Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Dark blues claim third successive victory

ON A day that made rowing history Oxford University took a clean sweep in Saturday’s Boat

ON A day that made rowing history Oxford University took a clean sweep in Saturday’s Boat Races, winning both the men’s and women’s events in style.

The long–awaited move by the women’s Boat Race to join the men on the same day, raced over the same stretch of the river Thames, meant bigger crowds than ever to witness the event.

Oxford forged into an early lead over the four–and–a–quarter mile upstream course between Putney and Mortlake.

Less than a mile into the race Oxford had a clear water advantage and were allowed to cross into their opponents’ water, thus denying Cambridge the chance to use the inside of the Hammersmith bend to their advantage.

Oxford pulled away to win by six–and–a–half lengths in a time of 19 minutes 45 seconds.

Speaking after the race Oxford president Anastasia Chitty said: “To row on the same stage as the men, there were so many women before us who have never had this opportunity and it’s extremely humbling.

“We started moving away early on and kept ourselves ahead.”

The fine weather which had brought out the crowds was tempered by a stiff south–westerly wind which made conditions difficult up the second part of the course, as Cambridge University found out in the men’s race.

After a scrappy start, which allowed Oxford to lead by one–quarter of a length after the first minute, Cambridge got into their stride.

For the next eight minutes there was never more than a second between the crews, until they rounded the big bend, where the wind met the incoming tide.

Oxford made the best of the rough conditions, and increased the pressure while maintaining a rate of 35 strokes a minute.

After a sustained effort they drew clear of Cambridge and the race was all but over.

Oxford went on to win by six lengths in a time of 17 minutes 34 seconds.

It marked a third consecutive win for Oxford, led by their president and Leander member Constantine Louloudis, for whom it marked his fourth Boat Race success.

The reigning world champion stroke from the GB men’s eight now joins an elite group of just 14 men who have won four Boat Races since the event’s foundation in 1829.

Louloudis said after the race: “We stuck to our plan really well in that head wind. Our mantra was ‘be steely’ and we did that, we came through.”

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