27 August 2021
By Göran R Buckhorn
Cambridge University BC has announced some changes on social media.
Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) is saying good-bye to Katy Knowles, the clubs’ women’s assistant coach, who is leaving. Knowles joined CUBC for the 2020 season and coached the women’s lightweights to victory in the boat race on the River Great Ouse this year. She also coached a coxless four that made it to the semi-finals at the Henley Women’s Regatta in July.
There is also a change on the men’s side at CUBC as Bill Lucas has been appointed as the club’s new assistant men’s coach. Lucas, who was an Olympian in the double sculls at the 2012 games, has acted as the women’s head coach at Thames Rowing Club before he left for Switzerland in 2017. As the assistant head coach for the country, his Swiss crews won medals at the World Cups, European Championships and U23 World Championships.
“I’m looking forward to working with Bill. His experience as an athlete, and achievements as a coach, made him a standout candidate for the role. He’ll be a major driver in our 2022 Boat Race campaign and beyond,” CUBC men’s chief coach Rob Baker said in a statement.
Earlier this month, Bronya Sykes, 21, was elected Women’s President of CUBC. Sykes was selected for the Light Blue crew for the 2020 Boat Race, which was cancelled due to COVID-19. She was a member of the victorious eight in this year’s event at Ely.
Bronya Sykes, a member of Caius Boat Club, said: “Rowing for CUBC has been an incredible experience and it means a lot to have been elected as president for the next season.”
Sykes, who began to row at age 11 at her local club Trafford Rowing Club in Manchester, was selected to row for Cambridge her first year.
“Being selected in the first year was a bit of a shock,” she told a local newspaper.
“I was so excited, bouncing off the walls, ringing everyone saying ‘guess what?’ Then when it was cancelled, I came crashing down from the high. The advantage I had was that it was only my first year; there were some people for whom that was their final year.”
Cambridge’s women are looking to repeat their win at the next year’s Boat Race. A new arrival from New Zealand is going to help them reach that goal, they hope. The new recruit, world champion and Olympian Grace Prendergast, who won an Olympic gold medal in the coxless pairs at the 2020 Tokyo Games, will give the Cambridge women a boost.
Also, the Light Blue men got a new president, Charlie Marcus, 21, who is the third cox to be elected to lead the Light Blue men. He follows in the wake of coxswains Graham Hughes in 1972 and Hugo Ramambason 2018.
“It’s obviously a very prestigious role, you can look back and see 167 men’s presidents before and in the role, I’m continuing the history of the club dating back to 1829,” Marcus told Cambridge Independent.