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09th March 2023 Freddie Crichton-Miller (2021, English)

Boats, bumps and blades: Exeter sees huge success at Torpids 2023

Freddie Crichton-Miller, cox of Exeter's Women's First Boat, reports on a tremendously successful week on the Isis.

This year’s Torpids saw Exeter boat two women’s eights and two men’s eights to take part in four days of highly competitive bumps races. With the goal of ‘bumping’ up to a higher position on the river, Exonians can be proud to recognise that this was the most successful Torpids campaign since 2004, ‘bumping’ up a total of 14 places across our crews. Exeter was one of just two colleges not to have a single boat bumped this year. Congratulations to all crews!

The Women’s First Boat has not only risen six positions, ‘bumping’ out of Division III to compete in Division II, but they have also secured Blades for the second year in a row. Thanks to the success of Torpids 2022, four women have now made Exeter history by adding their names to the list of the 27 Exonians who have ever accomplished back-to-back Torpids Blades.  Well done to Harriett Cooper, Chloe Howgate (Captain), Alice Welland and Tori Weston for this remarkable achievement. Having easily made their bumps every day before the Gut, we look forward to similar success of the Women’s First Boat at Summer Eights in May.

The Women’s Second Boat also achieved an exceptional rise of four positions, robbed of Blades only by the race-stopping sound of the klaxon on the second day. Having failed even to enter a Second Boat in Torpids 2022, their competitive presence on the Isis this year not only speaks to their commitment but the hard work and devotion of coach Rachel Cannon. In spite of the klaxon, the W2 is a formidable crew and has great potential going forward.

The Men’s First Boat, rowing in the highly competitive upper half of Division II, faced a challenging four days of bumps. Yet, by bumping Trinity, Queen’s, and St Hugh’s, the M1 rose a determined three places, advancing and solidifying their very strong position on the river. The M1’s 21 consecutive days without falling a single position on the river is incredibly impressive, leaving them as the second ‘sturdiest’ Men’s boat on the river. According to Isaac Dale, men’s Captain and stroke of the M1, the Men’s First boat is ‘unbumpable’.

The Men’s Second boat spent three of the four days chasing after the St Hugh’s Second Boat, inching frustratingly closer every day. All resolved, however, on the fourth and final day, with a gratifying and well-earned bump. To the M2, a singular bump against one other eight proved almost as satisfying as their Blades in Torpids last year, proving the determination of our crew in the face of St Hugh’s strength.

Exeter College congratulates the Boat Club on their success, particularly to the Women’s First Boat for their remarkable achievement of consecutive Blades. The standard of rowing is increasing year on year, placing Exeter in line to be one of the leading Boat Clubs at the University of Oxford. As Rector Professor Sir Rick Trainor described it at the celebratory Boat Club dinner after the conclusion of Torpids, we are witnessing the ‘renaissance’ of the Boat Club.

Members of the women's crew celebrate achieving 'Blades'

Members of Exeter College boat Club celebrate a successful Torpids campaign

Members of the Women's crew celebrate achieving 'Blades'

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