Boat Race 2020: News of the Blues

In the Fours Head, held on 23 November 2019, a Cambridge women’s crew won the Band 1 Academic Coxless Fours, 54 seconds ahead of an Oxford boat. However, another Oxford crew won the coxed version of the event, 21 seconds ahead of a Light Blue boat. Perhaps bragging rights should go to the Oxonians in the coxed boat (pictured here at the recent prize-giving at Fullers Brewery) as they were only one-second slower than Cambridge in the lighter coxless boat.

29 January 2020

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch has run out of Blue puns but will report anyway.

Boat Race Day is just nine weeks away and the crews are raising the rate. On the official Boat Race website, three of the four Boat Club Presidents have posted their post-January training camp reports:

Augustin Wambersie, OUBC:

The OUBC have just made it back to Oxford after a successful ten day camp in Temple-sur-Lot. The team makes its yearly trip to this remote part of France for its long, uninterrupted stretch of flat water, as well as its seclusion…. Here, the first iterations of a Blue Boat lineup are tried, tested, tweaked and tested again…. Training camp is also a moment for the team to bond and strengthen ties… With term starting up again… and the added load of academia being felt anew, building on top of the foundations developed during camp will be crucial in carrying the team forward into the racing season. Returning to the flooded, fast flowing Thames will also pose its own challenges to training….

Tina Christmann, OUWBC:

We started out the 2020 Boat Race campaign in September 2019 with a diverse group of people, some internationally experienced rowers, seven returners from last year, college rowers from Canada to New Zealand and many homegrown athletes from the 2019 Development squad.

After a couple of weeks of productive training in small-boats and a successful start of term, we had our first challenge of high-water levels on our homestretch in Wallingford. We mastered the challenge with tough sessions on the ergo, rows at Dorney Lake and multiple trips to the Tideway early on in the year. Combined with the daily challenges that we face as student-athletes, this has made us grow together enormously as a team.

Our autumn racing season consisted of Upper Thames Regatta, where we won in the eight, then Four’s Head where we had a victorious coxed four and finally a well-fought Trial Eights race with a 6 second margin between the boats….

Ahead of us now lies the start of a new academic term, a series of physiological tests and seat races to form the fastest crews, many weekend trips to the Tideway and numerous test races. We’ll soon compete at Quintin Head, where we will meet the Cambridge eights for the first time. After that we’re looking forward to getting race practice in three fixtures against several national and international crews to practice various race scenarios and then build up for our best performance on the 29th March.

A previous CUWBC training camp in Banyoles.

Larkin Sayre, CUWBC:

CUWBC has had a great first half of the season in the lead up to the Boat Races. We are currently (20 January) in Banyoles in Spain on our annual training camp, and got to ring in the new decade as a squad…

The highlights so far this season have been strong results at Fours Head, a Trial VIIIs race where both crews finished within 5 seconds of each other and bonding as a united squad. 

The Cambridge Openweight Women train alongside the Lightweight Men and Women which means we are a team of about 60 people. It’s never boring trying to manage logistics, and boating 15+ boats at 6:30am before sun rise is always hectic! We love training alongside so many different athletes and pushing each other to be faster each day….

We have a strong group of athletes on the team this year and a great mix of returners and those who learned to row through their respective colleges. Now that we have completed Trial VIIIs we are moving into the section of the season focused on forming racing lineups…. 

Freddie Davidson, CUBC:

Freddie must have left his report on the bus, but we can assume that the Cambridge men have been doing a bit of training.

A graphic from showing the Boat Race Season.

On 25 January, both the Oxford and the Cambridge women entered Women’s Championship Eights at Qunitin Head. This is an increasingly popular and competitive 4,800m Tideway head race, the first such event of the year and a chance to get some racing practice over part of the Putney to Mortlake ‘Championship Course’. Unfortunately, The Cambridge Women’s Blue Boat had to scratch for some reason, but the reserve boat was a creditable seven-seconds behind what was presumably the Oxford Women’s first boat and 22 seconds in front of OUWBC ‘B’.

The results of Women’s Championship Eights at Quintin. The full results are here.

The day after Quintin Head, 26 January, a Leander development crew (a possible Thames Cup entry) did some work against the Oxford men’s first boat. The Dark Blues were victorious in all three pieces and the approximate distances were: a canvas from the start to Harrods; a length from the Mile Post to Chiswick Eyot; two lengths from Chiswick crossover to the finish. The Oxford crew with the names of Blues in bold was: Felix Drinkall (Stroke), Charlie Buchanan, Jean-Philippe Dufour, Tobias SchroderAugustin Wambersie, Casper Jopling, Hal Frigaard, Achim Harzheim (Bow), Olly Perry (Cox).

Nearing the end of the Leander – Oxford piece from the Boat Race start to Harrods.

Also, on the 26th, a Molesey Boat Club development crew did some pieces against Cambridge at Ely, Cambridgeshire, but the Tabs proved faster than their visitors.

Finally, if all this has put you in a Blue Mood, for only £75.25 you can sleep with the Cambridge Crew (of 1867).

Click here if you want to cuddle with Cambridge, or here if you would prefer to overnight with Oxford (each also with an average age of 173).


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