View from a #DarkBlue… The Rowing Sabbatical

View from a #DarkBlue… The Rowing Sabbatical

By Bernard TaoOxford University Rowing Clubs’ (OURCs) Sabbatical Officer
Follow @OURCs and @racedesk on Twitter for updates during regattas and bumps races

The beginning of the year seemed calm enough. Ian (my predecessor) had booked the swimming pool for our first and biggest set of swim-tests shortly before he finished last Summer, and then the Freshers’ arrived. Over the course of three, five hour long sessions we had about 1,500 people come down to Oxford University Sport’s Rosenblatt Pool, where instructors from Bubbles swim school diligently ran the testing.

We have been very fortunate that so far we have had some good conditions for rowing in and around Oxford following a dry end to the summer.

Unlike last year, many of these freshers have been heading down to the river at about 6am to learn how to row on the Isis. This was broken up last week, however, when Storm St Jude brought gusts of over 50mph across Oxford. Everyone agreed with the OURCs committee when it was suggested that staying home in bed would be a good idea for that particular morning!

During a standard week I will cycle down to the river for a couple of morning sessions, where I’ll check the river and weather conditions, and that the clubs are being safe and fair, as we have 36 college boat clubs all sharing the same short stretch of river, which three external clubs also use.

This last week, however, was not a standard week. We had our first event of the year, Isis Winter League A, which was our new Secretary’s first event since his election at the beginning of the term. We had nice sunshine to start off the event, with fifty crews running a timed piece from Donnington Bridge up towards the Head of the River Pub. Anu was kindly live-updating results after each divison. The fastest mens’ crew was the Trinity eight, and the fastest womens’ crew was the Corpus Christi eight.

It was great to have mixed participation from both Town and Gown with crews representing Falcon RC, City of Oxford RC, and the Oxford Academicals all competing.

This event could not have run without our Senior Umpire, David Locke, and our brilliant first aiders from Epione Medical Services.

Looking ahead this term we have a great selection of events. In two weeks time we have Autumn Fours, our annual side-by-side regatta for smaller boats, and in four weeks time we have the second event in the Isis Winter League.

However, this isn’t all the college rowing happening as the Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club are running Nephthys Regatta at the end of 6th Week. Plus in 7th week the freshers, who have started this term, will be able to compete in Christ Church Regatta.

This is the third in a weekly series of blog posts featuring views from different members of the sporting community at Oxford involved in student sports. Next week we will hear from Caroline Demetriou in the Sports Federation. We will catch up with Bernard again in December.

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