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  • Writer's pictureImperial College Boat Club

Men's Head 2023

Here are the race reports of ICBC's four racing crews at HoRR 2023:

ICBC A

After a strong performance at Quintin and BUCS Head this season, the eight looked to build on these performances to fight for a top 10 position at the now dubbed ManHoRR. Unfortunately, this is when our aviators hit extreme turbulence.


We lost the self-proclaimed best steersman on the tideway, along with the best strokeman and on top of that best sculler at the club. Fortunately for the rest of us it was just one person in the form of George Shaw. Josh Bateman thought his abilities would be better served as a boathouse mum and Omar decided to go on hunger strike, forcing us to train in a variety of combinations. Even Commander Papworth was promoted for a short but sweet tenure in the stroke seat. We then realised a former UCD strokeman was hidden amongst the jungle of barely 6ft+ rowers, and a swift coup displaced Mr Papworth from the stroke seat. To make matters worse some of the men decided to embar-go on a bit of the sesh the week before. This in turn wiped out half the bowsiders, forcing us to call in a last-minute sub. We managed to forcibly drag (kicking and screaming) Jake from his beloved mice – increasing the crew average height to a mighty 6ft 1.5 inches.


After finding out the crew moments before the pre paddle, this new ‘1st 8’ took its maiden voyage on the famously forgiving Tideway. It might have taken our only remaining U23 hopeful Harry Stevens a hot minute to take himself back to 2018 to remember how to row on stroke side, but by the end of the excursion we developed a base that we thought could work for the championship course. It was at this point that our 7-man realised he has caught the plague, forcing a last-minute call up for Dan Kirwan.


Fortunately, before Ben left, he had infected the rest of the crew with a terminal case of ‘clutch virus’ and despite a questionable row on the way up, the lads put in a surprisingly good race in this fresh combination. We had a strong start and hit a solid rhythm for the remainder of the course. Surprisingly the boat didn’t feel too much heavier after Hammersmith despite gaining an extra (kilt-hating) cox.


While this was far from the result that we would have hoped for a few weeks back, the eight went out and gave a respectable performance finishing 19th. Apologies in advance to next year’s eight for their starting position.


Over the next few weeks, we look to recuperate and get a hard block of training in the build-up to BUCS regatta where we aim to put our best foot forward. #FHA #DTTBST?


ICBC B

The highly anticipated 2V team faced several challenges following the absence of their chief commander, Admiral Tessa. The crew underwent multiple changes in the days and weeks leading up to the event, even swapping positions just before the pre-paddle to ensure maximum alertness. Despite these setbacks, with the knowledge that there is no such thing as a scratch crew at IC, the boys managed to pull together during the row up to the starting line, establishing a strong rhythm and pace throughout the course. Ultimately, their perseverance paid off, as they finished a respectable 50th overall and placed 6th among the Second 8+ competitors in the field.


ICBC C

“Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.”

This is something every tideway oarsman learns at one point or another. Conquering the complex steering, rough water and lengthy length of the championship course is a unique challenge that makes for some very exciting racing (and occasionally smashed up Bristol shell). The 3V is no stranger to rough conditions. With the only thing consistent about the line-up is that it changes every session, the last-minute substitutions that the club had to contend with was just another day in the office for the mighty third 8.

After a certifiably mid pre paddle, we got off the water with one goal in mind for the race – find this “rhythm” that all the other rowers seem to like talking about and stick to it. Hands on, ready to race, we were clapped out the boat bays like the champions we are and politely asked Thames to move their 8 out of the way, to which they agreed joyously and without qualm. Paddle burst paddle burst paddle minute at pace paddle easy there – cool, we made it to Chiswick. ‘Imperial 62: paddle to the start’.

It's showtime.

My mighty ‘yea IC’ shout through Chiswick bridge must have infected the entire crew with acute clutch virus, because we proceeded to build onto by far the best racing rhythm we’ve had this season. Having taken about 10 strokes that felt pretty good, we did that again a few more times until we got to Putney – executing the most consistent race down the championship course I’ve ever experienced. No real fireworks, but no crabs either. Bosh.

Some highlights:

Somehow our speed didn’t falter through the middle, despite picking up a second cox in the 2 seat. We got a little rattled by the Newcastle 8 overtaking us, but it kept things interesting and Izzy did a great job pushing them into the bad water (based). Also, Lukas was super gassed after finishing his first race (what a cutie).

To summarise, this wasn’t an easy HORR for ICBC - but the 3V made the best of a bad situation and had a pretty good race, finishing only 20 seconds after the 2V (and 60 seconds off the 1V). We take those :)

Until next time, Aksel


ICBC D – Novice Men

The novice men’s eight put in a solid performance to come 236th overall. The academic beginner category was very competitive this year with just seconds separating the crews: our novice men came 7th in a time of 20:22.4, just 0.3 seconds off Swansea University A and 2 seconds ahead of Sheffield and Bath, who tied for 8th place.

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