Torpids Report 2021

At the start of Trinity term, the captains were faced with the task of training up scratch crews for Summer Torpids. A two year bumps hiatus (due to weather and a pandemic) coupled with clashes with Finals meant that BNCBC could count on very few rowers with prior bumps experience – only four of our athletes had previously raced in Oxford or Cambridge.

Being able to enter two men’s and two women’s crews for Torpids is a testament to the unfaltering enthusiasm and dedication of the squad and coaches throughout this term, which was a steep learning curve for all involved. Nonetheless, the dedication paid off, and all rowers and coxes should be proud of their progress and achievements this term.

The reward came with each crew registering a bump. M2 kicked off proceedings on Tuesday with an exhilarating race all the way to the home straight and finally forcing Balliol M2 into conceding. Further success came later that day as M1 rowed past New College M1.

On Thursday, W2 had their taste of glory, passing St Benet’s on the most difficult day of racing.

Friday rolled around, with all crews struggling with the fatigue of three days’ intense racing and leaden legs all round. Somehow, W1 found an extra bit in the tank and chased John’s down early in the course, providing a fitting end to a fine performance across the week.

Through the course of this summary, I have emphasized the ups and glossed over the inevitable downs, with bumps being the fickle form of racing it is.

W2, M2 and M1 all had their fair share of the bitter taste of being bumped. The crews ended the week, respectively, four places, three places and three places lower than they started. All crews were in divisions with other boats of high calibre, but importantly the quality of rowing was a drastic improvement on where the crews were at the start of term. Every rower and cox should feel proud of their performance, and I could not ask for anything more of them.

W1 were undoubtedly the standout crew of the week, ending the week without being bumped and finishing one place higher than they started. Three days of tough rowing over and skilful coxing all contributed to this strong performance.

We are hoping to use this experience as a strong base for (hopefully) a more normal year for college rowing next year, and look forward to having the chance to compete again when bumps next rolls around. I wish the best of luck to the incoming captains, and would like to thank this year’s committee, coxes and coaches for their unwavering patience, careful guidance and dedication to BNCBC this year.

For a factual summary, see below:

M1: Bumped by Queen’s and bumped New, bumped by New, bumped by Mansfield, bumped by Hugh’s

W1: rowed over, rowed over, rowed over, bumped John’sM2: Bumped Balliol II, rowed over, bumped by Benet’s, New II and Merton II, bumped by Univ II

W2: Bumped by ChCh III, bumped by Teddies II and Wolfson IV, bumped Benet’s, bumped by Osler I and II

Joe Cary