Tideway Week: Very Good Friday

Pic 1. Blue skies over Putney. Easter Friday was a warm, calm and dry day, perfect for rowing and for watching rowing. It would also have been a good day for the Boat Races. As is traditional though, the predicted weather on race day, Sunday, is not as good.
Blue skies over Putney. Easter Friday was a warm, calm and dry day, perfect for rowing and for watching rowing. It would also have been a good day for the Boat Races. As is traditional though, the predicted weather on race day, Sunday, is not as good.

26 March 2016

Tim Koch reports:

Pic 2. Putney Embankment – Boat Race Central. From left to right, London Rowing Club, King’s College School, Wimbledon Boat Club (the CUBC base), HSBC Boat Club, Dulwich College Boat Club, Crabtree Boat Club, Westminster School Boat Club (the OUBC base), Ranelagh Sailing Club, Vesta Rowing Club, Thames Rowing Club (the CUWBC base). OUWBC is based at Imperial College, out of the picture, next to Thames. As with all HTBS pictures, click to enlarge.
Putney Embankment – Boat Race Central. From left to right, London Rowing Club, King’s College School, Wimbledon Boat Club (the CUBC base), HSBC Boat Club, Dulwich College Boat Club, Crabtree Boat Club, Westminster School Boat Club (the OUBC base), Ranelagh Sailing Club, Vesta Rowing Club, Thames Rowing Club (the CUWBC base). OUWBC is based at Imperial College, out of the picture, next to Thames. As with all HTBS pictures, click to enlarge.
Pic 3. On Friday, the press launch followed the Oxford men.
On Friday, the press launch followed the Oxford men.
Pic 4. Coach Sean Bowden with his boys opposite Chiswick Church. On the opposite bank is one of the race’s timing points, Chiswick Steps. Originally, these steps led down to the ferryman who rowed people across the river in pre-bridge days. Older rowers still refer to the modern development on the left as ‘LEP’, from LEP Transport, cargo agents who had wharves and warehouses there between 1922 and the late 1980s.
Coach Sean Bowden with his boys opposite Chiswick Church. On the opposite bank is one of the race’s timing points, Chiswick Steps. Originally, these steps led down to the ferryman who rowed people across the river in pre-bridge days. Older rowers still refer to the modern development on the left as ‘LEP’, from LEP Transport, cargo agents who had wharves and warehouses there between 1922 and the late 1980s.
Pic 4a. Jamie Cook (7) and Nic Hazell (stroke).
Jamie Cook (7) and Nic Hazell (stroke).
Pic 5. Upstream of Hammersmith Bridge.
Upstream of Hammersmith Bridge.
Pic 6. Under Hammersmith Bridge.
Under Hammersmith Bridge.
Pic 7. Along Fulham Reach.
Along Fulham Reach.
Pic 7a. George McKirdy (bow), the race’s oldest (27) and lightest man (76.8kg).
George McKirdy (bow), the race’s oldest (27) and lightest man (76.8kg).
Pic 8. Approaching Putney Bridge.
Approaching Putney Bridge.

Facing the Press Gang

There are five separate press conferences these days, one with all the race umpires and the others with a trio of representatives (coach, president and cox) from each of the men’s and women’s Blue Boats. Traditionally, these press conferences are rather ‘tight-lipped’ affairs. The underdog does not want to appear either too pessimistic or unrealistically optimistic and can end up being defensive. The favourite has nothing to prove but does not want to appear arrogant. This usually results in very brief answers that do not give any information. When press conferences with the representatives of the women’s crews started last year, the rowers, to their credit, were a little more open and did make some attempt to engage with their inquisitors. At first, this year seemed like it would be no exception to this state of affairs – until the final question and answer session which was with Cambridge Coach Steve Trapmore, President, Henry Hoffstot and cox Ian Middleton.

Pic 9. The CUBC Press Conference. From left to right, Ian Middleton, Steve Trapmore, Henry Hoffstot.
The CUBC Press Conference. From left to right, Ian Middleton, Steve Trapmore, Henry Hoffstot.

Steve Trapmore became the Light Blue coach in 2011 and since then Cambridge has won only once, in the unsatisfactory 2012 Race that included a stoppage and a broken blade. Thus, Trapmore’s appearances at Boat Race press conferences have increasingly seen him in the underdog role – until now. Two days before the 2016 Race, he was relaxed, smiling and even gregarious, speaking at length. Most notably he said that ‘The guys needed to change and I needed to change’ and he clearly thinks that he and the rowers have accomplished this and have put CUBC in a very strong position. He would, no doubt, have been greatly encouraged by Cambridge’s defeat of Oxford Brookes and a German U23 crew in the recent Boat Race fixtures. If Trapmore had any feelings of schadenfreude over Oxford losing to Brookes and Leander during the fixtures, he did not show it.

Pic 10. The Oxford Women’s Coach, Christine Wilson (left) and OUWBC President, Maddy Badcott (right). Maddy learned to row at Lea Rowing Club in Hackney, East London, through the club’s learn to row scheme and also with London Youth Rowing.
The Oxford Women’s Coach, Christine Wilson (left) and OUWBC President, Maddy Badcott (right). Maddy learned to row at Lea Rowing Club in Hackney, East London, through the club’s learn to row scheme and also with London Youth Rowing.
Pic 11. OUWBC Cox Morgan Baynam-Williams.
OUWBC Cox Morgan Baynam-Williams.
Pic 12. Oxford Coach Sean Bowden (left), now in his 22nd season involved with the Boat Race. He has eleven wins as the Oxford Coach. In the centre is Morgan Gerlak, the president, and on the right is Cox Sam Collier.
Oxford Coach Sean Bowden (left), now in his 22nd season involved with the Boat Race. He has eleven wins as the Oxford Coach. In the centre is Morgan Gerlak, the president, and on the right is Cox Sam Collier.
Pic 13. From CUWBC, Cox Rosemary Ostfeld, President Hanna Roberts and Coach Rob Baker.
From CUWBC, Cox Rosemary Ostfeld, President Hanna Roberts and Coach Rob Baker.
Pic 14. Steve Trapmore – is he a man whose time has come?
Steve Trapmore – is he a man whose time has come?

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