Tim Koch: Which ‘Boat Race’?

Swansea and Cardiff Universities eights in 2006. Photo: Wikipedia

Regarding the last days’ talk about the upcoming ‘Boat Race’, Tim Koch writes,

When people talk of ‘The University Boat Race’ they are usually referring to the annual tussle between Oxford and Cambridge which began in 1829. There are, however, many other boat races between rival academic institutions.

Second in seniority to the ‘Battle of the Blues’ is the Harvard–Yale Regatta (‘The Race’) which began in 1852. It is the oldest collegiate athletic competition in the United States (though, unlike its British counterpart, it nowadays has little popular following).

The Edinburgh University v Glasgow University Boat Race was founded in 1877 and so is (almost certainly) the third in line.

More recent times have seen the establishment of more of these private matches. In 1971 Manchester and Salford Universities set up the Two Cities Boat Race. Bristol University and the University of the West of England first raced each other in ‘The Varsity’ in 1995. The University of Durham and the University of Newcastle have run the Northumbrian University Boat Race since 1997. In 2006 Cardiff and Swansea Universities held the first Welsh Boat Race.

The latest contest is between the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University who have raced each other in the Universities at Medway Boat Race since 2007.

This is not an exclusive list. I would be interested to know of other similar events, especially outside of Britain. For example, I recently discovered ‘The Great Race’. which is between an eight from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and ‘a prominent team’ from outside of the country. In recent years the men’s crew has beaten crews from Oxford, Cambridge, Washington, and Harvard! Their website is here. Below is a promotion video of the race:

Göran R Buckhorn: Already here I can add that the two oldest universities in Sweden, Uppsala University (founded in 1477) and Lund University (which tracks it roots back to 1425, but the current, ‘modern’ university was founded in 1666), annually race each other since 1992. However, boat racing has been going on at both universities earlier than that. See also here.

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