Tim Koch reports from Tideway:
‘Tideway Week’, as the name suggests, is the week before the Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race when the crews and coaches have moved to accommodation in or near Putney and undertake one or two outings a day on the river, often under the surveillance of the press in a following launch. They may also be shadowed by a random collection of their ‘Old Blues’. This year, Tideway Week runs from 26 to 31 March. In the week before the race the hard work has been done and most outings consist of light paddling, practice starts and the occasional short piece at race pace against the reserve crew (Isis for Oxford and Goldie for Cambridge).
On a very cold Wednesday 27 March, Oxford went out at 9am.
Oxford approach Putney Embankment. Stroke Malcolm Howard, the heaviest oarsman this year, won Gold in the 2008 Olympics and Silver in 2012, both in the Canadian Eight.
Oxford along Fulham Reach. From Bow: Patrick Close, Geordie Macleod, Alex Davidson, Sam O’Connor, Paul Bennett, Karl Hudspith, Constantine Louloudis, Malcolm Howard, Cox: Oskar Zorrilla.
Oxford approach Hammersmith Bridge followed by coach Sean Bowden.
Oxford take the first stroke of a practice start alongside the Putney Embankment.
Oxford cox Oskar Zorrilla clips the Harrods Buoy with his starboard blades.
Oxford coach Sean Bowden. He has coached ten Boat Race victories, two for Cambridge and eight for Oxford.
Cambridge had a lie in and went out at 12pm.
Cambridge passing St Paul’s School. From Bow: Grant Wilson, Milan Bruncvik, Alex Fleming, Ty Otto, George Nash, Steve Dudek, Alexander Scharp, Niles Garratt, Cox: Henry Fieldman.
The Cambridge bow three: Wilson, Bruncvik and Fleming. Bruncvik is the first Czech to compete in The Boat Race. A double Olympian, at 82 kg, he has competed in all heavyweight rowing and sculling events at least at national level, apart from the single. He may kill off the theory that ‘real men’ do not use the rowing mittens known as ‘pogies’. This ‘story’ has made it into a newspaper not noted for its rowing coverage.
Cambridge pass the Mile Post (above six’s head). This is the monument to the great Cambridge, London and Thames coach Steve Fairbairn, situated one mile from the Boat Race start. The scaffolding arrangement is for a TV camera on Boat Race Day.
Cambridge raced Goldie, the reserve crew, from the Mile Post to St Paul’s. Here they are passing the old Harrods Depository. Goldie kept an overlap with the Blue Boat all the way. Draw your own conclusions on the significance of this.
The Cambridge – Goldie race goes under Hammersmith Bridge. Blue Boat cox Fieldman was constantly warned by coach Steve Trapmore who undertook the role of ‘umpire’. Will he steer so aggressively on the big day?
Old (Light) Blues cast a knowing eye over the youngsters. Most old rowers subscribe to the idea that ‘the older we get, the better we were’.
Photography: Tim Koch