This year, for the first time, Herne Bay Rowing Club has recruited two vice-captains to support the captain but essentially to create a bigger and better team for the year ahead.

For a volunteering role, it’s surprising how much is required of the captain of a rowing club, such as forms, forms and more forms but also looking after the club members. The captain needs as much help as possible to make the club a well-oiled machine.

This article finds out more about the two vice-captains and what interested them in taking on this role.

Tom Self, has a lot going on this year: learning to drive, studying for his A-levels and playing hockey for the local club. Our second vice-captain, Emily Noyes, who was thrown into the captain role back in 2017 and then became vice-captain in 2018 and 2019, has been asked again to help out in this role for 2022.

So why choose to be vice-captain?

Tom: I wanted to become vice-captain because I sustained an injury midway through last season bringing my season to a close. But having trained a very eager J16 crew I didn’t want to give up on them so I continued to coach them with the support of many other club members.

I realised at the South Coast Championships (in Netley, Southampton) how big of an ask it was to organise a club and at the time I showed a real passion for helping on the day. Ultimately I thought I’d like to give something back to the club that taught me so much and I felt responsible enough to try for the vice-captain role.

Emily: Having been vice in previous years, I felt comfortable in accepting the role again this year. Darren (the captain) has to be commended for taking on the captaincy role for the fifth year in a row, but with other external commitments planned in his diary this year, will mean that Tom and I will need to step up from time to time and I’m willing to take on the challenge.

I’ve been at the club since 2015 so I feel confident in supporting Darren and Tom in the day-to-day activities and running of all that goes on. But we can’t forget the many other amazing long-serving members of the club who I know will be there for extra support and guidance when needed.

So will you have specific jobs to do this year as VC?

Tom: My role as vice-captain this year will be the club coach as well as managing the post-regatta logistics. I’m very excited to start as the club coach as I enjoyed training a group of new members to row with me. I’m hoping to obtain a club coach qualification to help the rowing club and my knowledge of the sport develop further. I’m also looking forward to being part of the club process and helping out as and when I can like many previous members did with me.

Emily: In 2016 I took on the role of the media manager at the club and I intend to carry that on, helping the club to grow online through various platforms. But my role as VC will be to run through the pre-regatta forms with Darren but also to look after any new members and encourage more people to join up.

What are you most looking forward to this season?

Tom: I’m looking forward to seeing all our crews racing again. I really felt last season was very short and this coming season I believe we’ve had more time to prepare as a rowing club for these events. Something else that I feel really makes the season is the regattas on the beach everyone is always willing to lend a hand and I feel the days are very enjoyable for all.

Emily: I agree with Tom, seeing the club on the number of beaches we visit in Kent and Sussex: joking, drinking, eating, supporting and cheering, and running around and helping make the day go smoothly just makes you feel warm inside. That’s one of the main reasons I joined the club, to be a part of a team and you can see that clearly at Herne Bay.

How long have you rowed with Herne Bay?

Tom: I’ve rowed for about three years having joined the club back in 2019 and was introduced to a completely new sport that I’d not really heard too much about. The reason I started was due to a family friend who was a member of the club at the time. I wasn’t interested in much but when they introduced me to the club I felt welcome and the people of the club who were so knowledgeable about the sport really kept me keen on joining.

Emily: I’ve been rowing for seven years now. I hadn’t been living in Herne Bay for long before I spotted John Cox (my neighbour) maneuvering a trailer full of boats in the street after a regatta. He told me about the club’s charity ergathon taking place at the Bandstand that weekend so I went along out of curiosity and the rest is history. I’ve made some great friends in a welcoming and encouraging club.

What do you love about the sport?

Tom: I have a few things I love about rowing. Socially it’s unique. I’ve made friends that I would never have met and the fact we spend many weeks of the year pushing ourselves all for a few minutes brings us closer together.

I also love the fact that the sport has taught me things about myself. Rowing has taught me to become independent, disciplined and supportive. In many traditional sports like football, you have your 15 or so players and they’re the only people you would train with but rowing you can train with a vast group of people of all different abilities and strengths.

Emily: I love the teamwork that takes place all through the year – when we’re training on the water but mainly at regattas when we become a supportive rowing family. I’ve seen lots of members through the years turn from moody teenagers who can’t be bothered to athletic, motivated and pleasant young adults and it’s so nice to know that a club can do that to people.

What’s one thing you’d recommend to people wanting to join the sport?

Tom: Be patient and persistent. Rowing is a tough sport, it’s physically and mentally demanding. Rowing is very unique as there’s such a diverse range of people who have made this sport, their sport. One thing I was told that will stay with me is “in rowing you don’t have to be able to pull a house down” and this still sticks with me today. Rowing is more than just being big and strong, it’s about technique and concentration.

Emily: I’d say just get stuck in. Help to carry the boats or trestles down to the beach, set up the riggers if necessary, but showing that you’re willing to help and join in with the team will give you kudos.

Just one more question: Who’s your idol and why?

Tom: When people ask me who my idol is I don’t really have a definitive answer. I have many idols. Within rowing, I look up to the senior members of our club who were and are very successful but I also look up to my friends within the club. Within the club we have had many successful rowers at all different levels and they really are role models within the sport.

Outside of the sport, I look up to one of my old form tutors who really taught me some valuable life lessons that I’ll carry with me forever. The last people I really look up to are my parents. They raised me to who I am today and helped me develop morals that I’ll have for life.

Emily: My idol has to be my gran. She’s in her 90’s now and still going strong and living on her own. She’s willing to try new things and never gives up. She’s a strong, independent woman who has had to figure things out on her own since her husband, my pop died about thirty years ago. I hope that I’m like her when I’m that age!

Thank you to Tom and Emily for answering these questions. We hope that you have a successful year as vice-captains. Good luck!