Oxford include world champion in Torpids crew
By Jim Railton
Oxford University Boat Club's loss is at least Oxford College's gain with American Olympic medal winners and world champions involved in either rowing or coaching in the Torpids, which begin today.
Dan Lyons, of the United States, the world champion in coxless fours, is rowing six in the Oriel crew, and the Olympic silver medal winner in eights, Chris Penny, has been spotted rowing in the St John's fourth eight. It will certainly be the first time a world rowing champion has competed in the Torpids.
Oriel, the head crew, are seeking their 15th successive Torpids title and with an impressive crew look certain to stay at the top. The Oriel eight has on board three Torpid champions, the stroke Vincent Warner, Mark Emerton and their captain, Geoff Austin. Oriel also has Isis oarsman Mark Machin, an Oxford junior triallist and two experience post-graduates on board.
Keble and Christ Church in second and third places are threatened by their immediate pursuers Pembroke. Oriel's second boat, starting in fifth place, could also prosper further. Worcester, with Blue Mark Dunstan, are also expected to make progress, as indeed are New College. Osler House are tipped to retain their title at the head of the top women's division.
Champion makes history in Torpids
By Jim Railton
Dan Lyons, of the United States, became the first world champion to row in the Oxford Torpids yesterday. Lyons, aged 28, the world champion in the coxless fours, is one of the four Olympic and world medal-winning Americans to rebel against the Oxford University Boat Club's selection for the Boat Race, for which performers of Lyons calibre are usually busy preparing at this time of year.
A postgraduate reading social studies, Lyons opted to keep in trim for this year's world championship by rowing in the Oriel first eight in the important six-seat. Oriel are set yet again to retain the headship.
Double first for one girl in a boat
A notable double was recorded in the opening day of the Oxford Torpids yesterday when 28-year-old Alexandra "Za Za" Horne became not only the first woman to row in the men's first division of Torpids but also helped her crew [Pembroke] to rise to third place when they bumped Christ Church (Jim Railton writes).
Although Miss Horne, seen above [a photo accompanies the article] during yesterday's race, is a postgraduate at St Antony's College, she was given special permission to row for the Pembroke first eight on Tuesday evening by the Oxford University Boat Club committee in charge of the organization of Torpids.
In the past, members of colleges have been allowed "associate membership" of other colleges in order to row but this is normally in the lower divisions.
Miss Horne was a member of last year's winning Oxford women's Boat Race crew and is presently a member of the British women's national squad preparing for the world championships in Copenhagen.
Pembroke's stroke Neil Pratt was ruled unfit with a lung infection, and Miss Horne was invited to row at two. While Oriel as head crew rowed over with lengths to spare yesterday, Pembroke chased Christ Church hard and bumped them just before the finish. Keble lie today between Miss Horne's crew and Oriel. Yesterday's performance was quite an achievement for a woman in what is normally a men's world.
The top divisions of the Oxford University Torpids produced close racing but few bumps in atrocious conditions on the Isis yesterday.
Oriel, the leaders, finished five lengths ahead of Keble in the men's first division but although only half a length separated the next five crews they retained their places and rowed over. Exeter went down two places after being caught by New College and Lincoln but the only other bump was by Hertford on St Catherine's [? actually St Edmund Hall] at the bottom of the division.
Worcester grateful to an alert umpire
An alert umpire cost Brasenose a bump in the Oxford University Torpids on the Isis yesterday. It was announced that the first nine crews had rowed over in the men's first division but the official saw Worcester make contact with Brasenose along the Green Bank and the bump was allowed.
In the women's top division, which produced four bumps, Osler House have few [sic, presumably meant 'new'?] challengers today as their nearest rival, St Hugh's, were caught by Somerville close the the University Boat House.
Somerville women complete a double
Oriel successfully defended the men's headship of the Oxford University Torpids for the sixteenth consecutive year on Saturday.
In the women's first division, Somerville overhauled Osler House at the end of the Green Bank to go top for the first time. It gave them a unique double as they are also the leaders of the summer eights.
by Simon Barnes
Many people spluttered when the delightfully named Za Za Horne (yes, a woman) rowed in the Pembroke College Men's Eight in the Torpids, and rubbed in this triumph by helping them improve from fourth to third by bumping Christ Church. But the most extreme reaction came from Saudi Arabia. A Saudi newspaper, firmly seizing hold of the wrong end of the stick, believed that she was rowing in the Oxford boat in the Boat Race and felt the shame so keenly that it printed a picture of the Pembroke Eight — with Miss Horne's face blacked out.
Though the term started off with some amazingly low temperatures, and the Isis was frozen for the first week or so, the weather during Torpids was decidedly less inclement than last year, when the third day of racing was lost due to ice. None of the days was, however, entirely free from rain.
The headship was held, as expected, by Oriel, with a very fast crew — not perhaps quite as fast as last year's, though — which had lately been reshuffled to accommodate Dan Lyons, the World Champion from America. He declared himself to reporters as 'honoured' to row in the crew. Keble again held on to second place, perhaps more decisively than last year, despite keeping everyone guessing in training by staying in fours for most of the term. The third spot was taken over by Pembroke, who had also reshuffled their crew, due to illness, and had received O.U.B.C. dispensation to included a female member of another college, namely Miss ZaZa Horne of St Antony's, a member of the Women's National Squad.
Elsewhere in the First Division, Oriel II fell on the last day as Worcester's third victims: the next highest second boat is now eighteen places below. Hertford gained their blades and moved up into the First Division, while Exeter underwent a spectacular drop. Colleges moving up at the top of the Second Division were Balliol (three places), Trinity (two places) and Magdalen, who reversed last year's drop and climbed two. At the bottom of the division, Jesus began their long climb after last year's drop of fourteen places, which was mainly due to their foundering when they struck a submerged lump of ice which split the shell of their boat. This year, they climbed three places.
The top of the Third Division was impressive this year, especially on the Friday; Christ Church II just managed to stave off Oriel III, who fell on the last day to L.M.H., a first boat which has been climbing steadily ever since the college first admitted men, gaining in most years, as this year, their blades. Another Third Division first boat, Merton, rose three places, as they did last year. Among the new arrivals in the division was Hertford II, whose rise of seven places was commendable.
A thrilling chase along the Greenbank on the Saturday resulted in Somerville, with two bumps already under their belts, deposing Osler House from the Women's Headship. They then rowed back to their boathouse with their cox at stroke. Lower down in the same division, Brasenose and St Hugh's II won their blades, as did New College, Hertford and Christ Church in the Women's Second Division. An even more unfortunate drop than that of Exeter was undergone by St Hilda's, who fell fifteen places.
|B:||M. J. R. Hill (Bradfield)|
|2:||G. N. Austin (English Martyr's Sch.)|
|3:||A. P. McNally (King's Coll., London)|
|4:||A. Borer (King's Coll., London)|
|5:||M. P. Emerton (Abingdon Sch.)|
|6:||D. K. Lyons (U.S. Naval Acad.)|
|7:||M. G. A. Machin (King's Sch., Chester)|
|S:||V. J. Warner (Tonbridge)|
|C:||J. R. Lewis (Stonehaven Acad.)|
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