Rowing is as much a part of Cambridge culture as gowns, Cindies and last-minute essays, and similarly Magdalene Boat Club (MBC) is a central presence in the college’s sports and societies scene. With over 60 rowers and coxes over men’s and women’s sides, MBC is easily Magdalene’s biggest sports team. Don’t think that you already have to be on the road to Tokyo 2020 to join, though: almost all of our members had never set foot in a rowing boat before coming to Cambridge, and there is a dedicated programme for novice rowers and coxes, under the patient guidance of current club members and coaches.
The beauty of having a large club, with several crews for both men and women, is that there are a range of levels at which to take part and compete, whether your rowing aspirations are occasional or Olympic. While MBC’s top men’s and women’s crews typically train up to 10 times per week, lower commitment options are of course available for those wishing to row on a more casual basis.
The club has enjoyed some fantastic results in recent years, a long awaited return to Div 1 for W1 in Lent Bumps this year, and a staggering 6th place in the Pegasus Cup for the club as a whole.
In 2014, two MBC-bred rowers represented Cambridge in the Boat Race against O***rd: “The Big Bang” (Clare Balding’s words, not ours) Helge Grütjen in the engine room of the Blue Boat, and Angus Knights stroking the CUBC reserve crew, Goldie. In 2015, the club was represented at university level both by Patrick Elwood , who stroked the CUBC spare pair to victory, and Evelyn Boettcher in the CUWBC reserve crew, Blondie, who rowed in the first ever women's race on the tideway. Patrick went on to row for Goldie in the Goldie-Isis race in 2016 and 2017, and Magdalene's own Daphne Martchenko rowed in the Cambridge Blue Boat in the 2015 and 2016 Women's Boat Races.
But if you’re terrified of swans, allergic to early mornings or just prefer a proper knees-up, MBC has a roaring social calendar designed to perfectly complement the rowing; BBQs, film nights, “swaps” with crews from other colleges, team meals and, of course, 3 legendary formal dinners throughout the year. Our outstanding performances on the river are eclipsed only by our outrageous performances in the bar… So if you’re 7 feet of Schwarzeneggerian muscle/tiny, loud and bossy/(more realistically) want to try something that’s completely new, great fun, and part of the quintessential Cambridge experience, we’ll see you at the boathouse…