This year's Torpids competition was a triumphant one for Oriel's two women's boats, as the women's First VIII claimed Head of the River and the women's Second VIII got blades as they moved up into Division III.
Both the women's First VIII and men's First VIII started this year's torpids poised in second place in their respective First Divisions. The women's boat bumped first-place Magdalen on day one of the competition to take the Headship, held off strong challenges from Christ Church on Thursday and Friday and then endured a nail-biting finish, just holding off a very strong Wadham crew on the final day to finish Head of the River.
This is only the second time in their history that the women's First VIII have finished Head of the River in Torpids, the first time being the Double Headship of 2006, so this marked a fantastic achievement for the crew. Their success was even more impressive considering the crew was made up mostly of women who had never picked up an oar before they arrived in Oxford!
The women's First VIII weren't the only ones celebrating, as the women's Second VIII put together an outstanding run, bumping up seven places and a division to gain blades. These achievements made for a very special evening of celebrations in College on Saturday!
The men's First VIII started this year's competition in second place in Division One behind Pembroke and pushed hard in each race to try and make it a Double Headship, but they couldn't quite catch Pembroke and their challenge for the Headship will resume next year. The men's Second VIII had a challenging four days on the river and despite their best efforts and some good rows they dropped down to Division IV.
The weekend also saw the official launch of a new boat for the men's First VIII, the Jonathan Close-Brooks, named in memory of the Captain of the 1966 men's First VIII, who died in 2000. Many thanks to all those alumni who generously donated to cover the cost of the new boat, to whom the crew and College are very grateful. The official launch took place on Saturday afternoon and was attended by Jonathan's widow Rosemary.