For the first time in history the Women of BCBC are Head of the River in Summer VIIIs!
Yes, that’s right, for the first time EVER Balliol is now in pole position. And here’s how it happened…
After winning blades in Torpids, we allowed ourselves 2 weeks off (and I sat my exams!) before knuckling down to some hard graft. After some small boats work on the Isis over the vac, we had a physically challenging, but thoroughly enjoyable, training camp based at the OUBC boathouse in Wallingford. Unfortunately the Winklevoss boys didn’t see fit to show their faces, but we did have some fun side-by-side racing with Nick’s J15 boys from Teddy’s School. Many thanks to all the alumni who helped fund the camp!
We returned to our native Godstow with an ambitious training schedule drawn up by Zhan, the cox, and a deep rooted desire to win some pots. After strong performances at Wallingford and Bedford Regattas (winning the latter) we now had pewter tankards and ARA points: next to show Oxford what we were made of.
Unfortunately just two weeks before Eights disaster struck, and our stroke had to drop out for medical reasons. However, we were all determined to pull together and do even better for Christina’s sake. As Donald MacDonald put it “be strengthened by the knowledge that there are nine rowers in your boat”.
So as we lined up on bungline 2, with the elusive Teddy Hall girls behind us, we knew that every one of the girls in the boat would pull their utmost hardest, all the way to the cox’s stone. Luckily for us, this wasn’t really necessary. With a split of 1.13/500m (against the stream) off the start, and stroke rating of 42spm+, there was no where for the Hall to run. Or almost nowhere, anyway. Every source except the Hall cox maintains that we actually bumped them three times before they conceded. Nevertheless, by the end of green bank we were Head of the River.
We then had a relaxing three row-overs, on many occasions calling to ‘stride down’ so as not to exert ourselves too much, before we could finally carry a boat back to college to burn in the fireplace in hall on Saturday evening. I hope you get a chance to check out the video – it’s pretty surreal!
I think at this point it’s essential to remember that we only had to make one bump, as all of the hard work was done by previous years’ crews: in the last 5 years we’ve risen 22 places!
More importantly, needless to say none of this would have been possible without Nick Bevan’s inspirational coaching and support over the time he’s been here. My personal thanks also has to go out to Doug, Andrew and Peggotty for all their help, and to my vice-captain Kirsty for keeping me sane (almost).
I hope as many of our Old Members as possible can make it back for the Headship Dinner on Friday 5th November – it’s looking like it will be a really great night.