Boat Race 2018: Cambridge beat Oxford in men’s and women’s races

first_imgThe Observer Read more Share on Facebook There was a visible sense of ecstasy and relief coursing through Cambridge’s eight-man crew, led by cox Hugo Ramambason, as they crossed the finish line at Mortlake in a time of 17 minutes and 51 seconds, with a winning margin of three lengths. All that work, all that effort, all that build up of lactic acid in young muscles, paying off thanks to a positive strategy.“We wanted to get a good start, keep moving and earn the right to win the race,” said Ramambason. “Last year was real tough but the attitude in the squad has been so good.”Cambridge came into this race as favourites, partly because of the experience they carried in their boat. Three of the Light Blues’ rowers took part here last year, compared to Oxford’s one, among them James Letten, the 24-year-old classics students who at 6ft 10in is the tallest oarsman ever to compete in the Boat Race. Letten not only provided Cambridge with experience but also power and after a delayed start brought on by aggressive tides, the towering American and his team showed their authority, rowing out of Putney in relaxed and confident fashion.By the mile mark Cambridge were five seconds clear and pulling away from their opponents with every stroke. Their fast start was paying off, yet it also contained an arguably unnecessary element of risk. Following Ramambason’s orders, Cambridge drifted into Oxford’s territory with the clear intention of pushing dirty water into their path. They received two warnings from race umpire John Garrett for doing so and had Cambridge’s oars touched those of Oxford, they could justifiably have been disqualified.Cambridge survived and continued to drive forward. By Hammersmith Bridge the Light Blues’ crew were nine seconds clear and such was their focus on winning that they were not put off by the orange flares that were set off above them as part of a protest by the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society.The lead had stretched to 11 seconds by the time they passed Barnes Bridge and soon they were at Mortlake, winning this event for only a third time since 2012 and taking the university’s total of Boat Race triumphs to 83.“The boys really stepped up and delivered,” said the Cambridge coach, Steve Trapmore, who is leaving the university after a seven-year stint in order to become high performance coach with Team GB Olympic rowing. “They took it up from stroke one and bang, they were off. In this race, so many things can go wrong, but you could tell they were on the money today.”Earlier in the afternoon came the formality of the women’s race. Having won last year’s contest in a record time of 18min and 33sec and been able to call upon three members of that victorious crew, Cambridge unsurprisingly started as favourites, and having won the pre-race toss and subsequently taken advantage of rowing from Surrey station, the reigning champions came home in a time of 19min and 10sec, around 20 seconds ahead.Oxford were always going to be up against it given their comparative lack of experience and quality – the Dark Blues only had one returning rower from last year, 19-year-old Alice Roberts, and were coming up against a team whose stroke, Olivia Coffey, is a two-time world champion with the United States national team – and they hardly did themselves any favours by making a clean but tentative start. Cambridge were half a length ahead within 90 seconds of the start of the race and were pulling away with every stroke.By the time they passed through Barnes the champions were cruising home. Victory gave Cambridge their first back-to-back triumphs since 1999 and their 43rd win in total. Oxford, as was the case here, trail by some distance with 30 victories.“The flag went down and before we knew it we were 10 strokes ahead,” reflected Cambridge’s bow, Tricia Smith.Meanwhile, Oxford’s crew gathered in a huddle and reflected on a defeat which their tearful No2 rower Katherine Erickson admitted was inevitable. “We knew from day one it was going to be a tough year,” she said. “I’m crying but I’m really proud. Cambridge are a really good crew and it was an honour to race them.” Rowing On an overcast and increasingly chilly afternoon that continued to make it feel that spring is here in name only, Cambridge were able to enjoy the warm glow of a resounding victory in the 164th Boat Race. The Light Blues led from the start on the choppy waters of the Thames, avenging their defeat to Oxford last year and making it a clean sweep for Cambridge after their women’s team also triumphed with a display of total domination. Share via Email Reuse this content The Boat Race Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Boat Race 2018: Cambridge beat Oxford in men’s and women’s race – as it happened Share on Messenger Support The Guardian … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Topics Share on LinkedInlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *