College rowing to be restricted on the River Cam to abide by royal swan protection laws
The swans are the ‘nucleus’ of the Cambridge community and are ‘finally getting the respect that they deserve’
Today, the University of Cambridge announced that college rowing, one of the most popular Cambridge sports, will be banned on certain parts of the River Cam out of respect for royal swan protection laws.
Since the twelfth century, the British crown has had the legal right to ownership of all unmarked swans swimming in open waters, and the decision is thought to be part of an effort to respect the rights of the new monarch, King Charles III.
It is believed the ban will encompass just certain parts of the River Cam, creating several “boat-free zones” to protect the swans.
The move has been praised by many, who believe the swans dwelling on the River Cam are an “integral part of the Cambridge community” and that their rights and wellbeing should be of the “highest of priorities.”
The Tab spoke to April Showers, a third-year rower, who claimed that the move was “a leap in the right direction,” given the “incredible value” the swans add to the Cambridge community. She claimed that “even as a rower [herself],” she can respect the move given her empathy for the current plight of the swans, stating “people wouldn’t like it if they couldn’t mind their own business and live their lives without getting whacked in the face by an oar.
“Although I am sad due to the impact on my college rowing, I am glad that the Cambridge swans are finally getting the respect they deserve”, she said, later describing them as the “nucleus” of the Cambridge community.
This announcement comes just after the annual Boat Race in which Cambridge University won all four of their races along the Thames. Many have therefore labelled the timing of such news to be convenient, for Cambridge to enjoy such a victory before the legacy of rowing associated with the city is called into question for the first time ever.
Many fear that, despite not being the training place of choice of the Varisty Team, such a change will be psychologically disconcerting for the morale of the Team. Rower enthusiasts have called such a change to also be introduced on the River Thames in Oxford to even the playing field, but it is yet to be clear whether Oxford will also adopt such restrictions.
As part of the move to respect the Cambridge swans, a ceremony of appreciation will take place in the coming term, in which they will become ambassadors of the university, although the date is yet to be confirmed.
Also, you might want to check the date… You April fools!
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Feature image credits: Mike McBey via the Creative Commons Licence (River Cam), David Hegarty via the Creative Commons Licence (swan)