The Boat Race is the biggest event in Oxford’s sporting calendar. With 161 years of history (yes this is the 161st Boat Race) it is full of antiquity and prestige, and sees the best rowers at Oxbridge battle it out side by side for victory and glory.
So much work and training goes into the teams’ preparations, with 12 training sessions a week this year, and no doubt years of training before the teams are even able to trial.
The stakes are so high, with not only crowds of Oxbridge students lining the banks of the Thames screaming for their university, but also the millions watching on BBC One, on which it is broadcast each year. Let’s hope we can all watch Oxford race to glory this year and take victory in both men’s and women’s once more.
OUBC will be looking for their 79th victory over Cambridge, which will put them within just two victories of equalling Cambridge’s overall win tally. But what are the chances of this happening? And how likely actually is victory for Oxford?
One of the squad members, Rufus Stirling, told Cherwell, “The squad is looking strong this year. We don’t have many comparisons with Cambridge’s speed so far, but our focus is not on them – it’s on making sure we go as fast as we are capable of.” Let’s hope the Blues and Isis manage to take their third victory this April!”
Moving on to the women’s race, the President of OUWBC, Anastasia Chitty, let us know how the women are getting on.
Their race is of particularly special importance this year, as, for the first time in the history of their race, OUWBC will race against Cambridge on the same Championship course as the men, and it will also becovered on the BBC.
Anastasia is extremely excited about this change and the opportunity to finally race on the Championship course.
“To have the opportunity to be one of the first women to compete in the Boat Race, on the same stage as the men, is an absolutely phenomenal privilege.
“To be in a position where what we are doing will inspire girls and women to take up sport, and rowing in particular, is amazing! I want to row in the Boat Race primarily because I love rowing, but also because this race is unique and exciting.”
With this in mind, and the likelihood that far more of us will actually see this race along with the men’s, their preparations are potentially more important than ever before.
“The Oxford women are doing really well at the moment, encouraged by some very strong performances recently in match racing, the team are excited to keep moving forward over the next six weeks.
“Having had three seasons to get prepared for our move to the Tideway, we are confident that we are preparing well for this new chal- lenge.”
Like OUBC, they have not yet finished their trialling and selection process, and the final announcement of the crews will be made just after the end of term, on March 19th. Anasta- sia then went on to talk about training and the squad.
“Training will continue in much the same way as characterised the earlier parts of the season but with more time in our respec- tive crews and more opportunities to line up against some fast crews in match racing scenarios. The team is characterised by an extremely strong internal focus, and so the magnitude and pressure of the occasion seem often distant to us.”
It seems that everything is going accord- ing to plan and all the girls are staying calm and focused. This is obviously a great sign for Oxford, but what does the President think of our chances this year in the big race?
“This year, the OUWBC has an extremely strong team, and throughout the season we’ve had great racing performances which have given us confidence going forward. However, we know the Cambridge Women will be fast and equally driven to own this significant moment in history.”
The first Women’s Boat Race to be held over the four and a quarter mile Championship Course will take place on April 11th at 4.50pm, so make sure you don’t miss this historic occasion. If you are unable to make it to London and the banks of the Thames, coverage will start on the BBC at 4.15pm for all to watch.
The 161st Men’s Boat Race will follow the Women’s at 5.50pm and will also be covered on the BBC, so make sure you watch Oxford try and achieve a hat trick of wins over Cambridge in the Oxford sporting event of the year