Wolfson College Boat Club, Oxford

Torpids 2016

For the first time ever, Wolfson entered eight boats in Torpids: four men’s crews and four women’s crews. Training up so many novices while pushing our seniors is an enormous task, yet our captains’ and coaches’ effort resulted in a fantastic result! First Torpids-timer W4 got three bumps, and the M2, M3 and W2 won blades!

Men’s First Boat

M1 was in a tough spot. 5th place is where Wolfson peaked after the incredible rise over the years 2006 – 2012. In 2015 they managed again to reach the top five. Could they tighten their grip on it in 2016?

M1 Crew

In their first race, the M1 quickly set the bar for how to start Torpids. A clean start and a strong push off from Wadham, Wolfson began closing in on Christ Church. Surprised at their sudden gain, Wolfson unfortunately lost rhythm and sat in Christ Church’s wash for a little too long, rowing over. That all changed on Thursday. With a no-nonsense plan of action, the M1 went out and took their prize. A blazing Green Bank’s push saw Wolfson Christ Crunch, leading to Wolfson’s first-ever bump on the club. The rest of the week was spent chasing Magdalen, getting closer and closer each day, but never quite making contact. M1 finished the campaign 4th on the river, the highest ever position for WCBC.

bow Achim Wolf Division I
2 Bertram Vidgen
3 Christian Coester
4 Joshua Combs
5 Christian Vaas
6 Michael Plant
7 Thomas Aarholt
str Lucian Purvis
cox Stefany Wragg
coach Robbie Massey / Matt Hnatiw

Women’s First Boat

Following the roaring success of the women’s side of the boat club in 2015, the W1 was ready for more. Having soared from 2nd in Div II to 9th in Div I, the women were ready to secure their place in the top division in Torpids as in Eights.

W1 Crew

Wednesday, the Wolfson set off to a sharp start on their first day of racing, gaining on Christ Church, ahead of them. Unfortunately, whilst not as fast, Christ Church was a quick crew too, and by the gut they managed to escape Wolfson by overbumping on St. Edmund’s Hall. Teddy was nearly caught by Wolfson as well, with a canvas to go at the finish line.

On Thursday Wolfson thundered towards their prey of yesterday, catching Teddy Hall before Donnington bridge. Enough said there. In their third race Wolfson had their eyes set on St John’s. Gaining with every stroke and with fiery determination, the women had them by the gut. Saturday saw the W1 hunting their old rivals, Univ W1, but surprisingly having to hold off a fly-or-die St John’s before the gut! John’s died and was bumped by two crews, whilst the W1 got in half a length on Univ.

With two bumps and a solid 7th place in Div I, this is the highest the W1 have been since 2004!

bow Zoe Goodwin Division I
2 Laura Hawkins
3 Stefanie Zekoll
4 Ellie Watts
5 Jessica Dunham
6 Abigail Killen
7 Georgina Bowyer
str Charlotte Diffey
cox Niclas Palmius
coach Thomas Chapman

Men’s Second Boat

The M2 started second in Division IV, behind Wadham II. Could they reach for Division III? Yes they could. A textbook bump at the end of the gut had them racing twice on Wednesday, the second time at the bottom of Division III chasing St Antony’s I. The M2 Torpids campaign would become all about hunting St. Antony’s, as each day the M2 would get closer to their prey, yet St Ant’s would bump out on the crew they were chasing, shortly followed by Wolfson bumping out on the same crew.

M2 Crew

By Saturday morning, the M2 had bumped Wadham II, New College II, Christ Church II, and Oriel II. Each day they had gotten closer and closer to St. Antony’s, and often they would need to perform evasive maneuvers to get around the cluster that would St. Antony’s and their pray. (Handbrake-turns spring to mind.)

The M2 was determined. Ahead of St. Ant’s, Linacre I bumped out, leaving Antony’s with nowhere to run. M2 closed steadily and, with considerable overlap, finally cornered St Antony’s and bumped them in front of their own boathouse, winning blades!

bow Kevin Schlegel Division IV
2 Jean-Baptiste Begat
3 Cristian Leata
4 Eric Hoff
5 Philipp Schafer
6 Brian Chu
7 David Asker
str Jasper Barth
cox Sofia Hauck
coach Philipp Becker

Women’s Second Boat

Despite mistaking the 1 minute gun for the 5 minute gun, the Women’s 2nd Boat (W2) nailed their unexpected start, and had St. John’s II concede by Donnington Bridge on Wednesday. The W2 enjoyed the latter half of that performane so much that they decided to repeat it on Thursday, bumping Merton I again just before Donnington Bridge. Come Friday, the crew were quite curious to know what lay beyond the Bridge. They were denied that experience by Queens I, who conceded to them on Friday, just under the bridge.

W2 Crew

Come Saturday the W2 were chasing Wadham II, the highest-ranking second-boat on the river. Despite a shaky first stroke, W2 soon began to gain on Wadham, and as they went under Donny Bridge, W2 were just a length behind. After that the gap narrowed rapidly, and after a few strokes of overlap, W2 bumped Wadham just before the Gut, winning blades in front of a legion of cheering Wolfson supporters on the bank!

bow Daina Sadurska Division III
2 Charlotte Hornby
3 Ellen Johnson
4 Laura Depner
5 Anna Sarkissian
6 Sharlayne Waller
7 Kirstin Anderson
str Estelle Beguin
cox Zoe Goodwin
coach Beth Arscott

Men’s Third Boat

Chasing Mansfield II, the Wolfson M3 took Wolfson’s first bump of the season! Their race was off to a rocky start, and after flirting with a crab the M3 showed that they meant business. The Mansfield crew went on to bump after Wolfson got them, giving the M3 an overbump on their first day of Torpids. Thursday had the crew much more relaxed, executing a clean start – before strokeman found himself flat on his back wrestling a massive crab! Like a champ, he recovered in two strokes, and proceeded to lead his crew to an overbump on Pembroke III before the Gut.

M3 Crew

For their third race, the M3 started ahead of Merton, chasing St. Hilda’s I. Just after the start, St Hilda’s bumped Worcester II at the Bridge, so M3 were now looking to overbump. A good stride set up a nice race pace, which in turn led to overlap as the crews exited the Gut. After a short chase across the river, M3 overbumped Worcester on the towpath side above Timm’s boathouse.

Starting Saturday with three bumps to their credit, the M3 went off hard in pursuit of St Hilda’s, and despite the odd blade scraping the bank, they closed to under half a length well before Donny Bridge. St Hilda’s unfortunately bumped out on Regent’s Park I, but Wolfson was coming just behind, and bumped them as well, winning blades!

bow Klaus Weichinger Division V-VI
2 Martin Slusarczyk
3 Sabin Muntean
4 Nawamin Pinpathomrat
5 Robert Oppenheimer
6 Mark Seidel
7 Andrew Balin
str Edward Rowe
cox Allison Bryan
coach Neil Dhir / Jack Hornsby

Women’s Third Boat

A W3 full of lots of experienced rowers set off at rate 42 during their first start of the season. Following some interesting steering along the bunglines, as St Hugh’s II and Balliol II swerved around a few stationary crews, W3 put in a series of strong pushes and caught Balliol just after Donnington Bridge! Balliol eventually overbumped Hertford II, so Wolfson went up two positions on the first day. Thursday saw a text book race from the girls, gradually reeling in St. Hugh’s II (to Sofia’s (former St. Hugh’s) mixed feelings) and bumping them before the gut. Hugh’s bumped as well, moving the W3 up another two spots.

W3 Crew

Friday had an excited crew ready to bump Oriel II. Unfortunately, just two strokes before solid contact – KLAXON! The race was abandoned, and the W3 left to race another day.

The W3 lined up behind Oriel II again on Saturday. This time Oriel rowed much better, bumping University II just before the Gut, while W3 were still a length and a half behind. Univ, in turn, were gaining on Jesus II through the Gut and bumped them as they exited on to the Green Bank. Undeterred by the two crews ahead bumping out, W3 set out to track down Jesus. All the way up the Green Bank they steadily reeled them in, until Jesus crumbled and W3 bumped them, just shy of our Boathouse. Overall W3 moved up five places on three bumps and a row-over, and finished at 7th position in Division IV, tying their highest ranking ever in Torpids (1997)!

bow Claudia Vadeboncoeur Division V
2 Zhe June Sun

3 Rachael Midlen
4 Jessica Hoff
5 Lea Sefer
6 Annie Bochu
7 Fuchsia Hart
str Sofia Hauck
cox Laura Hawkins
coach Jonathan Williams

Men’s Fourth Boat

M4 Crew

The M4 had a tough set of races. Despite a fast start and an early gain on Balliol III, the lads were bumped by a strong St. John’s IV. Thursday had all crews ahead of them bump out, so the M4 got to practice rowing over the Isis, managing to hold off the faster St Antony’s II until the gut. On the Friday, the M4 set off hard. Up ahead, St Antony’s II bumped out on St John’s III, who struggled to recover from the blow. Wolfson, scenting blood, pushed hard on John’s, with St Edmund Hall III close on their tail. A powerful push sent M4 straight into St John’s for a bump. Then came confusion. A series of appeals saw Wolfson’s bump being taken away, and unfortunately Teddy Hall was awarded a bump on the M4 for unknown reasons. It was an eventful, if disappointing, finale for the ever-determined M4. Looking to halt their slide, they executed a smooth start, and seemed to be gaining on Teddy Hall III when, as luck would have it, a massive crab stopped the boat in its tracks, and they were bumped by Keble III. Not the result they’d hoped for, obviously, but M4 deserve a big cheer for showing guts and determination in every single race.

bow Thomas Quartermain Division VI
2 Wybo Wiersma
3 David Reutter
4 Navin Cooray
5 Luis Valenzuela Rivera
6 Moritz Schulze Darup
7 Niels Schroeter
str Richard Reschen
also Paul Kocher & John McManigle
cox Annie Bochu
coach Neil Dhir / Jack Hornsby

Women’s Fourth Boat

Torpids’ first ever Wolfson W4 consisted of a crew of twelve, and started at the bottom of Division V. W4 had a good start but promptly caught a crab. Remaining composed, W4 restarted cleanly and were about a length from overbumping Pembroke III when the race was klaxoned due to what has been called ‘tree-ejector-crabbing’ in the middle of the division. An even more eventful race was Thursday, W4 chasing Pembroke III, who caught Trinity II past Donnington Bridge…or so Pembroke thought; Trinity were apparently under the impression that they had already bumped out. Both Pembroke and Trinity stopped racing, and W4 zipped past them in search of Wadham III, who had started five places ahead, and who were just then in the process of crashing into a stationary boat. By the time Wadham got going again, W4 had gained mightily, and they continued to gain up the Green Bank and past Boathouse Island, until Wadham, now under immense pressure, finally caught a crab and conceded.

W4 Crew

Come Friday W4 was chasing Wadham III again, after being awarded a bump on Trinity II the day before. Trinity hungry for revenge gained a bit on W4 off the start, however, an amazing stride of W4 saw them leave Trinity in the dust. Our crew had their eyes set on Wadham III, confident they could catch them once again. A long race followed, but just after boat house island Wolfson had the bump, at the same place as the day before.

Full of confidence now, Saturday saw the W4 off to a good start and early gain on Pembroke III. With half a length to go Pembroke bumped out on Hertford II, and Wolfson had to go around. Now, with only half a length to go on Hertford the W4 gave it everything and caught them, taking three bumps and a row-over in their first ever Torpids!

bow Maysa Falah Division V
2 Stefany Wragg

3 Lucie Fusade
4 Theresa Zekoll
5 Olena Seminog
6 Sophie Diarra
7 Susan Graham
str Laura Pinkerton
cox Kevin Schlegel
coach Beth Arscott

Cliff’s Race Reports

Clifford Sofield, one of Wolfson’s longest-serving members, has offered to regale us with his daily observations of Torpids 2016. He compiled reports based on the observations of a team of intrepid Wolfson reporters. Read on below!

Wednesday – Day 1

What’s this — has Torpids taken you by surprise?! Me, too. But the mighty rowers and nimble coxes of Wolfson and St Cross were ready, even though racing is a week early this year. In fact, WCBC is boating a record eight crews: four men’s and four women’s! Here’s how the first day went down.

Leading off was the Men’s 4th Boat (M4), who rowed on earlier this week into a surprisingly tough Men’s Division VI. Despite gaining early on Balliol III, our boys could not catch them quickly enough to escape a strong St John’s IV, and they were bumped in the Gut. Unfortunately, the Women’s 4th Boat (W4) were no luckier. Starting at the bottom of Women’s Division V, W4 had a good start but promptly caught a crab. Remaining composed, W4 restarted cleanly and were about a length from overbumping Pembroke III when the race was klaxoned due to what has been called ‘tree-ejector-crabbing’ in the middle of the division. It was a row over for W4.

Two races and no Wolfson bumps? The Men’s 3rd Boat (M3) set out to put that right. With an excellent (if slightly choppy) start, M3 committed to a hard race and stole a length on Mansfield II. Held there for some time, and flirting with a crab, M3 finally pounced just before Donnington Bridge for Wolfson’s first bump of 2016! In mysterious circumstances I still don’t understand, Mansfield went on to overbump St John’s III, so M3 moved up two places on the day. The Women’s 3rd Boat (W3) kept up the momentum with a ‘wicked fast’ start, at rate 42. Following some interesting steering along the bunglines, as St Hugh’s II and Balliol II swerved around a few stationary crews, W3 put in a series of strong pushes and caught Balliol just after Donnington Bridge! Balliol eventually overbumped Hertford II, so W3 also moved up two places today.

Today’s biggest stars were the Men’s 2nd Boat (M2), who started second in Men’s Division IV, behind Wadham II. A good start resulted in little gain at first, and Wadham still led by a length entering the Gut. But they had no answer for M2’s great steering and composed rowing, which led to overlap and a textbook bump at the exit of the Gut. This gave M2 the headship of Division IV, and a chance to row again in Division III! But first.

Despite mistaking the 1 minute gun for the 5 minute gun, the Women’s 2nd Boat (W2) nailed their unexpected start and instantly took half a length out of St John’s II. A good stride and some solid race pace accounted for another length before John’s obliged with a boat-stopping crab at Donnington Bridge. W2 rowed past for victory!

Back to M2, now at the bottom of Division III. Another good start brought our boys within a length of St Antony’s before Donnington Bridge, but Antony’s got away by bumping New College II. With some exceptional steering, M2 passed several parked crews to gain rapidly on New, and delivered the bump in the middle of the Gut. All in all, M2 moved up two places on two bumps and are now sitting pretty in Men’s Division III.

Our top boats came out for the last two divisions. At 9th in Women’s Division I, the Women’s 1st Boat (W1) had a great start, composed and speedy. Unfortunately their quarry, Christ Church, was also fast; and Balliol were gaining in W1’s wake. At Donnington Bridge, Christ Church finally started to surrender water, but they escaped by overbumping St Edmund Hall before the Gut. Undeterred, W1 set their sights on the double overbump, with Balliol right behind. Coming out of the Gut, Balliol flagged and fell back while W1 pushed on towards Teddy Hall, closing to a length past the boathouse and a canvas at the finish. It was an excellent row over for W1, who are looking to close out the bump tomorrow.

The Men’s 1st Boat (M1) closed out the day in Men’s Division I, at 5th on the river. With a clean start, M1 pushed away from Wadham and gained steadily on Christ Church. The difference was already down to half a length going through the Gut. M1 nailed the Green Bank push and gained overlap, but Christ Church held them in their wash, even pulling away to about a canvas by the boathouse. Christ Church held our boys there for the rest of the race, and both crews rowed over, not far behind Magdalen.

A great day for Wolfson – no surprise there! Get ready for more great racing tomorrow.

Thursday – Day 2

Thirsting for revenge on St John’s IV, and knowing the swift St Antony’s II would be right in their wake, the Men’s 4th Boat (M4) had a tense start, missed a few strokes—but they recovered well, holding off St Antony’s into the Gut. M4 went on to row over, as every crew ahead of them bumped out.

Up next, the Women’s 4th Boat (W4) were chasing Pembroke III, who caught Trinity II past Donnington Bridge…or so Pembroke thought; Trinity were apparently under the impression that they had already bumped out. Both Pembroke and Trinity stopped racing, and W4 zipped past them in search of Wadham III, who had started five places ahead, and who were just then in the process of crashing into a stationary boat. By the time Wadham got going again, W4 had gained mightily, and they continued to gain up the Green Bank and past Boathouse Island, until Wadham, now under immense pressure, finally caught a crab and conceded. A quadruple overbump for W4!—or rather just a normal bump: race desk seems to have decided that Pembroke bumped Trinity after all, so apparently W4 got their bump when they rowed past Trinity. (It makes no difference; W4 would move up one place either way.)

In the very next division, the Men’s 3rd Boat (M3) executed a much better start than yesterday, and were looking relaxed—when suddenly the stroke man found himself flat on his back wrestling a massive crab! Like a champ, he recovered in two strokes, and proceeded to lead his crew to an overbump on Pembroke III before the Gut. The next race was text book for the Women’s 3rd Boat (W3): a clean start, a smooth row, gradually reeling in St Hugh’s II and bumping them before the Gut. Hugh’s went on to bump Green Templeton II, so W3 moved up two places again, just like Wednesday. More text book from the Women’s 2nd Boat (W2), way up in Women’s Division III. Shrugging aside a brief crab, they had a good, quick start and soon pulled rapidly on to Merton (a 1st boat, I might add!). Merton conceded before Donnington Bridge.

The Men’s 2nd Boat (M2), now in Men’s Division III, started well and proceeded to gain, slowly and steadily, on St Antony’s, who had escaped on Wednesday by bumping out. Trailing by a length at the bridge, M2 began to gain quickly, narrowing the gap to a third of a length going into the Gut. But once again St Antony’s escaped by bumping out, this time on Christ Church II in the Gut. Our boys held it together and walked all over Christ Church in no time, getting the overbump on the Green Bank.

In Women’s Division I, the Women’s 1st Boat (W1) were looking to finish the bump on St Edmund Hall that they had nearly closed out the day before—only this time, Teddy Hall were starting just one place in front of them, not three. W1 had a clean, composed start and closed on Teddy Hall right away with a strong push, forcing Hall to concede before Donnington Bridge. Finally, in Men’s Division I, the Men’s 1st Boat (M1) got out of the blocks cleanly, and immediately began to inch on Christ Church. With a good race rhythm and great steering M1 gained half a length in the Gut, emerging hot in Christ Church’s wake. A big Green Bank push ate up the rest of the distance, and moments later came the satisfying crunch of a bow blade meeting a stern. Wolfson’s first-ever bump on Christ Church M1 elevated them to 4th on the river, M1’s new highest position ever in Torpids!

Well done to our rowers and coxes for a fantastic day! Looking forward to more great things tomorrow!

Friday – Day 3

A day when hopes are made and dashed, a day when certainty dissolves in confusion, a day when fortunes change.

Looking to change their fortunes, the Men’s 4th Boat (M4) set off hard. Up ahead, St Antony’s II bumped out on St John’s III, who struggled to recover from the blow. Wolfson, scenting blood, pushed hard on John’s, with St Edmund Hall III close on their tail. A powerful push sent M4 straight into St John’s for a bump. Then came confusion. From what I’ve been told, I *think* that while M4 and John’s were tangled up, Teddy Hall may have rowed past; while Keble III, the next crew, rowed into Wolfson, thinking they were still racing. In any case, John’s appealed afterwards that they had been obstructed. Race desk decided in their favour, taking away M4’s bump. Why that should have resulted in Teddy Hall being given a bump on M4, instead of all three crews being awarded row-overs, I don’t know.

Things looked slightly ominous for the Women’s 4th Boat (W4) when Trinity II gained on them at the start, but an amazing stride left Trinity in the dust, and W4 were on the hunt. After Pembroke III bumped out ahead, W3 found themselves once again chasing Wadham III (the crew they had tracked down yesterday before they knew they’d bumped Trinity). This time W4 closed on them in front of the boathouses and bumped them just past the island. An excellent race!

With two bumps already to their credit, the Men’s 3rd Boat (M3) managed to pull away from Merton with a clean start. Just ahead, St Hilda’s boys (!) bumped Worcester II at the Bridge, so M3 were now looking to overbump. A good stride set up a nice race pace, which in turn led to overlap as the crews exited the Gut. After a short chase across the river, M3 overbumped Worcester on the towpath side above Timm’s boathouse. For anyone counting, that’s three bumps in three days. Just sayin’.

Also with two bumps to their name, the Women’s 3rd Boat (W3) had a cracking start that seemed to guarantee an early bump on Oriel II. The whistles came quickly: one length, half a length, canvas, overlap — then suddenly a new sound drowned the whistles: KLAXON! Just one or two strokes from solid contact, the race was abandoned, due to tangled crews up ahead in the Gut. A tremendous disappointment for W3! They will be going hard to complete that bump on Oriel II on Saturday.

Yet another crew to start the day with two bumps, the Women’s 2nd Boat (W2) mustered a splendid start that had them on Queen’s (W1) in no time. Queen’s tried to run away across the river, but it was futile: they conceded to W2 as the crews rowed under Donny Bridge. Three bumps in three days for W2; and tomorrow they are chasing Wadham II, the highest-ranked women’s 2nd boat on the river. It’s all to play for!

One Wolfson crew entered today with three bumps: that was the Men’s 2nd Boat (M2), who, despite a slightly shaky start, gained almost a length on St Antony’s by Donnington Bridge—just when Antony’s bumped out on Oriel II. Some emergency steering around Antony’s took M2 across the river and straight at the Falcon raft. Dropping out stroke side for five strokes provided the hand-brake turn M2 needed to get back on track, now two lengths behind Oriel II, and not far ahead of Christ Church II. But the rhythm was good, and M2 bumped Oriel crossing at the top of the Green Bank, for their fourth bump in three days! (Who writes this stuff?)

That brings us to the two top boats. No melodrama for the Women’s 1st Boat (W1). With a fiery determination, they gained steadily with every stroke on St John’s, who were plainly overmatched. A length deficit at the Bridge soon evaporated, and John’s conceded entering the Gut, boosting W1 to 7th place in Women’s Division I. Finally, in Men’s Division I, the Men’s 1st Boat (M1) started to move on Magdalen as they came around the bend after Donnington Bridge. Gaining half a length in the Gut, they charged up the Green Bank on a great rhythm that took them to a canvas before the boathouse. Despite a great effort from our boys, however, Magdalen rallied and held them there for the rest of the race, and both crews rowed over.

So it’s shaping up to be a great Saturday! I hope to see some of you there, cheering on the Wolf Pack!

Saturday – Day 4

The following launch has crossed the finish line on another Torpids, and overall it was a very successful campaign for Wolfson College Boat Club. Here’s how the final day unfolded.

It was an eventful, if disappointing, finale for the ever-determined Men’s 4th Boat (M4). Looking to halt their slide, they executed a smooth start, and seemed to be gaining on Teddy Hall III when, as luck would have it, a massive crab stopped the boat in its tracks. (This may be when Keble III bumped them.) After recovering, they set their sights on St John’s III, who had been bumped by Teddy Hall. As M3 rowed past the boathouses, they found themselves chasing not one, but two boats on opposite sides of the river. Perhaps thinking they had bumped one of them, they wound down, but quickly started again and rowed over. Not the result they’d hoped for, obviously, but M4 deserve a big cheer for showing guts and determination in every single race. After four bumps, they finished Torpids ranked four places lower, at 9th in Division VI.

For the Women’s 4th Boat (W4), Saturday’s race was never in doubt. W4 had a good start and quickly gained on Pembroke III. There was only half a length to go when, just before Donnington Bridge, Pembroke bumped out on Hertford II. When Pembroke cleared the line, W4 found themselves only a length down on Hertford, and a few strokes later they bumped them, just after the Bridge. Overall, W4 rowed over once (when their first race was klaxoned), and bumped each of the last three days to reach 10th in Division V, in their first Torpids ever!

Starting Saturday with three bumps to their credit, the Men’s 3rd Boat (M3) went off hard in pursuit of St Hilda’s, and despite the odd blade scraping the bank, they closed to under half a length well before Donny Bridge. It transpired that Hilda’s were gaining just as fast on Regent’s Park, however, and bumped out just after the bridge. Before Regent’s Park could properly get going again, M3 bumped them, just before the Gut, to win blades! Rising five places on four bumps, M3 finished at 7th in Division V, their highest position ever in Torpids! (They reached their previous best of 11th in Division V when they last won blades, in 1997.)

The Women’s 3rd Boat (W3) lined up behind Oriel II, the crew they were inches from bumping on Friday when the race was klaxoned. This time Oriel rowed much better, bumping University II just before the Gut, while W3 were still a length and a half behind. Univ, in turn, were gaining on Jesus II through the Gut and bumped them as they exited on to the Green Bank. Undeterred by the two crews ahead bumping out, W3 set out to track down Jesus. All the way up the Green Bank they steadily reeled them in, until Jesus crumbled and W3 bumped them, just shy of our Boathouse. Overall W3 moved up five places on three bumps and a row-over, and finished at 7th position in Division IV, tying their highest ranking ever in Torpids (1997)!

In Division III, the Women’s 2nd Boat (W2) came to their bungline with three bumps and a chance to bump Wadham II, the highest ranked women’s 2nd boat on the river. Despite a shaky first stroke, W2 soon began to gain on Wadham, and as they went under Donny Bridge, W2 were just a length behind. After that the gap narrowed rapidly, and after a few strokes of overlap, W2 bumped Wadham just before the Gut, winning blades in front of a legion of cheering Wolfson supporters on the bank! Not only are W2 now the highest ranked women’s 2nd boat on the river, but with a rise of four places they have reached 4th in Division III, their highest ranking ever in Torpids! (The previous best of 5th in Division III was held in 2001.)

With four bumps already, the Men’s 2nd Boat (M2) were determined to settle the score with St Antony’s, who had escaped them each of the previous three days by bumping out. But St Antony’s, chasing a better crew than usual in Linacre, were equally determined. They actually pulled away a little at the start, but M2 found a nice race pace rhythm and gained that water back by the middle of the Gut. Ahead of Antony’s, Linacre bumped out on Balliol II near the exit of the Gut, and M2 really started to move on St Antony’s as both crews maneuvered around Linacre. On the Green Bank, with their lead cut to a third of a length, St Antony’s began to feel the pain of M2’s inexorable rhythm. M2 closed steadily and, with considerable overlap, finally cornered St Antony’s and bumped them in front of their own boathouse, winning blades! Having entered Torpids at M2’s highest ranking ever, they finished five places higher still, at 9th in Division III, having earned five bumps in four days.

In Women’s Division I, the Women’s 1st Boat (W1) were prepared for a long chase as they lined up behind a strong University College crew, and in front of St John’s. Despite a solid, composed start, St John’s gained to within a length at Donny Bridge, but that was the closest W1 let them get. Meanwhile, W1 gained about half a length on Univ before the Gut, but Univ pushed on hard and held them there up the Green Bank, past the boathouses, and across the finish line. W1 finished Torpids with two bumps, moving up two places to 7th on the river, their highest ranking since 1993!

Finally, the Men’s 1st Boat (M1) chased Magdalen for the second day in a row, trying to be the first Wolfson men’s crew to break into the top three crews on the river. As expected it was a long, hard race. Wadham put M1 under serious pressure, coming within a canvas in the Gut. But M1 was nearly as close to Magdalen, and on the Green Bank their signature push took them away from Wadham and toward Magdalen. All the way up the Green Bank they gained, coming to about two feet just before crossing over to the towpath side. Magdalen pulled away slightly on the crossing and increased their lead to about half a length with a good push in front of the boathouse, then steered evasively. M1 fought hard to regain that lost ground, and rowed over just a few feet behind their quarry. They finished the week up one place on one bump, a staggering 4th on the river, their highest position ever in Torpids!

As a club, Wolfson had 21 net bumps, more than any other college.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps. Since I could only make it to the river for a few races, most of the credit for them belongs to Tom Aarholt’s team of roving reporters, and I will now attempt to list all of them: Andrew Balin, Philipp Becker, Allison Bryan, Neil Dhir, Tim Dungate, Zoë Goodwin, Susan Graham, Fuchsia Hart, Sofia Hauck, Matthew Hnatiw, Robbie Massey, Niclas Palmius, Richard Reschen, Kevin Schlegel, Claudia Vadeboncoeur, Luis Valenzuela, and Stefany Wragg. Thank you!! (and I’m sorry if I missed anyone!)

Go Wolfson! – Bring on Summer Eights!