Winning in Style: The Oxford Women’s Trial Eights

This year, the Oxford Women’s Trial Eights crews were named Style (in white tops) and Speed (in blue tops).

20 January 2022

By Tim Koch

Due to the COVID-related rescheduling of the Oxford Women’s Trial Eights from 19 December to 18 January there was no press launch following the race, but I managed to take some pictures from Hammersmith Bridge and the official race report from the Boat Race website is reproduced below in bold.

With some fantastic conditions for racing, events got underway with the umpire’s briefing and the coin toss for racing stations. ‘Style’ called the toss but ‘Speed’ won, with cox Charlotte Grayson selecting the Surrey…

Both crews set off strongly from the start, with ‘Speed’ taking a slight lead. They drew together soon after the start with the umpire warning both crews to separate. 

‘Style’ used their position on the Middlesex station well and maintained their slight advantage past Barn Elms and towards the mile post but a determined ‘Speed’ continued to deny their opposition an advantage from the Surrey station. 

At the Milepost, ‘Style’ led ‘Speed’ by ⅓ length.

Approaching Hammersmith Bridge.
The crews shoot the bridge almost level.

With the crews dead level coming under Hammersmith Bridge, ‘Speed’ took the initiative and after a gritty, patient section of racing to Hammersmith, took the lead by 1 seat for the first time in the race. As the crews continued past St Paul’s however, ‘Style’ retaliated with a push of their own on the outside of the bend and took back a lead of around one seat. 

Passing St Paul’s School.

At the end of the (Chiswick Eyot) ‘Style’ led ‘Speed’ by ¼ length.

The crews approach Duke’s Meadows. Picture: @theboatrace

With both crews still in with a chance of glory after 12 minutes of racing, the crews came together and clashed, with the ‘Style’ crew recovering better and increasing their lead coming past the bandstand and into their bend advantage.

With just over a length advantage into Barnes Bridge, ‘Style’ was still closely chased by a hungry ‘Speed’ crew who had yet to let off and give the opposition time to breath.

Barnes Bridge in the background. Picture: @row_360 Ben Tufnell via Boat Race Facebook.

At Barnes Bridge, ‘Style’ led ‘Speed’ by just over a length.

‘Speed’ threw everything at ‘Style’ in the last section of the race, closing the gap on their opposition, but it was too late for them to make up the distance with ‘Style’ maintaining a strong rhythm and holding them off through the line.

Approaching the finish downstream of Chiswick Bridge, ‘Style’ is a length up. Picture: @row_360 Ben Tufnell via Boat Race Facebook.

A brilliant race from both crews, with neither letting up until the finish line. ‘Style’ crossed the line first, beating ‘Speed’ by little more than 1 length.

Style. Picture: @theboatrace
Speed. Picture: @theboatrace

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