“Klaxon-Klaxon, stop rowing!!”, thirty seconds into the race on Saturday our Summer Eights abruptly ended. We had gone into the final day hopeful of blades, having achieved decisive bumps on Jesus, Exeter and St Anne’s. It was not to be. For those that care to look there is a particularly heartbreaking video on YouTube which shows just how close we were to bumping New and achieving blades.
In Torpids we had also gone up three bumping Wadham, Hertford and Oriel (right in front of their boat house!). Unfortunately on the Saturday we could not close down St John’s before they bumped St Cat’s.
Up three in both Torpids and Eights undoubtedly represents a successful season, the manner in which we were denied blades on the Saturday was gutting but that is not what we will remember the season for. What we will remember is being part of a crew that demonstrated a commitment and intensity to our training and racing that made us one of the fastest boats on the river.
W1 began the year with a fierce ambition to match the performance of the year before. We had a good amount of returning rowers – and a star cox from his year abroad (!) – as well some exciting new people coming up.
We used Michealmas as an opportunity to train as a W1 and W2 squad. Waking up to icy blades, battling through hour long ergs and giving up large amounts of weekends to ploughing up and down the Isis. The term finished with two eights in the last Isis Winter League both of whom performed strongly.
Before we knew it, Hilary and Torpids were upon us. Words like ‘starts’, ‘stride’ and ‘flutter’ were bandied around with everyone forbidden from speaking the B word (and I don’t mean bump). W1’s training paid off with the new Filippi storming up the Divisions until we found ourselves half way up Div 2 with one bump between us and (don’t say the word) b*****, and we still hadn’t rowed past Donny bridge. Saturday finished spectacularly (if quickly) with W1 bringing home blades in Torpids for the second year running.
Trinity always brings its normal challenges in losing crew members to finals. This year there was the added difficulty in an almost constant red flag and a serious lack of water time. We rowed strongly all four days racking up one bump and three fierce row overs.
Its been an emotional year for W1, with successes, hard work and, for many, a last chase down the Isis. Many of the people rowing were in their last years and we shall miss them in the year to come. We can only hope they take with them a lot of fond memories!
The “Gentleman’s” Third VIII made their mark by being the first LMH men’s third boat to qualify for Summer VIIIs since the 1990s and by doing it in style. They were drawn at the foot of the river and rowed over every day, always giving it their all whilst living up to their name and offering a sporting chance to their adversaries. They sadly failed to qualify for torpids but were ever present to offer their support to all other LMH crews. The Third VIII trained hard through the tough conditions on the Isis this year and was often forced by the hostile weather to make up for that training in the gym at LMH. They impressed all who had the privilege to coach them by showing commitment, fortitude and enthusiasm in the face of all circumstances, ever cheerful and ever hungry for improvement.