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The 2022/23 season in review

The BCBC women’s side had a strong start to the year, with lots of returning seniors and a sizeable intake of undergraduate and postgraduate novices. The novices enjoyed racing in the Michaelmas Novice Regatta, and the senior women had a great result at Autumn Fours, coming second only to Univ by half a length in the final. 

In Hilary Term, the second VIII qualified comfortably for Torpids – a great improvement on the previous year. Overall, the women’s side had the most success Torpids since before the pandemic. W2 went +2 despite multiple klaxons in their division, and W1 also went +2, moving up to 5th in Division 2.  

Trinity Term saw a boost in training and moral, with W1 cycling to Abingdon for the first time. W2 once again qualified for Summer Eights, rowing on with ease. It was a great week of rowing, with lots of supporters cheering on the crews, and everyone racing sporting the iconic red bucket hat. W2 got off to a great start, with a quick bump on Somerville W2 on day one and a thrilling chase with Hertford W2 on day two, going -2 over the week after being bumped on the third and fourth days. After a spoons winning fall into Division 2 last year, W1 had a very successful bumps campaign, getting a bump each day on Catz, Hertford, New, and St Anne’s to win blades and climb back into Division 1. The Summer Eights dinner was a great way to round off the week. 

With a large proportion of the women’s side still at Balliol next year, we look forward to welcoming new members and building on this year’s success! 

Sophie Winter (Women’s Captain)

Balliol College Boat Club Men’s Side went into this academic year with an excess of momentum from several years of successful bumps racing and climbing the leaderboards. Our novice season saw a record number of new rowers keen to join the BCBC legacy. We started off the year with 28 returning seniors and 35 new novices on the Men’s Side.

Our Michaelmas term was highlighted by 3 events, Nephthys Regatta, Michaelmas Novice Regatta, and St. Johns Sports Day. Sadly, the Men’s First crew was knocked out by Lincoln in the first round at Nephthys, who were subsequently knocked out by New College.

Christchurch Regatta was discontinued after last year and replaced by Michaelmas Novice Regatta (MNR) organised by Linacre Boat Club. The Men’s first novice boat (A) had a fantastic rage against Oriel MB on the first day, winning by over half of the course! They were stopped from racing on days 2 and 3 (due to adverse weather conditions) and returned to race New College MB on the last day. The tough stream and its asymmetry meant they had to gain a whole length over the course. They, unfortunately, lost by a canvas, a fantastic row nonetheless.

The Men’s second boat in MNR lost against Lincoln MA on day 1 (who won against the first boat in Nephthys regatta). They were, unfortunately, unable to race the repechage and return due to the bad conditions on days 2 and 3.

Michaelmas Term was concluded by a more casual excursion into enemy territory to train with St. Johns Cambridge. This did not end up developing into a proper race due to logistic constraints, however on the front of “best chat”, Balliol secured an indisputable dominance.

Hillary Term was initially stunted by heavy rain and flooding impeding our training; however, Torpids was just around the corner. Four of our finest were still training with OUL and so were only going to return for Summer Eights.

On Day 1 of Torpids, M2 was chasing Teddy Hall, however, an unfortunate run-in with an unaptly placed tree at the end of the gut saw them plummeting down the division, from 45th to 48th. They bumped Regents on the second day before Donnington Bridge, and St. Annes before the gut on the third day. On the final day, they were chasing Magdalen M2 who were they not able to catch, they finished -1 across the campaign.

M1 started Torpids 5th in Division 1. They rowed over on Day 1 as Wolfson caught St. Catz faster than we could catch them. Quick work was done on St. Catz on Day 2. M1 rowed over on day 3 after a thrilling battle with Oriel. On Day 4 we were ready, and rumour has it that the bookies were placing 100:1 bets against Oriel. An unfortunate crab shortly after Donnington Bridge saw the crew tangle with Keble and a houseboat, unfortunately ending the successful start to this campaign with a plummet down to 7th on the river.


BCBC are enormously proud that our president, Alec Berry, and resident former Team-GB rower, Sam Baker, represented Oxford with the Oxford University Lightweight Squad in the annual varsity race. For the trinity season, we were also able to welcome Nick Ryan (OULC 2021/2022), completing our trifecta of Blues.

In preparation for Summer Eights, the men’s side dabbled in external races, participating in the City of Oxford Bumps as well as Wallingford Head at Eton-Dorney. An exciting venue for those of us who learnt to row at University.

Balliol entered two Men’s Crews into Summer Eights. On Day 1, M1 was chasing Wadham and M2 was chasing Teddy Hall. M1 made easy work of Wadham and bumped up from 7th to 6th on the river.  M1 remained at this 6th position for the rest of the week, chasing Pembroke for all remaining days. Notably, the field was fairly even across the top of division 1, with no position changes occurring in the top 7 for the last 3 days.

M2 had an unfortunate streak, racing in a division that was klaxoned on all 4 days. Nonetheless, M2 secured the bump on Wadham M2 on day 2, and on St. Edmund Hall M2 on day 4. Moving from 41st to 39th,  proving undeniably that this phenomenal crew would have been on for blades in a different reality.

As per tradition, the year was concluded by the social highlights, Summer Eights and Gordouli Dinner. A large proportion of the club will be retained for next year, and we are excited to welcome the incoming batch of keen freshers, ready to take on the oar.


Markus Baumgartner (Men's Captain)

Picture Credit: Gareth Ardron

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