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Hilary 2015: from the Women's Vice-Captain

After all the excitement of Christ Church Regatta, the previous term was over, and this term started with a squad of senior and novice rowers trialling for W2 and W3. After the initial 2K tests and some outings to assess technique, we split the squad in two and started training in earnest for Torpids. Training for W3 in particular was possible with the help of subs from W1 and rowers from previous years. W2 stuck it out through some tough ergos and a lot of early morning rowing to compete in IWL E before Torpids. The girls all really stepped up to the challenge of training this term, with only two senior rowers and six girls who had learned to row the term before!

The IWL E race was eventful to say the least, with some crabs, and being overtaken by Univ’s own W1 crew in the Gut! However, the girls made a massive improvement and put the race behind them to put in a strong performance on the first day of Torpids.


Starting in Women’s division 3, they bumped New College just at the end of Greenbanks, having steadily worn them down along the course. On the Thursday, two rowers from W3, Clare and Gusta, joined W2 to help them defend their place. Unfortunately, bad luck and a messy bump by Wolfson lead to them being bumped by three crews and facing the prospect of being sandwich boat for Div 4 the next day.

They started the course at the head of Div 4 on Friday knowing they had to row over, and valiantly fought against Pembroke II until they were bumped just coming out of the Gut. They then finished the course with a strong row, leaving the other crews several lengths behind, to avoid being bumped again. On Saturday, with the help of Hannah Baddock, an ex-Osiris rower who subbed in for our stroke woman, they put in a great row. Unfortunately, they were bumped early by the blades-winning Green Templeton II crew, but pushed a fast Lincoln II crew away past Univ to avoid being bumped a second time.

W3 were a mixed squad from the beginning, with some more experienced and some novice rowers, but all pulled together to train for Torpids. With just seven water sessions before Torpids and indeed, only seven rowers until Shannon Mitchell and Ciara Burgess volunteered to row Rowing On and Torpids, respectively, the girls were surprised and delighted to qualify.


They became the first crew since 2012 (and before that, 2005) to qualify by putting in a strong row over the Isis course in the Rowing On time trial. They started Tail of the River, 13th in Division 5, knowing that there was nowhere to go but up! On Wednesday, they bumped Mansfield II before the end of the bunglines, followed on Thursday by a bump on Brasenose II, who fell an entire division in one day by hitting the bank off the start. On Friday, they were caught by a strong Keble II before catching another unfortunate crew, St Anne’s II, who fell what must be a record 23 places in two days to finish Tail of the River. A resurgent Brasenose II, climbing back from their fall on Thursday, bumped W3 after a strong fight on Saturday, leaving them +2 in the rankings.

After all of the eventful rises and falls, the crews headed to Torpids Dinner and the afterparty on Saturday with stories of bumps and early morning training ... and all excited to row again next term!

Niamh Broderick
Women's Vice-Captain


Posted on Mar 18, 2015

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