Row, Row, Row your boat as Torpids begins.

Crashes and bums characterize Torpids first day.

Rowing Torpids

Torpids 2013 kicked off on Wednesday with the characteristic display of a mixture of terrible rowing and great rowing which makes college racing so entertaining.

The lower divisions saw an unprecedented lack of klaxons, but a decent number of crashes nevertheless. The bottom Men’s division saw Benet’s kick things off with an excellent crash into the bank after becoming entangled with Teddy Hall II. Reports that their land support consisted of a single pair of monks are unconfirmed, but clearly they didn’t have God on their side today. Plummeting from top of the division to the bottom, they’ll start at the men’s foot of the river.

Things got testy during the warm-up for Men’s Div. 5, with Pembroke III tactically ploughing straight into Christ Church III, hurling 2-seat Tristan Jamie Smart into the river. During the race itself, St Anne’s II pulled a similar trick on St Benet’s,  as they attempted to escape Regent’s Park with an evasive manoeuvre across the river, straight into a tree. This saw the rest of the division row straight past them as they evacuated their boat.

Sunrise on the river.

Women’s Div 5 was mostly tedious, Wadham III proving the exception as they evaded St Hilda’s II with only six rowers on-board. The next few divisions saw ample joy/heartbreak/relative indifference, dreams crushed, dreams fulfilled.Devastatingly, the OURCs twitter feed seems to have collapsed during these races, so there’s no details. No major crashes happened, no-one fell in and there weren’t any Olympians in the boats, so you probably don’t care.

In Men’s Div II, a resurgent Exeter bumped St Hugh’s off the start, as did Somerville. making it a very bad day for the North Oxford college. Jesus bumped a weak Queen’s crew, whilst Univ managed to escape the attractions of the bank and bump Queens too. Teddy Hall managed to just escape hotly-tipped Brasenose and Lincoln surprisingly caught Pembroke II.

I n Women’s Div 1 Magdalen comfortably held onto their Headship – although they may be caught by Wadham over the next couple of days. Queens continued their poor run of form, bumped quickly by St Catz, while St John’s caught a slow Worcester crew narrowly escaped from Univ. Oriel got Hertford, whilst a strong Pembroke crew got Christ Church just after Donny Bridge.

Do idyllic scenes make up for early mornings?

Men’s Division 1 saw two times Olympic gold medallist in the Women’s Eight, Caryn Davies stroke head-of-the-river Pembroke to an easy retention of their Headship. It’s looking like they’ll easily stay Head for the next three days. Behind them, things were tight. Christ Church just held off Magdalen, closely followed by hotly-tipped Balliol. Over the next three days, expect Christ Church to be bumped by both crews, and Balliol to bump Magdalen.

Moving down the division, it seems a crash from LMH along with other bumps means  LMH may move down five places, Oriel up one place, Hertford in the same place, and Wadham up two places. Trinity, stroked by Zimbabwean Olympian sculler James Fraser-McKenzie, bumped Anne’s before the gut.

Trinity are  perhaps the best bet for Blades amongst men’s first eights.  Amongst the women, a technical failure from Merton means that blades are a possibility for many Div II crews.  GTC (men and women) should also manage Blades, if they can bump before their divisions are klaxoned.