St Hilda's Make Rowing History

"St Hilda's College made rowing history at Oxford University yesterday when they became the first women's crew to qualify for Summer Eights on the Isis next Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

They stormed through the 'getting on' races on the Isis yesterday afternoon and now take their place in the newly formed division IX of this year's competition.

This new division has been formed because of the massive entry for Eights this year. St Hilda's came 12th out of 25 boats in the overall timing yesterday, and beat 13 men's crews to gain their place in Division IX. Only the fastest 15 qualified. The complete crew is: Eleanor Hicks bow, Barbara Welch, Yvonne Apelbourn, Janet Whiteway, Briget Sleeth, Angela Harvey, Pamela Martin, stroke, Jackie Wolf cox.

Linacre, the mixed crew with two women, one at cox and one at No. 2, did even better. They finished in the sixth fastest time and should improve next week.

The remarkable thing about the St Hilda's crew is that they had only rowed three times together before taking part in yesterday's races.

After the race, crew member, Eleanor Hicks said she was thrilled to have qualified, but said she was absolutely shattered at the end of the race. St Hilda's have five of the Varsity women's boat crew and Oxford University Women's Boat Club president, Pamela Martin at stroke.

Two other women's crews took advantage of the recent O.U.B.C ruling allowing women to take part. These were Lady Margaret Hall and St Anne's.

Lady Margaret Hall finished in the slowest time of the day, with St Anne's just one place above them, but it was a valiant effort.

Now they have qualified St Hilda's are getting down to some serious training , and coach Bob Cumberland (Pembroke) is taking them for practice on the river before breakfast next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We hope the girls will never have to row the full course in Eights, as they should have bumped someone before the finish. Skill and not stamina will be the emphasis put on training" Mr Cumberland said.

The full list of crews which qualified yesterday is: Osler House II, Wadham IV, St Peter's IV, Corpus Christi IV, St Peter's V, Linacre, Merton V, St Hilda's, Exeter V, Wolfson and Wadham V. This will be the first year Wolfson College has taken part in Eights."

By Richard White

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