Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race One Month Away Today



The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race is one month away, and the fifth episode in Oxford's six part series on the preparation for the race has been released. This episode covers the relationship between the Boat Race and the media, which can be quite surprising to an American audience–the Boat Race is one of the most well-attended sporting events in London every year, with people lining the banks of the Thames all the way down the 4-mile course from Putney to Chiswick Bridge. The video includes an interview with rowing historian for the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames (and Rowing News contributor) Christopher Dodd. And, as Paul Davies of BBC Sport points out, at the Beijing Olympics alone, nine athletes had competed in the Boat Race on their way to podium finishes on the sport's grandest stage.

The lineups for the Blue Boats were announced as of Monday. Cambridge weighed in as the heavier crew, made up almost entirely of internationals (only one British oarsman, Mike Thorp, is in the crew this year). The Light Blue Boat includes three Americans–former Washington Husky and 2009 IRA Champion in the open four Niles Garratt at stroke, Wisconsin Badger alum Steven Dudek in the six seat, and Jack Lindeman, formerly of Princeton University, in the two seat. The Oxford crew features former Stanford oarsman Kevin Baum (who is the American interviewed in the above video, and who who rowed on the Cardinal eight that tied for silver with Harvard at the 2007 IRA Regatta in an incredible photo finish) in the three seat, and Rhodes Scholar William Zeng, who competed as a lightweight at Yale, in the two seat.

The most recent fixture (scrimmage on the Tideway) was between Oxford and an eight made up of German U23 athletes. The fixture consisted of two pieces, the first from the race start (in front of Putney Bridge) to the St. Paul's School boathouse, and the second from the Chiswick Eyot to the end of the Boat Race course at in front of Tideway Scullers School. Oxford trailed through much of the first piece, but came back to win making use of a decisive move through Hammersmith to gain an advantage. The second piece also went to Oxford, and featured a clash approaching the finish. (For a full write-up, see Peter McConnell's report on the official website of the Boat Race.)

The next Tideway fixture, this one between the Cambridge eights (Blue Boat and Goldie) and crews from Leander Club, is set for this Saturday, 10 March.

-RR

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