Wolfson College Boat Club, Oxford

Women’s update Summer 2022–Pre-Torpids 2023

Summer races The women’s rowers in Oxford over the summer had a packed calendar of racing: Henley Womens, Henley Town and Visitors, Kingston Regatta, Oxford City Royal Regatta and Milton Keynes Regatta. We didn’t qualify for Henley Women’s Regatta despite a faster time than 2021 due to increased participation, but were the second fastest Oxford college women’s crew in the qualifying time trial. At Henley Town and Visitors our Band 1 Women’s 8+ beat Oxford Academicals and City of Oxford in semi-finals, before coming second to Newcastle Blue Stars in the final by ¾ of a length. At Oxford City Royal Sarah Martin won the Novice Women’s Single Sculls, and Molly and Timea won the Women’s Double Sculls. At Milton Keynes Regatta we got a taste of victory, winning the women’s 8+ final and Timea and Molly winning the women’s double sculls again.

Michaelmas 2022 As the summer of racing drew to a close we looked ahead to the coming intake of novices who started arriving pre-term in September. Our taster sessions were a great success with 108 attendees including both men and women from Wolfson and St Cross. Our Novice A boat raced Nephthys Regatta where they were very narrowly knocked out by St Hilda’s novices who went on to win the event. A couple of weeks later we entered two Novice Women’s Eights in the Michaelmas Novice Regatta run by Linacre this year, named Adalwolf and Beowolf. Both crews won their first two races and then were knocked out in their third. Adalwolf won against Wadham and Linacre before losing to the eventual winners, St Anthonys. Beowulf won against Corpus Christi and Jesus College, before losing to Brasenose by half a length.

Our senior women spent Michaelmas training for Wallingford Head by going through the locks with City of Oxford women’s crews each weekend. Sadly Wallingford Head was cancelled due to extremely high stream before the 8+ got a chance to race, but the long miles of training certainly prepared them well for the coming term. We also started a coached weights program for seniors this term led by Gareth Ardon and Head women’s Coach Thomas Chapman, hosted in City of Oxford Rowing Club’s new gym. We saw huge improvements in strength and functional movement through these sessions, producing newfound power both on the water and on the ergs. Zhaoying Ma joined Anna Jones as Women’s Co-Captain after previous women’s captains stepped down.

Winter training and Quintin Head Over the Christmas vacation we continued to train and began to integrate the novices into the senior squad. We spent several weeks battle paddling matched 8+ crews of mixed novices and seniors, although this was briefly hampered by the river freezing as temperatures dropped to near minus ten celsius. Those not in Oxford kept up training off the water across the globe, including skiing, hiking, rock climbing and running.

As 2023 began, high rainfall led to rapid flow rates on the river and flooding. With the river on “red flag”, the captains rose to the challenge of finding somewhere for the women to train on the water and organised weekend outings at Dorney Lake, Upper Thames Rowing Club in Henley and Radley College’s Rowing Tank. These trips allowed us to continue our preparation for Quintin Head on the Tideway in London where we raced two matched 8+s, this time named Hati and Skoll after the Sun and Moon chasing wolves in Norse Mythology. Both crews were made up of half seniors, half novices and this was their first race on the Tideway for many of the women. Hati the Sun chasers won, with a time of 14:03 against Skoll who completed the course in 15:09.

After gathering insights from the Michaelmas battle paddling, 2k tests and Quintin Head our coaching team (Thomas Chapman, James Marsden and Philipp Schafer) have selected our Torpids crews and training is now focussed on Bumps preparation.

— Anna Jones, women’s captain