Senior Women’s Squad

Aimed at those who are committed and want to race competitively, we’re the top club women’s squad in the East of England. This squad is open to all, and we are able to support both established athletes, and quickly develop those with less experience. For example, 2 of our winning Henley Women’s 8+ learned to row at Cantabs less than 2 years before.


Within the last few years, we have taken wins at Henley Women’s Regatta, Women’s Eights Head, Met Regatta, Wallingford Regatta, Fours Head, Pairs Head, Nottingham City Regatta, Vets Head, Vet Fours Head, British Masters and Ghent Regatta, amongst others, as well as representing England at Home International. We also pre-qualified for the inaugural Wargrave Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, the first Cambridge town club to ever qualify a women’s crew for HRR. 

In Town Bumps, we have held the Headship since 2017. Currently, 3 of the top 4 crews are Cantabs, and our W2 is 2nd on the river after bumping City of Cambridge W1.

The quality of our programme and coaching mean that we’re able to help our athletes get the most out of themselves, to enjoy success as a reward for their hard work, and to compete with high performance centres and well-funded university programmes.

We train hard but we pride ourselves on having a training programme which is flexible around people’s work, study and family commitments, and a support system which means every athlete can get the most out of the training that they are able to commit to. 

If you would like to find out more, please contact the Women’s Captain, or read on for more information.

2017 Winners of Henley Women’s Regatta club 8+ (course record)
Photo credit: Not Just Rowing

The squad comprises a mixture of ages and experience, ranging from those who have come up through the Cantabs Learn to Row programme, to those who joined after rowing/coxing for their college, to those who have competed at higher levels such as the Women’s Boat Race or even the World Championships.

Our committed coaching team supports the development of athletes who are considering doing GB U23 trials or trialling for the Boat Races in the future, and we have strong links with CUBC.

2017 winners of the Provincial Pennant at WEHoRR

If you would like to learn to row or are a relative novice, please see the pages for the other squads or the Learn to Row courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of training do you do, and how much?
We typically run 5-7 water sessions per week (Mon/Wed/Fri 0550-0730, and Sat/Sun 0700-1100 if double sessions). Meeting early means that we are able to take advantage of a quiet river, often being the only squad out on the water.

There are 2 weights and 2 erg sessions programmed per week, which are typically done in people’s own time. 

We are able to flex the programme to suit people’s situations – including those who work difficult hours, and those who have to drive a long way to get to training. The squad contains athletes coming from as far away as Bedford, and some with jobs such as police officers who do shift work so aren’t able to be at every session. 

The 2- winning silver at Ghent International Regatta

Is it fun?
We’ll let our 1 second every day video of the 2017/18 season answer that question! We’re a sociable squad, with regular socials taking place on both a squad and club level. 


How good do I have to be to join?
We don’t have any strict requirements for athletes to meet to join the Senior Women’s Squad, and are more interested in whether you are keen to train, rather than your experience within the sport or your erg score. People tend to progress quickly once they join.

The squad ranges in experience from those who learnt to row a year ago, to those who have been rowing at higher levels such as in the Women’s Boat Race or even international competition.

Three members of the crew which won the club 8+ at Henley Women’s learned to row at Cantabs, and 2 progressed through our squad system to move into the Senior Squad in January. Therefore, if you are worried you aren’t quite at the top level required for our top boats right now, we can get you there!

What’s the coaching like?
Unlike other Cambridge town clubs, the Cantabs Senior Women are fortunate enough to have a dedicated team of coaches, with a high ratio of coaches to athletes.

British Rowing Coach of the Year Awards winner Tom Copeland (L3 coaching, L2 S&C), Jon Winch (L2 coaching) and British Rowing Rising Star Chris Radbone (L2 coaching, L2 S&C, Certified in Sports Nutrition) attend every session, and we are also supported by Milosz Wrobel of Light Blue Clinic who also coaches the university squads.

Sessions are fun and effective, and individual targets are set to help people train efficiently and at the right intensity.

What are your facilities like?
The club has its own weights and erg facilities (including C2 dynamics, BikeErgs and SkiErg) available to all members. Boat-wise, we have an expanding fleet of women’s boats ranging from singles to doubles/pairs to fours/quads and eights. In the last few years we have had multiple brand new Filippi 8+, 4x/-, 4+, 2x/-, as well as numerous new singles, and continue to have significant investment in women’s equipment, boasting the best women’s fleet on the Cam.

Cantabs racing at Henley Royal 2021

I’m a student – can I join?
Yes, of course! Cantabs currently has many current Cambridge and ARU students, as well as a group of former juniors who return to Cantabs in the university holidays. The squad also includes athletes who didn’t quite make it with CUBC but who want to improve their rowing and compete at a higher standard than returning to their colleges would have allowed.

I’m of masters age – can I join?
Again, yes! The squad ranges in age from 17 to 50+, and a number of our athletes have been successful in masters events internationally as well as nationally. Our masters age athletes train with the whole squad throughout the year, going on to race (and win!) at events such as Vet Fours Head, Vets Head, British Masters and Henley Masters.

I’m a cox – what can you do for me?
As the Senior Women’s Squad continues to grow, we’re always looking for new coxes to join us, regardless of experience. Coxes receive regular feedback from both athletes and coaches, and we also provide one-to-one coxing coaching from coxing coaches. There is also a coxing group, where the club’s coxes meet on a regular basis and share ideas and race recordings, giving each other feedback and helping each other improve. You can read more about coxing at Cantabs here.

Is membership expensive?
No, we have some of the most competitive membership fees of all Cambridge town clubs. Students and the unwaged get discounted membership, and the fees include access to the boat house, land training facilities and coaching. If you have your own 1x, racking space is available for an additional fee.

On training camp in Norwich, February 2020