It may be 163 days until the next Oxford-Cambridge boat race, but we can definitely say that the countdown to the 2014 edition of this historic competition has started – and not just because we’ve worked out how long it is until it happens. Yesterday marked the unveiling of the 4 squads of men and women who will spend very little time in the College bar and an awful lot of time on icy rivers this winter, all with the aim of racing down the Thames next April. The squads announced include all of the rowers who will be attempting to make up either the respective Blue boats, or the reserve boats – Goldie and Isis.
As always, the squads are stacked with Olympians and other international rowers, all of whom are well, stacked. Highlights on the men’s side include the presence of Oxford University Boat Club President Malcolm Howard, and lucky charm Constantine Louloudis. Howard of course has twice represented Canada upon the biggest stage, while undergraduate classicist Louloudis will hope to make it three Boat Race victories out of three.
Including those two, the men’s Oxford squad welcomes back a grand total of 9 trialists from last year, with other returning Blues Karl Hudspith – last year’s victorious President – and Sam O’Connor, along with Joe Dawson, Nicholas Hazell, Iain Mandale, Tom Watson and cox Laurence Harvey who were integral to the Isis second string crew which also made it to Mortlake first last Easter.
Standout Oxford additions include the likes of Storm Uru, Keble’s New Zealander who won Olympic Bronze at Eton Dorney, and Zimbabwean undergrad James Fraser-Mackenzie who competed in the single scull at the same Olympic meeting.
This will be the last year to see the Women’s event take place at a different location and on a different occasion to the men’s, but they equally announced a strong looking set of rowers focused upon remaining superior to their Cantab. counterparts. With a strong selection of returners from last year such as Alice Carrington-Windo, Anastasia Chitty, Harriet Keane and OUWBC President, Maxie Scheske, they should prove formidable.
We can’t forget the opposition though, and with the Other Place announcing their own Canadian Olympian in Anthony Jacob alongside President Steve Dudek and former Boat Race winner Mike Thorp, the Dark Blue squad will have to put in the hard yards this winter in order to repeat last year’s victory and narrow the overall gap to Cambridge – I’m sure none of them will forget the 4 win deficit as they train through the dark mornings to come.
The respective squads’ preparations will begin in earnest in late November as they race on the Tideway for the first time this season in the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours, expect coverage of that here.