Testing Times

Covid cases force Trial VIIIs delay for Boat Race women.

2 minute read
Word Tom Ransley
Photography Benedict Tufnell
Published 17.12.21

The Boat Race Company Ltd. (BRCL) along with Oxford University Women’s Boat Club (OUWBC) and Cambridge University Boat Club’s (CUBC) women’s squad have taken the shared decision to postpone the Women’s Trial VIIIs races that were due to take place on Sunday 19 December and Monday 20 December.

After a confirmed positive case of Covid in both Clubs, the decision has been made to postpone the races to a later date in January. The affected athletes have started self-isolation as per Government guidelines. Subsequent internal contact tracing identified a number of close contacts and they are also self-isolating.

Photo OUWBC president Amelia Standing watches as CUBC women’s president Bronya Sykes signs the Presidents’ Challenge.
Credit Benedict Tufnell

BRCL Chair, Tim Senior, said, “This has not been an easy decision and while it is disappointing that the races have been postponed, the safety and welfare of the athletes, staff and supporters of the event is of paramount importance to us. Our best wishes are with the athletes who have been affected”.

Athletes in both camps were looking forward to the event. CUBC’s Ruby Tew spoke to Row360 before the postponement, “I’m looking forward to Trial VIIIs, it is always nice to race. …it is as much a test of the coxswains as it is the rowers… It sounds like a good way to finish the year”. OUWBC were due to race on Sunday 19 December at 11:45 and the CUBC women were scheduled to race on Monday 20 December at 12:20.

The Trial VIIIs are preparation races in The Gemini Boat Race season providing rowers and coxes with learning experience as well as a selection test held over the full 4 1/4 mile Championship Course from Putney to Mortlake in London. These races give the coaches the opportunity to see how their athletes fare under the unique side by side racing and the unpredictable conditions on the Tideway.

The Oxford University Men’s Boat Club (OUBC) and Cambridge University Boat Club’s men’s squad (CUBC) are currently scheduled to proceed with their Trial VIIIs races as planned, on 19th and 20th December respectively.

The updated men’s Trial VIIIs races: