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Torpids – Rowing on the River

Back in February, it was torpids season in Oxford, and all anyone could talk about for over a week was rowing. Seriously.

Torpids is a kind of rowing race where the whole purpose is to bump the boat ahead of you. If you bump the boat ahead or their cox concedes  then you stop rowing and quickly get off to the side so everyone else can keep in the race. That is a very basic, bare bones explanation from someone who most definitely does NOT row. But, I have friends who do, so I wrapped up and went down to the river to watch.

St Cross doesn’t have it’s own boat house/team – instead, we share with Wolfson, our sister college. Wolfson has the money and facilities, so it’s technically Wolfson Boat Club, but the members are split almost 50/50 between St Cross and Wolfson. Lindsay and Roos row on the Women’s 2 boat, and Mike rows for Men’s 1.

Torpids went on for a solid week, but I only managed to get out the last weekend for the final races (thanks homework, spoiling my fun). I don’t know anything about rowing, but anyone who knows me knows that I get insanely competitive, especially when I’m not actually participating. Seriously, I am awful during the Olympics, yelling at the TV and being ridiculously patriotic. So of course, this promptly extended to watching torpids. GO WOLFSON!!!

There are a short list of colleges that I hate on principle, so I of course wanted Wolfson to kick their asses, despite the fact that Wolfson wasn’t actually chasing their boats. Whoops, next time then.

Izzy did NOT want to be photographed.
A St Cross blade on one of the Wolfson boats.

W2
W2 
W2

W2

The W2 boat (with Roos and Lindsay) “rowed over” both days, meaning that they didn’t bump anyone but also didn’t get bumped themselves, so they stayed in the same position. Izzy and I met up with Lindsay and Roos to cheer on Mike and M1.

England, sometimes you are really lovely.

Just around the river bend…

M1 also did well! They were bumped on Friday (a rather contested and controversial call), and rowed over on Saturday.
Since it’s Easter hols all the rowing chatter has died down a bit, but at the end of next term, it’ll all spark up again for Summer Eights, which is apparently the same basic rules but both boats, the bumper and bumpee, have to stop rowing. At least the weather will be much nicer then – time to break out the Pimm’s! I’m really looking forward to Summer Eights because I think it’ll be the closest I can get to tailgating in England. And I really love me some tailgating. 
The famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race is this Sunday. I”ll be sporting dark blue to cheer on Oxford! Which blue are you?

Jane xx

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