Cambridge men overcome Oxford while Oxford women see second straight victory
For the second year the annual Oxford University vs Cambridge University Boat Race in Great Britain saw both the men and women race on the same day and same stretch of water. This year, though, on the River Thames the conditions were the roughest in years.
The women raced first and in a repeat performance of last year, Oxford left their mark on the championship course. Taking advantage of a slow start by Oxford, Cambridge surged to an early lead on the 6.8km course. But Oxford drew up level again by the first minute and moving rapidly to nearly a full boat advantage as the crews passed beneath Hammersmith Bridge.
Cambridge refused to let their opponents walk away without a fight, attempting to hold on around the Surrey Bend and through the half way point. Oxford still managed to advanced their bow despite the worsening water conditions and gained a substantial lead as coxswain Morgan Bynham-William’s steered them out of the main stream into calmer waters. Cambridge, however, took the worst of the waves, their riggers foundering in the turbulent water.
Oxford crossed the line in a time of 21:49 with a 24 length margin of victory – the largest in Women’s Boat Race history – over Cambridge, who managed to stay afloat to finish the race.
Emma Spruce, in the Oxford 2 seat, knew her crew could cope. “I felt strong and confident all the way through – that’s part of the programme, a belief that we could come through it, and that didn’t falter” she said.
Three of Oxford’s 2015 winning Dark Blue crew had remained as part of the crew, while the Cambridge team had seven new members. Lauren Kedar, Maddy Badcott and Anastasia Chitty (all three British) brought their experience from the previous year to lead the Oxford women with a crew that included Elo Luik from Estonia, Joanne Jansen of the Netherlands and Emma Lukasiewcz of Canada. The remaining crew were from Great Britain, including Ruth Siddorn, Emma Spruce and coxswain Morgan Bynham-Williams.
Cambridge included coxswain Rosemary Ostfeld (USA), Ashton Brown (CAN), Zara Goozee (GBR), Hannah Roberts (GBR), Myriam Goudet (FRA), Daphne Martshenko (USA), Thea Zabell (GBR), Alice Jackson (GBR) and Fiona Macklin (GBR).
Although this was only the second time the women have raced on the Tideway with the men, the women’s race has a history all of its own. Today marked the 71st time that the Oxford and Cambridge have faced off in what has become known as “The Women’s Boat Race”. Today’s win therefore marks Oxford’s 4th victory in a row. Despite their recent success, Cambridge is still the overall leader with 41 wins.
The men's race followed in the rough rowing conditions with a stunning performance by Cambridge, who defeated Oxford in the 162nd running of the men’s event. Favoured to win, Cambridge led from start to finish, extending their winning margin further and further as the race progressed. The Oxford boat responded with admirable effort, but could do nothing to contain the Cambridge threat.
Moving to an early lead, Cambridge continued to out-rate Oxford, who found their stride and raced well to keep their bow up with the Cambridge boat as the crews approached Hammersmith Bridge and then the Surrey bend.
With strong rhythm and a steady course, Cambridge extended their advantage through the race as both crews avoided the worst of the conditions by moving into calmer waters entering the final kilometre of the race. Finding better conditions, Oxford managed to reduce Cambridge’s lead to a length of open water, but ran out of river to do anything more.
Cambridge crossed the line with an approximate two lengths margin of victory. Lance Tredell, the Cambridge stroke, was jubilant after his crew’s success. “Conditions got pretty crazy out there – we anticipated that after we saw the forecast” he said. “I’m chuffed to win, it was my first Boat Race, so I’ve got two more years yet - it’s looking good for Cambridge."
Such a decisive victory over Oxford will certainly not disappoint Cambridge’s 5 seat, Luke Juckett (USA), a veteran of the last two contests where, sitting in 2 seat, he bore the brunt of a collision with Oxford in the 2014 Boat Race that nearly ejected him from the boat and cost Cambridge whatever chance they had of winning. Cambridge Coxswain, Ian Middleton (GBR) was also in the boat that day and for him as well today’s win is a significant moment. Ben Ruble also raced prior by being part of the 2015 crew.
For the remainder of the Cambridge crew this year marked their first Boat Race appearance: Felix Newman (GBR), Ali Abasi (GER/USA), Charles Fisher (GBR), Clemens Auersperg (AUT), Henry Hoffstot (USA) and Lance Tredell (GBR).
There was considerably less Boat Race experience on the Oxford side where only 7 seat James Cook (GBR) returned from last year’s victorious lineup. Cook was joined in this year’s race by George McKirdy (GBR), James White (GBR), Morgan Gerlak (USA), Leo Carrington (GBR/ NZL), Jorgen Tveit (GBR/NOR), Nik Hazell (GBR) and Sam Collier as coxswain (GBR).
Although Oxford have been the clear leaders in the main event since 2000 when they broke Cambridge’s winning streak through the 1990s, the victory has bounced back and forth more than ever before, with Cambridge settling for individual wins that dot a decade and a half that might otherwise have been dominated by Cambridge.
Overall Cambridge are narrowly ahead with 82 wins to Oxford’s 79 in one of sport’s longest-standing and greatest rivalries.