Hi all,

Me again… well that month went quickly and what a month it has been for us at Derby Rowing Club!
We have been able to slowly open up more areas of club operations, and it has been great to see more faces on
the water, at our face-to-face circuits in the park and on our virtual training and social events! A special mention
goes to the family and friends of our members who have become part of the club by taking part in the various
activities – please do get them involved, the more the merrier!

In this months newsletter I wanted to celebrate all we have achieved as a club over the past couple of months –
and whilst the highlights on the next couple of pages are not an exhaustive list, it gives you all a good idea of how
much we have been up to recently.

Highlights for me include the incredible engagement with our Road to Tokyo Challenge – where 47 of our masters(!) have come together, from across the globe, to complete the 26.24 million metre journey from London-Tokyo-Vancouver-Cape Cod-London via cycling, rowing, erging, swimming, running and walking. Every single metre counts and we are edging closer and closer to leaders Reading RC every day. A massive thank you to all who have been involved and to John Crawford at Henley RC who is a technical whizz with a Google Sheet and has kept us all motivated with data!

Another highlight is the tireless work put in by our Return to Rowing Group to plan & deliver our virtual and real-
life training – since lockdown started, the group have offered 201 individual water sessions, 32 online circuit sessions & 12 online Pilates sessions.

Our entertainment committee, mainly comprising of Kate Olechniewicz & Dan Smith w/ help from the entire
Smith clan have been keeping us busy and competitive with the likes of murder mysteries, quizzes, pictionary and
other game shows over the last few months. We have uncovered some hidden talents of our members: some
fantastic artists, some genius guessing work, Countdown whizzes and the rather questionable drawing of a spade
on Skribbl. June 2020 was a big month for me in particular, I finally took my first win in a DRC social and I haven’t
stopped talking about it since!

During this time, we have also had to say goodbye to the 2020 graduating class of the University of Derby: Ieuan
Cornish, Tom Mortimer, Lilia Deakin, Jordan Demuth-Pike, Ella Ryder & Luke Walker. I wish you all the best in your
future endeavours and thank you for your time at Derby – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having
you and remember, you are always welcome back!

Whilst we celebrate the highs, I’d also like to reiterate the support available to you at DRC throughout any low
periods. Our welfare officer Sarah Rouke is available at welfareofficerdrc@gmail.com and I encourage you to
continue to support one another as you have been. If there is anything else that the club can do to support,
please do let us know and we will do what we can.

Apologies if you haven’t been represented in the highlights – please do get in touch with anything you are getting
involved with and I will gladly pop it in next months newsletter.

Additionally, if there is anything else you would like to regularly hear about, let me know.

All the best,
Martha Nutkins
07874 776992


What a year it has been, it started off with one clear view. Get more members. With everyone on the university team leaving at he end of this year we needed to find members who could take over once we had left. Then we met our first hope in Oliver Bingham, he’d been rowing for years at Leeds, it was his first year at Derby Uni. He wanted to help us with training the novices and was overall a great addition. It started off great with our “give it a go days” giving anyone the chance to come and try out this sport. We even put in a female only session to try boost the female members (albeit unsuccessfully) above the one we already had at the time. As always these were highly attended. Then came the learn to row sessions, though the attendance had dropped there was a key group who were coming to every session. After those 10 sessions we had the usual drop off, but not all did, thus we had achieved our main goal of finding people to replace members of the committee, now we just had to keep them.

There were extensive plans at the start of the year, for which races we could make, what boats we might be able to do etc. However, things very rarely go to plan, this year being one of them. We managed to make one race, BUCS indoors in Sheffield. The Novices gave it their all and the competition was fierce between the seniors and novices for the relay races at the end. It was a great event and we came away with a gold medal won by Lucy McQuoney in Championship Lightweight Women’s. Then came the bad weather, high water levels stopped water sessions, but it didn’t stop us training, now we were a land-based squad. In the run up to Christmas we started getting out on the water a bit more and started to join in with the men’s squad.

Though there wasn’t much time till everyone was off home for Christmas. By now we had a solid group of guys coming who were a pleasure to train with. Coming back after Christmas we hit training hard to get the novices ready for any races we could be going to. We had our 24-hour row at the University, where we rowed nonstop for 24 hours as a team managing to travel 333km and raise £500 for charitable causes. it was a great event where the whole club came and helped, several of them staying for the whole 24 hours!

We seemed to be hitting our stride, the guys improving every week, however the water sessions did not last as the water levels rose again, this time impressively so. We once again turned into a land locked squad but were still in good spirits. Not long after that came our current predicament of coronavirus, which led to everyone going home. We have had a couple of zoom chats since then but otherwise that was the end of the uni squad this year. Despite all of that we have managed to keep a small but great squad of guy’s who I’m sure will do brilliantly next year.

Now this was not the year I thought I’d have after 4 years rowing at derby, (in my version there was a lot more silverware) however when we got out on the water or on the town, it was still a lot of fun.

Tom Mortimer – UODRC President 20′


At the start of lockdown, I was keen to keep my training up and managed to source an erg to do this. For the first few weeks my training was consistent, but I started to lose motivation with little to aim for in terms of racing, that’s when I saw the British Rowing Virtual Championships advertised. I decided to enter myself for the ‘Men’s U23 2000m’ and set
myself a target of beating my PB. This gave me something to aim for in my training and kept me motivated. As race day approached, I rounded up some family members and gave them instructions on what to shout and when to shout it, knowing I’d need a lot of support to push me through! The setup for the race was simple enough; I plugged my erg in, it synced up with the software and even showed the boats side by side on screen.

As I sat down on the erg, I had my race plan in my head and my heart was pounding but off I went. This was my second 2km ever, and after the first one earlier this year, I thought I was going to collapse but I knew to just kept pushing, making sure I kept seeing the splits I needed, and finally crossing the line at 6:53.0, setting a new PB of just over six seconds. The whole race setup and organisation from British Rowing was great. I can see there being a few more races like this before we get back to normality!

Elliot Mcfarlane – UODRC President 21′

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