History was made on Saturday 11th April, as the women of OUWBC and CUWBC took to the Tideway to compete on the traditional boat race course for the first time in the Women’s Boat Race’s 87 year history. A week previously, at the Henley Boat Races, a light-blue tone was set as both CULBC and the CUWBC Lightweights drove through their dark-blue counterparts to take both the male and the female lightweight boat race titles. Yesterday, on the day of the open weight races, hordes of spectators gathered from Putney to Mortlake, congregating along the banks and on the various bridges that scatter the gruelling seven kilometre course.
Tidal restrictions meant the women’s second boats, Osiris and Blondie, had raced on Friday, with Osiris winning by an absolutely devastating margin in a move that would set the tone for the remaining races. There were high expectations of the Oxford Blue boats as their recent records meant that both the male and female teams were firm favourites. Crew statistics, however, had the light blues as both heavier and taller than their dark blue rivals, whilst the Cambridge women were on average slightly shorter, but heavier, than the Oxford crew. Physiological differences, then, helped make sure that speculation was rife.
On the day itself, however, Oxford reigned supreme. The women first took to the course and were stroked to a 6 ½ length victory over Cambridge by Caryn Davies after taking control early on in the race. Next, the men’s seconds backed up this victory by also beating Cambridge by 3 lengths. Oxford then delivered a final blow to Cambridge, as the men’s blue boat took to the water, stroked by current President and Olympic medallist Constantine Louloudis. Cambridge pulled back after a poor start, but Oxford drew away once more, eventually winning by a respectable 6 lengths. On this historic Boat Race weekend, then, the river certainly ran dark blue.
Click here to view The Oxford Student’s live coverage of both Boat Races
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