Torpids 2018 Rowing On: Race Reports

Rowing on saw two Hertford women’s crews hopeful that they would qualify for Torpids. In spite of injury during the race, W2 were able to make it through to the racing starting today, whilst W3 were unfortunately unable to qualify.


Cox- Abbigail Colwyn

Stroke- Hrabina Kaja Fenn

7: Christina Nahanni

6: Catherine Dumbill

5: Becky Kirk

4: Kez Smith

3: Grace Davies

2: Rosie Bound

Bow: Maddie Farrar

We got to the boathouse feeling nervous, knowing it was going to be a competitive year. 29 crews battling it out for only 14 places. All we could do was pray that Rowing On would not be a repeat of the drama of Christchurch…no broken seats or crashes today please girls! But with our new stash, supporters readying themselves along the towpath and Sophie Clark sporting the legendary Deer costume, there was nothing to get in our way of qualifying for Torpids. Well…so we thought.

First off the raft (makes a change from outings, not mentioning names Becky Kirk), we made our way through the gut and began doing some warm up bursts. Not long after, we pulled into our designated position in the queue and began eying up our competition. FEAR THE DEER! Amidst the chaos of the other crews, Hertford was sat ready and raring to go. With a few calls keeping focus and heads in the boat and an awful attempt to sing a motivational song, I took a few deep breathes before calling ‘All 8 backstops…rowing on…ready…go’. Our journey to Torpids had begun!

We made a good clean start, albeit starting race pace well before the starting line, and kept a solid rate of 33 as we came along Greenbanks. But here’s the ‘catch’. As we got into the last 250m, we caught some unfortunate crabs and nearly capsized the boat. Becky, the trooper that she is, had partially dislocated her shoulder but decided to carry on rowing. I suppose we can let her off for all those late mornings now! Finishing with an amazing time of 3:38, the top qualifying time of last year, we left the boathouse feeling proud and quite frankly relieved that nobody had caught an ejector crab. It was a close call but we qualified. Take a ‘bow’ girls, you all did ‘oarsome’.

Torpids here we come!

Abbigail Colwyn


For the first time in many years, the rumour of a Hertford W3 crew became a reality, thanks to Catherine’s amazing organisational skills, she managed to put together a W3 team fit for a chance of success in Torpids! During the run up, a quick inspection of the M3 boat we were planning to use revealed lack of seats, lack of shoes and half the riggers broken, it was then a panic to to find a suitable replacement that would actually float! After acquiring a rather nice GTC men’s boat we only had time for one short practice before the rowing on. When it came to 3:00 on a Friday 23rd February 2018 spirits were high and hopeful. there was quick warm up on the ergs before setting off with plenty of time. Whilst in the queue the shuffling about caused us to accidentally bump into Mansfield (at least we managed to bump one boat in Torpids!). When our time came, we started steady before settling into a fast race pace to carry us through, whilst the balance of the boat was unsettling we remained strong. With 500m to go our determination was not wavered and Jack continued to keep us on track. Despite catching a few crabs, these were well recovered and didn’t break our spirit. The cheers from our fans came from both sides and spurred us on as we sped down the river. After crossing the line we waited with anticipation to hear the results, this year seemed to be particularly strong and with a time of 3:52 it would be a close call. To our immense disappointment we did not get through. But with only 13 seconds off qualifying time, we should be so proud of what we achieved. Considering there was no W3 team before a few weeks ago, and no W3 boat before a few days ago! A special shout out goes to half the crew who were called in after having no training in the team but made the W3 vision, a reality!

Maddy Czura

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