Collage of photos of rowers competing in the Summer Eights competition

The three LMH crews enjoyed an eventful week of Summer Eights rowing during 5th Week of Trinity term. Following one of the longest, wettest winters in recent memory, during which the LMH crews were unable to get any practise time on the river, our rowers put in some strong performances, with W1 and W2 bumping up two places each. 

Each crew reports on the highs and lows of this year’s Summer Eights competition below.

Women’s 1st Eight

Overall stats: +2

Day 1: rowed over

Day 2: rowed over

Day 3: bumped Trinity

Day 4: bumped St Catz

W1 started Summer Eights in pursuit of a bump on Mansfield. Although we aimed to row over on day one, it became clear that we were even speedier than we’d thought. We pulled away from Somerville quickly, getting to within half a length of Mansfield, but didn’t quite have enough river to catch them. Despite not getting the bump, we were happy with our strong row over and felt excited for day two.

Thursday brought the opportunity to try for the bump again. We set our sights on the overbump on Catz and pressed on hard. We made up significant ground on Catz, getting within less than a length by the time we arrived at the Head of the River. Getting so close was frustrating, but provided motivation for day three.

Disaster struck overnight, when our bow was unable to race following a trip to A&E, but Milly Moor saved the day, joining our bow pair for days three and four. W1 were now chasing Trinity. After our best start all week, we flew off down the river and bumped in the gut! After celebrations had quieted down, always hungry for more, W1 refocused and made plans for Saturday.

W1 started the final day of racing on bungline 10, chasing Catz. Having been so close to the overbump earlier in the week, we knew catching them was feasible. We came together as a crew, focused on rowing our best race, and the overlap came before Donnington Bridge. But Catz were determined not to give up and it became clear that a physical bump was the only thing that was going to cut it. We pushed on, emptying the tanks, and, rowing harder than ever, we made contact just before Boathouse Island, in full view of the LMH boathouse. Greeted back onto the raft with cheering crowds and pimms, Eights ended on the highest of highs.

Given the setbacks of losing a crew member half way through the competition, and having so little rowing this year, this was an amazing example of what hard work and determination can do - going two up after so little water time is testament to the crew’s dedication. A massive thank you to everyone involved, whether that was racing for two days or four, and to our wonderful coach Viv and captain Maddy for their hard work this year.

Men’s 1st Eight

Overall stats: -2

Day 1: bumped Wadham

Day 2: bumped by Wadham 

Day 3: bumped by New

Day 4: bumped by Trinity

M1 entered Trinity term with a total of zero outings under our belt, and with only seven people who had been in a boat before, so we decided to take a week to settle in before starting our training.

After a 10-outing week, we went into day one of Summer Eights feeling confident, and we fulfilled the first step in our manifestation with a strong bump on the first day.

However, our good fortune didn’t last - ten strokes into day two we were bumped by Wadham. One of our rowers gained a cut on his back and we ended up in the bank, but somehow not a single rule was broken. We decide we must redeem ourselves the next day.

But on Friday, Wadham managed to keep their distance long enough for New College to catch us first, placing us at the bottom of Division I. 

On Saturday, our prayers to bump Trinity were not answered and they made short work of us as well. But it was a fun week overall, and we’re looking forward to next year!

Women’s 2nd Eight

Overall stats: +2

Day 1: rowed over

Day 2: rowed over 

Day 3: bumped Teddy Hall

Day 4: bumped Oriel

The week started off on Wednesday with W2 chasing S.E.H. III. The race began strongly, with a powerful start that saw the gap between the boats closing quickly, and just before Donny bridge, the Teddy Hall cox made a concession. W2 initially pulled out of the racing line, happy to have only rowed a mere 300m of the course, however celebration was short lived when a call from Viv for “racing front-stops” was made over the speakers. W2 were off again, racing down the course a couple of boat lengths ahead of Oriel IV. It was later discovered that S.E.H. III had made a false concession, and since they were no longer considered a racing boat, the bump did not count. The crew kept their cool, avoiding being bumped by Oriel, and ended the day with a strong row over.

On Thursday, W2 were chasing St Peter’s III. Despite a less than optimal racing line (straight into the bank), and dropping out stroke-side to correct course, W2 were underway, with Oriel IV hot on their tail. W2 were able to pull away from Oriel, finishing the race with another row over.

On Friday, W2 were once again chasing S.E.H. III, determined to bump them for real this time. Despite a minor incident involving a rower falling off her seat, the W2 crew rowed on valiantly, and the bump on Teddy Hall was secure within the first minute of racing (with no false concessions this time).

Finally, on Saturday, having bumped up a place, W2 were chasing Oriel III down the river. The sun was shining, and spirits were high with the prospect of bumping another Oriel boat into spoons. The gap between the boats began to shrink just before the gut and Oriel conceded, ending Summer Eights on a win for W2 (if they subsequently crashed into the bank and lost their bow ball celebrating, we won’t talk about it).