boat Club, we are hoping to resurrect the termly LMBC newsletter, to be sent out to all alumni who were a part of the Boat Club during their time at St John’s. We hope that you look back on your rowing days and boat club dinners with the fondest memories, and we are proud to share the club’s successes with you now.

Looking forward to 2025, LMBC will be celebrating its 200th anniversary – we believe LMBC to be the oldest university boat club! We are currently in the process of organising celebrations, and we plan to welcome back alumni to celebrate the club, its achievements and its community – past, present and future. We look forward to seeing many of you at these events, and hopefully before then – any cheers from the bank this May Bumps would be most welcome (details below)!

We hope you enjoy the newsletter, written by our amazing Men’s and Women’s Captains. 

Viva Laeta,
Joanna Matthews and Harry Fieldhouse
Honorary Secretaries

LMBC Lent Term Update

The term started with a pre-season training camp in Seville, the first time the women and men have been on a training camp together. Both sides sent two VIII’s, including seniors and those who had only noviced in Michaelmas term.

The camp was an excellent opportunity to kick-start the season, with days averaging 30km on the water over two sessions. We also had additional video analysis and land training sessions.

LMBC training camp in Seville 2023

It was great opportunity to not only get some mileage in, but also to integrate further as one club and bridge the gap from novice to senior rowing.

We are immensely grateful to the LMBCA for the financial support they offered, which removed potentially prohibitive costs for many students, allowing them to access a wonderful sporting opportunity.

LMBC Women Lent Term Update

Rowan Saltmarsh Women’s captain, third year Engineering

Rowan Saltmarsh

The women’s side went from strength to strength this term. We were one of the few colleges fielding four women’s boats, and race victories were seen by almost all our boats throughout the term.

The success of the training camp was quickly demonstrated at the first race of the year, the Winter Head to Head, where W1 were the fastest college Women’s boat.

Later on in the term at Newnham Head, our lower boats also demonstrated their hard work with W3 coming out as the fastest in their division and W4, as one of only three other W4 boats, holding their division.

W1 after a successful bump during 2023 Lent bumps

Pembroke Regatta brought huge success for W2. This was the first side-by-side regatta many of the crew had competed in. This had a knockout format and, with a substitute in the boat, W2 came away with the overall victory in their division. W1 and W3 both put in strong performances to make it to their respective semi-finals.

However, a particular highlight of the term was Lent Bumps, where both W1 and W2 competed. W1 had a hugely successful campaign, bumping Pembroke on the first day and then Caius on the second. The third day was unfortunately cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, but this didn’t stop W1 coming back on the final day to bump Downing and to be awarded blades for their efforts of bumping up every day. This leaves them fourth in the first division, the highest position the LMBC Women have been in since 2002. W2 had two row-overs on their first two days after the boats ahead bumped out quickly. On the final day, they succeeded in bumping Queens’ W2 , moving up to 16th in the second division, a division mostly made up of first boats, making their achievement all the more impressive.

W1 bumping downing W1, on the final day of 2023 Lent bumps, bumping into 4th on the river

Thanks are due to everyone who has coached the women’s side this term. The hard work now continues with our eyes set on May Bumps next term.

W2 after 2023 Lent bumps with their coaches

LMBC Men Lent term Update

Rupert Gardiner Men’s Captain, third year History

Rupert Gardiner

This last term has been an exceptionally successful one for the men’s side. Returning to the significantly colder Cam after the training camp, we used the Winter ‘Head to Head’ mostly as a seat racing opportunity, but M1 were still able to clinch the fastest time of the day, defeating our closest (and greatest) opponent, Caius, by ten seconds over the two legs. A long term of work set in for all four men’s boats, with results indicative of the dedication of both crews and coaches.

At Newnham Head M1 once again swept the field, with M2 also claiming the title of fastest second boat (and eighth fastest overall, beating the majority of M1 crews). An injury-ridden M3 also produced a strong showing, finishing ahead of all but one third boat.

Two-weeks subsequently, Pembroke Regatta verified that LMBC’s dominance had been no fluke, with an as-yet undefeated M1 continuing their winning streak in the side-by-side event. LMBC second boats were the most powerful force of the day however, with M2 carrying all before them in margins never less than four lengths to accompany W2’s win. The M3 team included a number of M4 ‘subs’, but put on a strong performance, eventually being defeated by Corpus Christi M2.

Bumps remains the pinnacle of the Cambridge rowing term, and although previous wins made for well-decorated mantelpieces, all crews were aware that this was what counted most. The contest was unfortunately cut-short by flooding that prevented rowing on the third day and allowed only the top divisions to compete on the fourth. Nevertheless, our three competing crews had excellent results.

M2 after 2023 Lent bumps

M3 had their work cut out, starting halfway up division three surrounded by second (and even the odd first) team VIIIs. They rowed over on day one and were cruelly robbed of a bump on St Catharine’s M2 by a fast Clare Hall first boat as the centre of a three-boat sandwich at first post corner. M2 had a slow start to the week as blading crews bumped out ahead. However, on day two they caught Peterhouse M1 with such violence that they damaged their own bows. But this did not preclude them from catching St Catharine’s M1 on Saturday to finish 14th on the river, the highest a Lents M2 has been since 1980.

M3 during 2023 Lent bumps, finishing as the highest third boat

M1’s objective was simple: defend Lady Margaret’s 25th Lents headship. Our constant rivals – Caius – would start directly behind us and we knew there would be no forgiveness for any mistakes. The men’s dedication to training paid off, and despite Caius’ different strategies, every day saw a commanding row over at headship, with Saturday culminating in us crossing the finishing line thirty seconds ahead.

M1 defending headship on the final day of Lents

The season was not entirely over, however. In the ‘Talbott Cup’ for non-bumps competing crews M4 won their category. Off the River Cam, at the Head of the River in London, M1 finished 64th (17th in the ‘university’ category, and the fastest Durham/Oxford/Cambridge college), LMBC’s highest position since 1985, and M2 came in a very respectable 245th.

Thanks are due to alumni for their continued support, financial and spectatorial, without which our successes would not have been possible. Now we look towards the Mays. In the words of a certain M1 stroke, ‘we go again’.

May Bumps 2023: save the dates!

The 2023 May Bumps will run from 12 to 17 June. All of our racing crews would greatly appreciate any alumni support from the banks. 

On the final day of May Bumps, Saturday 17 June, there will be an informal alumni gathering along the reach to support the LMBC boats. All alumni and families are warmly invited. The alumni tent will be located in the approximate “WhatThreeWords” location “bonds.petal.smiles” , at the far end of Ditton Meadows. 

Details of the timings of the races can be found at the following link:

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The Lady Margaret Boat Club Association

The alumni group invested in the successes of the Lady Margaret Boat Club both off and on the Cam each year. We encourage experienced rowers to give their time to the new generation of LMBC members. The LMBCA also co-ordinate with St John’s Development Office to help support the Club’s finances.

Lady Margaret Boat House, Cambridge – 10th September 2016