The 2017 Boat Race – Will Oxford or Cambridge Triumph in the Battle of the Blues?
The UK’s best-loved rowing competition takes place on Sunday, when crews from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge take to the River Thames for the annual Boat Race.
When people talk about “the Boat Race”, they usually mean the men’s eights event. However, three other races also take place on the same day: the women’s race, the men’s reserves race, and the women’s reserves race.
So what do you need to know about this year’s teams in the run-up to the event?
The Men’s Boat Race – How Do The 2017 Teams Compare?
The men’s race is set to take place at 17.35. This year’s event is the 163rd edition and Cambridge lead the series, with 82 wins to Oxford’s 79.
Oxford, or the “Dark Blues”, will be hoping that race experience will be key to winning the coveted rowing trophy. They’ve kept three members of last year’s team, including their cox, Sam Collier, while Cambridge have only retained two.
Oxford’s crew also includes Oliver Cook, who won a gold medal in the coxed pairs at the 2016 World Rowing Championships. More controversially, William Warr will also be part of the team, becoming the third man in the event’s history to have competed for both the Dark and Light Blues: he raced for Cambridge in 2015.
Cambridge, or the “Light Blues”, are the reigning champions of the men’s event, however, so could that give them the edge? Their Chief Coach, Steve Trapmore – a former Olympic gold medallist – downplayed the possibility when speaking to Varsity.co.uk:
“We have got a lot of confidence from winning last year, but that was last year, and each year is a different journey with a different group of people,” he said.
The Light Blues have a slight weight advantage too. However, as Trapmore noted in the same interview, that certainly won’t be the deciding factor on Sunday:
“If you’re heavier, you’ve got to be able to use that weight,” he said.
The Women’s Race – Which of the Blues Will Claim the Win?
It’s Cambridge that’s ahead on race experience going into the women’s event, which takes place at 16.35. Their crew features two rowers who competed in last year’s event – although it’s an experience that they’d probably prefer to forget. Their boat filled with water towards the end of the race, allowing Oxford to claim first place.
Cambridge have been the victors in 41 of the 70 races before that, however, and their coach, Rob Baxter, is convinced that this year’s team has what it takes to win the trophy.
“This is the best crew we’ve ever had,” he told the Daily Mail.
Oxford, won’t be put off by that, however. Their crew includes Flo Pickles, who competed for Great Britain at the 2016 U23 World Championships, as well as New Zealand international, Harriet Austin, and Canadian international, Emily Cameron.
The Reserve Crews’ Races – The 2017 Events
Don’t forget to check out the reserve crews’ races either. They are just as competitive as the main events. The women’s reserve crews, Osiris (Oxford) and Blondie (Cambridge), race at 16.50, while the men’s reserve crews, Isis (Oxford) and Goldie (Cambridge), will compete at 17.05.
Are you planning to watch the 2017 Boat Races? Are you backing the Light Blues or the Dark Blues? Tell us on social media or leave a comment below.