Torpids 2017 – Wednesday Race Reports

It’s that Torpids time of year again, and the bumps action has kicked off on the Isis.  Please read below for Wednesday’s race reports.

W1 – up 1 to 7th Division I

Bow: Annabel Ault
2: Amy Holguin
3: Hannie Knox
4: Philippa Thornton
5: Penny Hyde
6: Marie Becker
7: Ros Martin
Stroke: Abie Witts
Cox: Joe Wynn

W1 started their 2017 Torpids campaign in heavy rain, but spirits were not dampened as we moved to the start line. After getting off to a strong start, we held Wolfson quite well and put a considerable distance between ourselves and New College, who were chasing us from behind. In a dramatic turn of events, the cox box broke just after the start of the race, meaning that Joe had to rely on communicating with Abie and Ros to steer us through the gut. He did this exceptionally well given the circumstances, and Hertford pushed off out of the gut, settling into a strong racing pace in front of our own boathouse. In front of us, Wolfson bumped Univ, and we closed in for the overbump. Univ then crashed into a tree meaning that we caught up with them a few strokes earlier than expected, resulting in a slightly confused bump for W1, as without the cox box it took us a while to realise what had happened! The crew were all delighted, and look forward to trying to over bump Magdalen tomorrow afternoon.

Annabel Ault – Bow

M1 – down 1 to 7th Division I

Bow: Jong Kwon
2: Jacob Vivian
3: Ali Duffey
4: Rowan Schrecker
5: Chris Jones
6: Chris Nicholls
7: Alex Allison
Stroke: Jack Waterman
Cox: Alice Vacani

A rainy Wednesday afternoon start to M1’s Torpids campaign took us by surprise, but used to choppy conditions from Storm Doris the week before, we held our heads high as we set off for the warmup – livened up by W1 almost crashing into us as they cleared the racing line after bumping Univ in their division. We settled onto bungline 6, pointing straight at Donny Bridge and sandwiched between Christ Church M1 ahead of us and Catz M1 directly behind. As the guns counted down and we rolled forwards and set our minds on Christ Church ahead, who we had already beaten in pieces at Radley in Michaelmas and honestly were aching to be bumped, ignoring the hatred in Catz’s eyes from a solid year fending them off successfully in both Torpids and Eights. We set off to a strong start which almost tore Alice’s arm off, sitting at r40 and cruising smoothly under Donny bridge, where we found ourselves 1L off Christ Church and 1L in front of Catz. Keeping our heads in the 3-boat sandwich, we pushed on, keeping Catz at bay as Christ Church slipped back to 1.5L. At this point, our focus started to slip and our catches got a bit scrappier, but we kept pushing out. Exiting the gut, both Christ Church and Catz took wide lines as we cut tightly to Greenbanks and into a huge gust of wind and rain, and we took half a length out of Catz’s lead. Coming up Greenbanks, we focused on holding Catz at bay but our rating slipped down to r34. We tried to bring up the rate, but as Catz took an almighty swipe, we had to concede for fear of our riggers being run over. Keeping our cool, we could barely see our new chasers, Balliol, behind us and relaxed into a longer stroke as we crossed to Univ, getting back to within 1L of Christ Church, but the pain had descended, and we finished the race back to the 1.5L we had started. Although we were bumped today, we feel proud that we have proved ourselves worthy of our place in the top end of Div 1 – especially Rowan, for whom it was his first ever bumps race! We look forward to going back out tomorrow and showing Catz exactly why they’ve been behind us for so long.

Alice Vacani – Cox

W2 – up 1 to 3rd Division V

Bow: Johanna Gewolker
2: Catherine Dumbill
3: Miranda Ryan
4: Catalina Zhao
5: Hae Jin Yang
6: Marianne O’Connor
7: Bridget Johns
Stroke: Amy Wright
Cox: Jessica Li

After a smooth warm up W2 moved up to their bungline, hoping to repeat the success of rowing on in what for many would be their first experience of bumps racing. When the gun fired we were ready, and ignoring the Trinity crew winding up behind us got off to a fast few strokes. We hadn’t even finished our start sequence before hearing our coach shout ‘one length’, and then, rapidly ‘half a length’. Putting our power down we kept the pressure up, and after only around 20 strokes heard the call to hold it up hard – we’d got a bump! Not quite believing what had happened we tucked into the bank and watched the rest of the division go past, the race ending in typical bumps chaos with a pile up and a klaxon. With one bump under our belt W2 are looking forward to coming back tomorrow and hopefully continuing our climb up the division!

Bridget Johns – 7 Seat

M2 – down 1 to 6th Division IV

Stroke: Patrick “Please Buy Stash!” Austin
7: Toran “Safety First” Sharma
6: Maciej “Never Concede” Bugala
5: Hamish “Deadlift” Streeter
4: Maciek “Wet Catch” Peplinski
3: Harry “Cash me Bowside howbow dah” Connor
2: Freddie “Mr Man” von Kaufmann
Bow: Ross “The Wise One” Johnstone
Cox: Nayyar “Eye of a Needle” Jamie

Being an inexperienced bumps crew, Hertford M2 approached the Wednesday of Torpids with some trepidation however spirits were high nonetheless. The day got off to a good start when we all arrived on time (read: less than 20 minutes late), a rare occurrence in the lowerboats squad. After a quick warm up on the ergs, we pushed off. After a few 10 stroke bursts and a couple of practice starts, we lined up 5th in Division IV behind Christ Church II and in front of Wadham III hoping to quite literally recreate W2’s success in catching the college everyone loves to hate to potentially set up a hat trick for M1 later on in the day. We got off to a good start, holding both crews ahead and behind at a couple of lengths and quickly settled to a rate of 34 however after 10 or so strokes Wadham started to gain on us. As the Wadham boat neared, we lost some of our composure, leading to a scrappy section in between Donnington Bridge and the Gut where we struggled for balance and a few catches were missed. With the bump inevitable Nayyar conceded just as we were exiting the gut, allowing us to pick the optimum line past the enthusiastic Hertford contingent at Longbridges. Coming past Greenbank and Univ, we settled down and really found our rhythm, producing the rowing we knew we were capable of, comfortably holding off the Trinity crew behind at 3 or 4 lengths while making gains on New up ahead, finishing 2 lengths back. Despite getting bumped and losing the possibility of those elusive M2 blades, the overall performance was promising but most importantly showed us where we need to improve for the coming days. Don’t count us out yet!

Harry Connor – 3 Seat

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