TorpEights 2021: W1 Race Reports

Here’s a little taste of the feeling in W1 during Summer TorpEights from the 8th-11th June 2021. W1 started at 2nd place on the river in Division 1, rowing over on the first day of racing, bumping up to Head of the River on day two, rowing over to maintain their headship on day three, and getting bumped by the Wolfson W1 in the gut on day four. Here’s to next year!

W1 DAY 2- 9/06/21

Cass, W1 six seat: “After an encouraging chase behind Pembroke yesterday, Hertford W1 spent today’s race prep talking through their race rhythm. Aiming to stride down for a strong and steady rate 35 from the start of the gut, they warmed up with a half slide rate build and a 30 stroke start. At the bungline, the crew showed a hefty build off the start, and their stride and lengthen calls were rewarded with whistles within the first minute of the race, placing them within a length of Pembroke through the gut. Once at green banks (proudly referred to as “our green banks”), the rate 35 allowed W1 to show off their power and clean rowing, gaining on the boat in front all the way up to Univ. As the commentators noted, the clear water between Hertford’s bow and Pembroke’s stern very quickly vanished, and the W1 cox kept a steady line through the wash right behind Pembroke, who conceded once the canvases overlapped just as they reached boathouse island. After paddling to the bank, the crew let themselves enjoy the heady feeling of the first position at head of the river for Hertford since 1978. Now just to keep it steady here over the next two days, with our best row yet to come!”

Kate, W1 four seat: “After a great race yesterday, where Hertford ferociously chased down Pembroke right to the line, we were all ready and raring to go again on this sunny June afternoon. Although there were some (totally understandable) nerves in the boat, a short, sharp pep talk from our coach Simon soon got us ready and into race mode. The reassurance that we now knew we were faster than our competition was an undeniable boost- we just had to get a solid start, settle into our rhythm and catch them to become Head of the River. The sun came out just as we arrived at the start line, a definite good omen, and a wave of calm washed over the boat. A quick recap of the race plan by our cox Chloe, and we were off. Our start was solid, and although Oriel behind us were moving fast, we were fast enough to hold them off. Approaching the gut, we knew our best was yet to come. Following our stroke Issy and her incredibly strong rhythm, we began to close the gap on Pembroke. Although our heads were in the boat in this moment, it was undeniably difficult to ignore Simon’s whistles growing louder and louder from the bank. The bump could not have happened at a better, more memorable moment. We caught Pembroke just past the Hertford boathouse at Longbridges, in front of a swarm of enthusiastic Hertford supporters on the bank. Once the bump was confirmed, there was an atmosphere of total elation in the boat. Hands were thrown into the air, and cries of relief served to let everyone on the bank know that Hertford were now head of the river. This is a day that I will never forget, and I am sure that my team members feel the same. Hertford have always been the underdogs, but today we proved that we are just as good, if not better, than the biggest rowing colleges in Oxford. Fear the Deer!”

W1 Day 3 10/6/21

Lorena, W1 three seat: “Hertford W1 started the race from the newly achieved headship position, followed by Pembroke and then Wolfson. The start and first few strokes were quite even with Pembroke. Coming out from under Donny Bridge and into the Gut, Pembroke closed in considerably on Hertford, coming to a distance of around half a length. However, coming out of the Gut into Longbridges and the Green Bank, Hertford lengthened their rate and found a powerful rhythm. They started decisively pulling away from Pembroke, who themselves lost their steam and were bumped by Wolfson shortly after exiting the Gut. (Pembroke made an appeal to penalty bump Wolfson alleging that their bump was conducted dangerously, however OURCs later concluded that no penalty bumps would be awarded.) As Hertford walked their boat through the Green Bank, Pembroke was once again bumped by Christ Church. Hertford continued tearing past Univ and through Boathouse Island in a strong, but relaxed, manner. They crossed the finish line several lengths ahead of Pembroke, having successfully maintained the Head of the River position.”

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