Isis flooding leads to Torpids cancellation

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This year’s Torpids has been cancelled due to unsafe rowing conditions following heavy weeks of heavy rainfall.

The news comes after yet another weekend of rain raised water levels on the river Isis to an unsafe height.

Torpids, a four day Hilary term rowing bumps event, was due to take place at the end of this week.

After racing on Wednesday and Thursday were cancelled last week, it had been hoped that Torpids might still take place on Friday and Saturday.

However in a statement this week, Scott Houghton, the Secretary of the Oxford University Rowing Club said: “Prior experience shows that there is no way it (the water level) would drop to a level where racing would be possible”.

“Because of this, the senior umpires took the decision that it would not be possible to run racing safely, a decision backed up by both the OURCs committee and the environment agency”.

He added that: “Entry fees have been fully refunded to all crews who have entered”.

Unprecedentedly high levels of rainfall have prevented many teams from training on the river this term, raising concerns about whether college teams were race fit for this year’s event.

Reaction from college boat clubs has been mixed, with students left frustrated at the lack of racing but also understanding the reasons for the cancellation.

“Although it’s disappointing after a term training, it’s the right decision as the river conditions are too dangerous to risk running torpids,” said Sarah Stuart, Women’s Captain of the Keble College Boat Club.

“Now we’re just looking forward to flooding summer VIII’s with Keble success,” she added.

Olivia Lamming, rowing enthusiast and one of the captains of Lincoln College Boat Club, said: “It’s obviously a shame to see Torpids cancelled, particularly as a club coming into the regatta off the back of a beautiful victory for our novices at Christchurch, and blades for both our men’s and women’s sides this time last year.

“However this year’s regatta would probably have been neither safe nor fun – no one has been out on the Isis for months, and allowing racing that incentivises crews to bump into each other to go ahead under those circumstances would probably have been fairly disastrous. But presumably at some point the rain will stop, and we’ll be bumping again at summer eights.”

Rhianna Cearns, a member of the Women’s Boat Club squad, said: “It has been very frustrating for boat club captains in particular, because it has been difficult to keep the training varied and interesting so people do not lose interest. However, there is still Summer Eights to look forward to in Trinity and hopefully all the land training everyone has had to do will mean that the standard will be very high.”

Holly Meehan, a Keble third year, said: “Many colleges don’t have enough money to send rowers to Dorney, which is the only place anyone can safely row at the moment.

“If Torpids had gone ahead certain teams would have been at a complete disadvantage.”

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