Archive for the ‘Rowing’ Category

Head of the River Race 2015   Leave a comment

I was somehow convinced to jump into the crew of Wolfson first- and second-boat oarsmen entered into this year’s Head of the River Race. The regatta is a head race over the Championship Course on the London Tideway. It is the same 6.8 km stretch used in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race (raced in the opposite direction) and is known to be gruelling.

The weather was grey and windy, prompting the organisers to delay the start by 30 minutes while they considered whether the course was safe to row. We did manage to squeeze the race in just before the gusts turned the river truly unnavigable. Battered by wind and waves, Wolfson finished the course in a respectable 20 minutes and 2 seconds. We had an exciting overtake on Wolfson College, Cambridge, just after Hammersmith Bridge, and finished the course three abreast, placing 189th overall out of 345 entrants.

Posted 29 Mar 2015 by John McManigle in Rowing

Torpids 2015   Leave a comment

Despite predictions, after submitting my thesis in January, I did have one more bumps race in me: Torpids 2015! Without time to train during the writing-up period, I focused on coxing the women’s second boat. This was a fantastically strong and dedicated group of women, and when race week came, we pulled off something no crew of mine has earned yet: Blades! By bumping up four times over four days, W2 finished eighth in Division III as the third-highest second boat. It was also an historic year for the Wolfson women more generally, as all three women’s crews earned blades!

I also made a guest appearance in the men’s third boat when a rower was injured at the last minute, and of course did a fair amount of tannoy commentary. I’ll certainly miss Oxford bumps racing, and hope to make it back one of these days.

Click for a couple more pictures and a video of one bump…

Posted 7 Mar 2015 by John McManigle in Rowing

Novice Rowing Michaelmas 2014   Leave a comment

As my thesis-writing slowly drew nearer to its end, I had the opportunity to work with one last group of fantastic novice Wolfson rowers. In Christ Church Regatta, I coxed the novice women. These ladies trained hard and came out to race fiercely. We won five races over the four-day regatta, finishing third overall — the highest Wolfson women’s Christ Church result in living memory! As always, the successes were celebrated in full Oxford style at a fantastic dinner at the Wig and Pen.

Season of Mists

During training one morning, I snapped the picture above, which also ended up winning a Wolfson photography competition. Click for a few more!

Posted 29 Nov 2014 by John McManigle in Rowing

Summer Eights 2014   Leave a comment

I returned to Oxford in time to train for and race in one last bumps race: Summer Eights 2014. In a Wolfson rebuilding year, I was rowing in our men’s first boat and coxing the women’s second boat. Both crews performed strongly. While the men were bumped down over the first two days by speedy Magdalen and Trinity boats, we were able to hold position over Friday and Saturday — the latter in front of a very respectable Balliol. We finished seventh on the river, confirming the tenacity that the past several years have brought out in Wolfson.

The women’s second boat had a stronger performance still. We bumped St. John’s II on Wednesday, followed by a powerful row-over Thursday. We went on to bump St. Hilda’s on Friday, and rowed over Saturday, securing our highest finish since the modern women’s Summer Eights patterns started in the early 1980’s.

Eights14 1

Click for a bit more.

Posted 31 May 2014 by John McManigle in Rowing

Worcester Regatta 2014   Leave a comment

On a beautiful sunny English Saturday, the Wolfson first eight traveled to Worcester for a bit of pre-Summer Eights race practice. We entered the intermediate 2 and senior divisions. Only two crews entered the IM2 division, and Wolfson beat our opponents, Hertford College Oxford (another Eights Division I crew), by just over a length over the 850m course. In the afternoon Senior division, our first opponents, Stourport Boat Club, scratched, so we were again in an immediate final. We faced off against Keble College Oxford, a crew with six Blues rowers and two Olympians, Tim Foster and Storm Uru. Despite the odds, we maintained contact throughout the race and lost by just under a length. While any defeat is gutting, the crew was proud of that result against an extremely strong opponent.


Worcester Regatta Crew

Posted 17 May 2014 by John McManigle in Rowing

Henley Boat Races 2014   1 comment

Each year, Wolfson sends a contingent of Dark Blue supporters to the Henley Boat Races. These races include the varsity events for the men’s and women’s lightweight rowing crews. Additionally, 2014 is the final year in which the women’s openweight race was also contested in Henley. Thanks to a push by Newton, sponsor of the Women’s Boat Race, that race will join the openweight men on the Championship Course in London beginning in 2015.

After a winter of flooding, the river and weather came together in just enough time for a beautiful Henley Boat Races. The atmosphere on the bank was jovial as Oxford won two of the three varsity fixtures (lightweight and openweight women), losing only the lightweight men’s race.


Click for more pictures…

Posted 30 Mar 2014 by John McManigle in Notes, Rowing

Novice Rowing Michaelmas 2012   Leave a comment

This year’s novice rowing term was a bit of a struggle, as the river was often closed due to flooding. Just when it looked like the conditions would allow the Christ Church Regatta (the main event of the year for novices) to go ahead, torrential flows from upstream resulted in catastrophe, including a Somerville College boat snapped to pieces. The regatta was canceled.

Regardless, Wolfson came out of the season with a strong fighting spirit. One of the men’s novice boats was in the only division to race in Christ Church Regatta before disaster struck. The women’s first novice boat performed well in Nephthys Regatta and then was victorious in a mini erg race organized by University College when Christ Church Regatta was canceled. And of course, the friendships formed and boat club dinner festivities made the season an unforgettable one.


Click for more pictures and a note on IWL A!

Posted 24 Nov 2012 by John McManigle in Rowing

Fours Head of the River with KRSV Njord   Leave a comment

Like the Head of the River Race, the Fours Head is a a head race over the 6.8-km Boat Race Course. Though Wolfson entered a four, I was a bit too uncertain of my lab schedule to commit to the race and so was training with Wolfson’s eight instead. Then, the day before the race, a plea was posted on the Oxford College Rowing website asking for a substitute rower for the KRSV Njord club of the University of Leiden, Netherlands. Needless to say, I offered my services and somehow was taken up on the offer.

Njord, founded in 1874, is the oldest Dutch national rowing association. My particular boat was made up of members who had been rowing for about two years, but as an “international crew”, we were entered in the Elite division alongside other top clubs and the likes of the Oxford and Cambridge Blues squads. Having start number 39 out of about 450 meant we were able to avoid the Tideway Head ritual of waiting for three hours on the water before the race started.

This race was the first and only time the crew rowed together, so the going was a bit scrappy, but there were some clean stretches and nice pushes, and we finished in a respectable 20:41.7.

Fours Head - Jet Photographic



These pictures are courtesy Big Blade Photography and JET Photographic. Click for more!

Posted 10 Nov 2012 by John McManigle in Rowing

Oxford City Royal Regatta 2012   Leave a comment

The highlight of Wolfson’s summer regatta season was Oxford City Royal Regatta. Raced over both weekend days, the regatta attracts a number of local clubs, some Oxford and Cambridge colleges, and composite teams just out to have a bit of fun. The Saturday races are over 1000m, and Sunday is raced over 500m. Each day has “sprint eights” events over the lunch hour, in which all eights entered are invited to race — without any handicaps or divisions aside from gender — over a 350m course.

The Wolfson men did quite well: we entered three fours and an eight (the eight raced both days). Each of the fours (including mine) won their respective divisions, and the eight won on Sunday. I was asked to substitute into Worcester College’s sprint eight (after drinking half of my victory Pimms) on Sunday. Though we had a good race, we sadly were bested by a squad of ex-GB rowers. (As that squad was rowing with a borrowed Wolfson boat and blades but rowing with lilac Durham University kit, they were hailed from the bank as “Pink Wolfson.”) The women had a harder time of it; their eight entered on Saturday, winning one lunchtime sprint race and two races in the afternoon, but in the end were edged out.


These pictures of my four (and my adopted Worcester eight) were taken by Matthew Richie and Big Blade Photography. Click for more!

Posted 19 Aug 2012 by John McManigle in Rowing

Summer Eights 2012   Leave a comment

Another summer, another Summer Eights bumps race on the Thames! This year, I rowed in the 2nd men’s boat and coxed the 3rd women’s boat. M2 bumped each of the four days, but our Friday bump was ruled invalid by the race authorities and a bump awarded against us instead. (Apparently, we bumped a bit too hard.) Still, we moved up through division 4. The W3 crew had a bit of a rougher time, being bumped on Thursday and Friday, but with very strong row-overs on the Wednesday and Saturday races. Saturday was particularly impressive, as the ladies recovered from a crab to hold off and ultimately pull away from what looked like an inevitable bump.

Wolfson’s flagship crews also did quite well this Eights, with the men holding their position of fourth on the river and the women bumping up to the head of division 2.

These pictures are courtesy my parents who were visiting for the race! Click for more!

Posted 26 May 2012 by John McManigle in Rowing