23-05-03 I SAY!
Potential newcomers to the sport of women's rowing who are concerned that the excessive amounts of training, required for top level competition, may cause them to lose their "womanly assets", should take heart from the accompanying photograph of Osiris in all their ample glory.

The photo was presented to "rouse" the Oxford boys to victory in this years Boatrace (see, "PUTTING THE BLUE IN OXFORD" and "NAKED AMBITION 2" below) but, as the poor dears are a bit shy, faces were removed before the goods were handed over, to spare their blushes,...

Any rumours of a competition rewarding the person who can correctly identify all eight rowers are completly unfounded... mainly as we haven't been able to find a judge who is willing to admit to being able to distinguish between the girlies from their er... torsos.

For those who want to give it a try, here's a starter for 10 (hint: the short, hairy girl in the middle of the photo isn't one of them)

21-05-03 NOT A SIGHT...
Well, whilst the Sons speedos finally make it into glorious moving technicolor(c) courtesy of the Sons website... (not for the faint hearted - but click here if you must check out the "detailed embroidery" in action - it's the bottom clip) The slug has heard rumours that the LRC speedos come with a complimentary pair of socks...

can't think where they will hide them !

Readers who have been following the debate about elite sweep rowers entering novice sculling events, which has been raging on the letters page in regatta magazine over the last few months, may be as curious as the slug to understand the apparent stance of Metropolitan regatta on the subject...

A World Champion from the club in red, white and black wanted to enter the Met as a single sculler, but was told by the organisers to "go away" because she was a 'Novice' sculler. Further prompting revealied that she would only be allowed to enter, if she won at Putney Town regatta over the weekend. So enter she did and duly won this regatta and the required novice pot, and has now been allowed to enter the Met, she has however not entered at Snr 3 but has entered as a Snr 1 lightweight...

The World champion concerned, has only come to sculling this year but has been doing reasonably well at this year's National team trials and was in fact told to enter the Met by the GB Chief's Women's coach...

On the bright side, at least we can now be sure that those Elite rowers that continue to race as Novice scullers through the Head season, now have a role model to whom they can look up to and realise that, if a World Champion can win a Novice singles race at Putney Town regatta... maybe they could too.

12-05-03 BE AFRAID...
Disturbing developments in the world of UK club rowing kit, as the slug hears rumours that the boys in blue at London Rowing club are threatening to follow up the success of the Hawaiian all-in-ones, with something even more gruesome - LRC speedos (eeeeeeugh.....)

The slug was not surprised to hear the names of some of those LRC members, alleged to be queuing up for this latest offering, but the comment "it's great, we should have them in time for Henley Royal" did bring on a strange feeling of dread...

Worryingly, they aren't the first to come up with the idea, as the recent Sons of the Thames camp featured a pair of "fetching" royal blue Sons-speedos of the "posing pouch" variety - complete with crossed oars emblazoned on the front. Rumours of a video clip abound, and rest assured the slug will share any available footage with you, providing it's tasteless enough.

On a not unrelated note, Sons Men's coach Ross Smitheman recently warned club members of the next big cancer scare, which is apparently "Cancer of the thong"...

The cancer specialist he happened to confide this little known fact to, tentivly enquired if he actually meant cancer of the "tongue", but no... it soon became apparent that he was indeed talking about "pants"...

LRC beware...

12-05-03 DUNN-DATING?
Poor old Rick Dunn obviously had no joy from his recent quest for love in new woman magazine, but the slug was glad to see he's still searching for that special lay-dee, via the pages of the press... this time with London Daily, the Evening Standard

Every week, in their "Blind Date" section, the paper gives a singleton the chance to pick a date from a choice of three possible candidates, the chosen one, then gets to go on a date.

Last week , our Rick (in the words of the imortal Cilla Black), was one of the prizes on offer up against Dillon - a MTV producer and Nigel a TV presenter on Nickelodian... So, did he get picked?

Well, though I know it's hard to believe... no, he didn't, sadly losing out to Aquarian Nigel and his dreadlocks.

When asked why she made her choice, Miche, 27, a DJ and web designer, replied "I picked Nigel as he was clearly the fittest and his answers were fairly amusing. He was into music so I knew, we'd have something to chat about - but basically it was because he was the best looking."

The slug can only presume that when refering to "fitness" she wasn't talking about his erg score... but as Mr Dunn isn't looking for much - only someone who's "Honest, naturally beatiful, self-confident, easy-going, understanding and independent", we're sure it's only a matter of time...

12-05-03 PEM-BROKEN-ER

To casual observers at Wallingford regatta last weekend it may have looked like the Pembroke College, Oxford, women's crew were using an old boat, merely to keep their usual one in pristine condition, whilst the men stayed at home and revised for their exams.

But as with most things in the sport of rowing, truth is stranger than fiction, dear reader, for, in what appears a bizarre case of lightening striking twice, Pembroke college boat club's top crews took the unusual steps of trashing yet two more of their boats in the week preceeding the regatta.

Picture the scene.... idylic Radley on a balmy wednesday afternoon. The women are going through their paces when suddenly there is a sickening thump and a 15 foot gash appears in the hull of their boat. Rumours that they hit Saddam Hussein's mini-sub, remain unconfirmed although the Environment Agency are believed to be looking to interview a fence post repleat with barbed wire...

It's now Thursday, and the scene shifts to Abingdon (home of perennial offenders) where the men are preparing for their date with Thames in elite Eights at Wallingford regatta. During a burst of fearsome speed there is... you guessed it.... another sickening crunch, causing a neat kink in the bow of the second empacher. Observers of the return to land infer that they might have " hit something red".

Thus with yet another boat out of action, the men had to scratch entries in Elite and Senior 3 eights as there were, er.... no boats left, for the first two eights.Although this is certainly an alternative appraoch to get a new fleet, the slug doubts whether the college bursar or their insurers will take a charitable view of events.

On the bright side, now they've run out of boats to trash, the slug hopes this is an end to such events for Pembroke, as many want, and need, to see them competing in Oxford Eights.

Listeners to Talksport radio this week could have been treated to a variety of views on our prospective hosting of the Olympics. First on comes Matt Pinsent attempting, unsuccessfully, to convince Mike Parry ( Talksport's presenter, head of programming, confirmed couch potato and football fan) that London is capable of hosting the Olympic games.

Moving, for once, Talk's sporting coverage away from soccer and horse racing, they then converse as to where the rowing might be held - with Pinsent stating the case for Docklands (which can never be an olympic course) and Parry (a Trent Poly old boy) suggesting Nottingham(???).

30 mins later cue Talksport's City report and to Sons of the Thames' very own radio commentator - who is somewhat startled to find her business banter interrupted by a quizzing from Parry on her views the feasibility of Olympics hosting and as to where the rowing should be held.

Resisting the temptation to state that Pinsent clearly had never sampled the "full range of delights" the Docks has on offer, she simply said she would favour Dorney Lake....

It's good to know that the forming of the nation's opinion on our prospective Olympics campaign is in such able media commentators' hands.

09-05-03 NAKED AMBITION 2?
Not content with leaving it at our Oxford expose last week, the slug has "aquired" the return photo from the Oxford lwt girls... (let it never be said that we don't aim to please all sectors of the rowing population)

Unlike the Isis picture, this one wasn't taken in the Westminster school boathouse and also unlike the Isis picture, several schoolchildren didn't walk in on them while it was being taken (er-hum)....

Of yet more interest, is the Osiris picture, which is altogether more, well, "racey" -- but that's another article....

The slug was chewing its way through this month's Regatta Magazine when its attention fell on page 4, on the write up of the Eight's Head, which is illustarated by a large picture of the boats at the start. (see picture on the left)

Nothing odd about that until, upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that the stokeman of the London crew 14, was.... er..... "taking care of his pre-race nerves" at the time of taking, as one can clearly make out (from the picture on the right)!

We can confirm that the rower in question does seem to be quite proud of his achievement of being the first "full frontal" in Regatta, but rumours that a centrefold spread is to follow, are as yet, unfounded...

02-05-03 TRAINING THE 1908 WAY
After publishing some helpful tips from WG East's 1904 book "Rowing" back in February, the slug was encouaged to receive lots of positive feedback from rowers who have now stopped drinking tea and successfully incorporated champagne, Indian clubs and trips to the seaside into their training program.

So in the quest for further knowledge and rower education, the slug has, on your behalf, given up its usual diet of lettuce and has been munching through the 1908 rowing epic “The complete Oarsman” by R.C. Lehmann instead.

Reproduced below is a small selection of wise words from the man himself, many of which still ring true across the intervening 95 years…

  • On staleness
    In the treatment of staleness champagne is of great value; indeed, when a man begins to show the signs of overwork a bottle of champagne for dinner in place of his ordinary liquor will often suffice to pull him round. As a rule it is not wise to give champagne except under these circumstances, or to allow it on more than two evenings during the training, but should any man remain below par for several days without sign of improvement he may be given champagne diluted with mineral water as his regular beverage for lunch and dinner.

  • On coxswains
    “It is generally supposed (by coxswains themselves) that their title implies a kind of chieftainship. This, however, is an error, and I am bound to correct it. I gather from my dictionary that coxswain is derived from cock, a boat, and swain, a young man or boy in service, and the word, therefore, means a boat-boy, with an implication not of chieftainship but of servitude”

  • On drinking
    “With most Leander crews, which are composed of experienced oarsmen, it has been found possible to abolish restrictions on the amount of liquor, and to allow the men to take what they want to satisfy their thirst, which at Henley time is naturally more severe than in the early spring at Putney. With a crew of younger and less experienced oars, such liberty of action is not to be recommended”

  • On rest
    "All the members of the crew, except the coxswain should retire to bed at 10pm and be fast asleep by 10:30pm. I would lay great stress on the importance of sleeping in well ventilated rooms; windows may be kept widely open without ay fear that the men will take cold even in winter… it should be a rule that all bedroom windows are to be widely open at night.”

  • On crew selection
    “No 7 is the key stone of the arch; he keeps the whole fabric of the crew together, locks into one consistant whole the stones that without him would fall apart and bring everything to ruin. If supremacy in importance is to be allotted it must go to no 7.”

  • On the coach
    “...his corrections should be short and precise and limited in the case of each man to one fault at a time. Nor should he disdain to encourage as well as to correct. Nothing wears an oarsman’s spirits out more than a constant torrent of rebuke unmingled with any hint at improvement. Equally important is not to nag at one man for a long period. Let him be told of his fault, instructed how to correct it, and then let him be alone for a little.”

  • On Discipline
    While the crew is rowing, no voice should be heard except that of the coach, who instructs, and that of the coxswain, who corrects the time. It follows from this that you are not permitted to “answer back” to a coach. To murmur curses under your breath while the coach is instructing you is equally unpermissible and anarchic”

    The slug received the attached picture yesterday, in the e-mail equivalent of a brown paper envelope... and lengthy, careful examination has shown it to be a photo sent by the members of Isis to the OUWLRC prior to the Henley races.

    However, what's more concerning than the wellies (very young farmers-ish), is the rumour that a copy of the return photo of the ladies in all their glory, is also doing the rounds...

    While the slug obviously can't condone such behaviour, we feel it is important that this image is circulated as a warning of the dangers of digital cameras when combined with "good ideas", so are providing it in a convenient "wallpaper" sized version for your PC (1024 x 536 pixels)