THE OXFORD MEN'S TRIAL EIGHTS CREWS
Oxford University Boat Club’s final race of the autumn Gemini Boat Race calendar will take place on Sunday 19th December with Trial Eights Races. The men’s teams first staged the races in 1859, and the annual intra-team event has become a tradition for Oxford and Cambridge in the preparations for the Boat Race. Background.
Trial VIIIs is an important race in the Boat Race Season for a number of reasons; testing the performances of athletes and coxes and it introduces the teams to the official Boat Race Umpires.
The races will take places over The Championship Course starting in Putney and finishing in Chiswick and will be held on the same Tide as The Boat Race in April. These squad races are the only opportunity Oxford has to race the full course under the gaze of the official race umpires before the big day in April: The Oxford Men’s Trial Races will be Umpired by Ciarán Hayes
In the weeks leading up to the race the coaches will have split the squads in two, as the coaches try to build evenly ‘matched ‘crews. This race gives the Coaches another opportunity to see how athletes perform under intense side by side pressure, if the crews are ‘matched’ they should be moving at similar speeds, creating tight and often exciting races. Coxes will be under pressure to give their crew the edge, to ensure steering is as good as possible, to test the individual rowers on their ability to perform under pressure. The result here will go a long way to deciding the crews that will represent Cambridge in the Blue Boat and Reserve Crew.
Special Names for racing crews?
Another feature of the Trial Eights is the names given to the crews. The student athletes will select names for the crews, often drawing on key moments in history or deeply personal connections to drive intra-team competition and inspire a purposeful winning mind-set for the teams. This year the Oxford Men’s crews are named 'Rohan' and 'Gondor'. The names come from two prominent kingdoms of man in Oxford alumnus J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 fantasy classic, The Lord of the Rings. Although independent, Gondor and Rohan are sworn to a defensive oath for one another's protection. Ultimately the two kingdoms unite together to defeat the dark lord Sauron.
Much like these kingdoms, each boat is now independent, focused on finding as much speed as possible for the Trial VIII race. After the race, Rohan and Gondor will come together to defeat Cambridge.
Men's Chief Coach, Sean Bowden says ahead of the race,
"Trial Eights, whilst still something of a traditional event, is a very important “mini season” in which the rowers undergo selection, crew formation and some hard and competitive training to prepare for the most accurate simulation of the Boat Race available to them. The rowers will be under extreme pressure to perform and, no doubt, important lessons will be learned to help the squad going forwards. It’s a race everyone wants to be involved with and to win as they hope to catch the coaches’ eyes for selection as well as seize the opportunity to beat the hardest competition of all – their team mates. Whilst selection is not finalised in Trial Eights there is good opportunity to see which rowers produce the cohesiveness as well as the resilience to race effectively on the challenging waters of the Tideway.”
President Martin Barasko is looking forward to the race, he says,
"It is a privilege to return to the Championship Course for Trial Eights. OUBC has had a very strong last three months of training and the calibre of our two eights is high. We are excited to showcase our progress and gain invaluable racing experience that will help prepare us for the Boat Race."
Racing in White Tops
Racing in Blue Tops
Roman Röösli Rohan
Barnabé Delarze Gondor
Liam Corrigan Gondor
Tassilo von MuellerGondor
Lady Margaret Hall