Welcome to the Cantabs Women’s Squads. Whether you’re interested in training and racing at national events or prefer the more social side of rowing, Cantabs has something to offer you!

Strong results at WEHORR 2023
Women's crews ready for WEHORR 2023

We are organised into a number of different squads, depending on commitment, aspirations and ability. At Cantabs, we’re lucky to benefit from the best coaching provision of all town clubs on the Cam with each squad having at least one dedicated coach.

All of our women’s squads participate in the Cambridge Town Bumps. In 2023, Cantabs fielded 13 women’s crews for bumps – the highest number of women’s crews entered in the event’s history. And no fewer than 7 of those crews were eligible for blades by the end of the week! Cantabs W1 have been Head of the River since 2017 and four of the top seven women’s crews in Division 1 are from Cantabs, reflecting that our 2nd, 3rd and 4th boats are faster than most of the local clubs’ 1st boats.

At WEHoRR we usually have at least four crews entered, from the Senior, Intermediate and Junior squads. The first VIII has placed in the top three in the Provincial Pennant every time the event has run since 2015, with wins in 2017, 2022 and 2024, and the B, C & D regularly being the highest placed among other non-Thames crews of that type.

Cantabs qualifies crews every year to Henley Women's, with 5 of the last 8 regattas seeing at least one crew reaching at least the semi-finals of an event. Cantabs are previous winners, course record holders and finalists of the Club 8+ event.

The Wargrave Challenge Cup for women's club eights was introduced at Henley Royal in 2021, and Cantabs is one of only 6 clubs to have qualified a crew for this event every year since its introduction (the others being Thames, Tyne, Leander, London and Upper Thames) and the only Cambridge club to have ever qualified a club crew for HRR.

Please contact the women’s captain for more information on any of these squads.

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, including students and masters age athletes, and we are able to support established athletes, as well as 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.

Recent Results

In recent years, we have taken wins at races such as Henley Women’s Regatta, Women’s Eights Head, Met Regatta, Wallingford Regatta, Fours Head, Pairs Head, Vets Head, Vet Fours Head, British Masters and Ghent Regatta, amongst others, as well as representing England at Home International.

We have also qualified for the Wargrave Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta every year since its introduction, and are the first and only Cambridge town club to ever qualify a women’s crew for HRR.

In Town Bumps, we have held the Headship since 2017. Currently, four of the top seven crews are Cantabs, and our W2 is third on the river.


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.

We row three early mornings and both days at a weekend (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 two weights and two erg sessions programmed per week, which are typically done in small groups or in people’s own time.

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.


The squad is supported by a team of coaches.

  • Tom Copeland (Head coach): Tom has coached junior, senior, masters and para athletes at Cantabs since 2012. In that time he has coached crews to wins at WEHORR, Pairs Head, Fours Head, Henley Women’s, Ghent International Regatta, World Masters Regatta, British Rowing Masters Championships and medals at Nat Champs and Nat Schools. Cantabs athletes coached by Tom have been selected to race for England at the Home International Regatta on multiple occasions and, in 2015, Tom was highly commended for his club performance coaching at the British Rowing ‘Coach of the Year’ awards. Tom is a British Rowing qualified Level 3 coach.
  • Chris Radbone: Chris learned to row at Cantabs in 2013 as part of the Hills Road Sixth Form College Squad. Previously coach of novice men at Cardiff University, in recent years Chris has coached Cantabs crews to wins at Scullers Head, Pairs Head and Fours Head, and qualifying for Henley Royal Regatta. He has also had his athletes make it to the weekend of Henley Royal Regatta. Chris is a British Rowing qualified Level 2 coach, and is a nutrition and strength and conditioning specialist, with qualifications in both. In 2022, Chris won the British Rowing Rising Star award for the region.
  • Jon Winch: Jon learned to row at Cantabs in 2003, rowing as part of the Senior Men’s Squad until he turned to coaching in 2010. He has also had tremendous success coaching masters crews, consistently coaching them to golds at the British Rowing Masters Championships, Pairs Head of the River, Veteran Fours and Vets Head of the River Races over the last decade. Jon coaches the Cantabs’ juniors in addition to the Senior Women, where his crews have medalled at Nat Schools and Nat Juniors.
  • Christian Lindig: Christian has been coaching at Cantabs since 2021, and coaches other crews on the Cam including those at X-Press and Churchill College.

We are also supported by Milosz Wrobel of Light Blue Clinic who also coaches the university squads.


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!


The squad is 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.


The squad has regular socials, both within the squad and with the Senior Men’s Squad, as well as enjoying the regular club social events. These have recently included a ceilidh, pub crawls, scavenger hunts, pub quizzes and even Christmas wreath making!

This squad is aimed at women who have rowing experience and would like to develop their skills, or those who want to train and compete, but with a reduced training programme compared to the Senior Squad.

The Intermediate Women’s Squad training programme consists of 4-5 sessions a week including outings, ergs and weights. This includes rowing on:

  • Wednesday 6:30pm
  • Saturday 7:20am
  • Sunday 7:50am

This squad mainly races on the River Cam, but also fields competitive crews at and local races in places such as Peterborough and Bedford, and they race at WEHORR each year.

Athletes who are making good progress are encouraged to consider moving up through the progression pathway at the club to the Senior Squad.

The squad is coached by John Cumner and Emily Kempin, who both have strong backgrounds in coaching at both Cantabs as well as Cambridge college crews.

New joiners to the Progression Squad often come off the back of learn to row courses or generally limited backgrounds in rowing.

This squad trains 2-4 times per week, mostly consisting of outings and ergs. The focus is generally on races on the Cam, of which there are many to choose from: Winter League, Town Bumps, Head of the Cam, Winter Head, Christmas Head, Head to Head, Autumn Head, Cambridge Nines Regatta… the list goes on!

The Progression Squad does what it says on the tin - the aim is for athletes to progress via improving their technique and fitness, and learning to train and race so that they're able to make the transition up to the other squads at Cantabs.

The squad is coached by David Winch, a veteran of the sport with a coaching career spanning 50 years at both club and college level.