| John Cofie

Britannia rules in this year’s Boat Race

It’s not long to go now until the world’s brightest oarsmen and women take to the Thames to battle for supremacy. This is the 162nd boat race between Oxford and Cambridge and it promises to be scintillating viewing because of the noticeable differences in the team composition of both universities.

The Oxford men’s race will be younger (average age of 22.1 years) than Cambridge (23.6 years) this year. There’s also a weight difference of 1.48kg in Cambridge’s favour which did not seem to bother team coach Steve Trapmore. He described Cambridge’s preparation as “perfect” during the pre-race press conference.

He said: “We came down a few weeks ago to Race a fixture with the German U23 crew, which was very useful. It provided a great platform to build on and we’ve been training both here and at Dorney Lake, doing speed work and applying some finishing touches. The crew is progressing quite well and it’s now all about sharpening up ahead of Sunday.”

A feature of this year’s race is the number of British participants. There are twelve crew from the British Isles and Oxford only has one American who is Morgan Kerlak, their President. Cambridge’s President Henry Hoffstot is also American-born, which means two Americans will preside over both teams for the first time in 187 years.

Morgan Kerlak of Oxford said: “Everyone is pretty excited for the Race. We’ve had a great build-up and our preparation has gone as well as it could have gone.” The 23 year old American also spoke about returning Blue Jamie Cook’s influence on proceedings. “Jamie is the only returning Blue and his experience has been really valuable for us. To be fair, all the guys who have been racing in the squad over the past couple of years are great in bringing the new athlete through.”

The women’s crew features four nationalities with athletes from Great Britain, America, Canada and France. The Cambridge crew is also slightly heavier for the women’s race.

The 2016 Cancer Research UK Boat Races will take place on 27th March 2016. The women will race at 3:10pm, whilst the men will race an hour later at 4:10pm.

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