Michaelmas 2021 saw the arrival of a motivated and strong set of novice rowers at Merton College Boat Club, who have trained effortlessly to gain seats in the club’s first and second crews on the Men’s and Women’s sides.
Torpids week started strongly with the Women’s Second VIII pulling a quick bump on Wolfson out of the bag. Day two saw them chasing St Antony’s W2 down the course, putting real pressure on them whilst maintaining their position. They then faced two difficult days being chased by crews that were on a rapid rise throughout the week. We are hugely proud of their fight and look forward to more from this great crew.
The Men’s Second VIII started well, managing to hold off a fierce University College M2 before the race came to an abrupt end with a klaxon. Day two was difficult as they were bumped out of the division; however, the crew showed great character in keeping up their spirits. Having been bumped down to the top of Division five for day three, M2 rose to the challenge and rowed over strong before making their attempt to get back into Division 4 as sandwich boat, putting down a great performance. On the final day, the conditions and competition proved too strong and they were bumped down, ending up in 15th position out of 25 2nd boats.
The Women’s First VIII started off facing strong competition and showed real determination out on the water. Competition was fierce and the standard high, but this did not stop W1 from rowing with speed and strength throughout the week. After being bumped several times it might have been expected that our valiant W1 would lose focus, but true to form they pulled through at the end of the week. On Saturday conditions were tough, with a strong head wind. This did not faze our fearless women, who, under the watchful eye of the Warden herself, gained a strong bump on St Hilda’s at the end of green banks, ending the week on a high.
The Men’s First VIII had spent Hilary term preparing for a long and painful week, potentially having to row over eight times as top bungline in Division 2 and sandwich boat in Division 1. Determined to start strong, M1 held off Queen's for three days straight, making their way as the sandwich boat every day until Friday. With their sights set on Division 1 the crew quickly tired down Magdalen M1 ahead, bumping them just after Donnington Bridge and securing their position in Division 1 for the first time in over 20 years. With the excitement of having to only race once on Saturday, the crew came out strong and prepared to race Trinity M1 down to the end. They finished with a spectacular bump on Trinity (holding off on the bump to meet the glory of the supporters on Boathouse Island), ending the week in 11th place in Division 1, the highest Torpids position since 1967!
We are all delighted with the Torpids campaign, which culminated in a great reception in the MCR, organised by our Social Secretaries and PR & Alumni Officer. We look forward to the training camp in Porto and M1’s entry into the Head of the River Race 2022. The club is incredibly excited for what Trinity 2022 has in store.