The Boat Race 2021

The Boat Race 2021
Date4 April 2021
Men's race
WinnerCambridge
Margin of victoryAlmost a length
Overall record
(Cambridge–Oxford)
85–80
UmpireSarah Winckless
Women's race
WinnerCambridge
Margin of victoryAlmost a length
Winning time16:29
Overall record
(Cambridge–Oxford)
45–30
UmpireJudith Packer

The Boat Race 2021 was a side-by-side rowing race that took place on 4 April 2021. The Boat Race is contested annually between crews from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Usually held on the traditional Championship Course in London, the 2021 race took place on the River Great Ouse near Ely, Cambridgeshire, between Queen Adelaide Bridge and Sandhill Bridge, Littleport. This was the 75th women's race and the 166th men's race, with the 2020 race having been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom. Before the 2021 races, Cambridge led the longstanding rivalry 84–80 in the men's race and 44–30 in the women's.

The crews were announced on 25 March 2021. It was the first time in the history of the event that both the women's and men's races were officiated by female umpires, Judith Packer and Sarah Winckless respectively.

Cambridge's women's crew were considered strong favourites to win their race. Oxford's women's crew took an early lead but Cambridge responded to win. Oxford's men were slight favourites to defeat Cambridge, but failed to do so: Cambridge won by just under one length.

Background[]

The 2021 race (course depicted) was held on the River Great Ouse.

The Boat Race is a side-by-side rowing competition between the University of Oxford (sometimes referred to as the "Dark Blues")[1] and the University of Cambridge (sometimes referred to as the "Light Blues").[1] First held in 1829, the race usually takes place on the 4.2-mile (6.8 km) Championship Course, between Putney and Mortlake on the River Thames in south-west London.[2] The 2020 event was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[3][4] In 2021, the race was held behind closed doors along a section of the River Great Ouse in Ely, Cambridgeshire.[5][6] The organisers noted that the move to Ely was not only due to COVID-19, but also safety concerns relating to Hammersmith Bridge which had been closed to pedestrians after cracks in the structure had deteriorated.[7] It was the second time in the event's 191-year history that the race had taken place in Ely:[8] the previous occasion was an unofficial wartime staging of the event, which Oxford's men won by three-quarters of a length.[9] The 2021 course started at the stone marking the end of the 1944 race, and proceeded along a 4,890-metre (5,350 yd) course, from the Adelaide Bridge towards Littleport.[10] Only the main men's and women's races were scheduled to take place on the same day, with the women's race around 3:50 p.m. and the men's an hour later. As of March 2021, the reserves races were yet to be scheduled.[11]

The rivalry is a major point of honour between the two universities; the race is followed throughout the United Kingdom and broadcast worldwide.[12][13] Cambridge's men went into the race as champions, having won the 2019 race by a margin of one length,[14] and led overall with 84 victories to Oxford's 80 (the 1877 race was a dead heat).[15][16] Cambridge's women were also victorious in 2019, winning by five lengths,[17][18] which took the overall record in the Women's Boat Race to 44–30 in their favour.[14][17]

In May 2020, the University of Cambridge's three boat clubs, Cambridge University Boat Club, Cambridge University Women's Boat Club and Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club, agreed to merge into a single club under the Cambridge University Boat Club (CUBC) name, with Callum Sullivan as the Men's President and Sophie Paine the Women's President.[19] Alex Bebb is the Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC) president and Kaitlyn Dennis is the Oxford University Women's Boat Club (OUWBC) president.[20] The 75th women's race was umpired by international rowing judge Judith Packer, while the 166th men's race was officiated by Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless.[21] Both had been selected for the cancelled 2020 event, and it was the first time in the history of the event that women oversaw both main races.[21]

The main races were streamed live on YouTube.[22] They were also broadcast on television channels in the United Kingdom (BBC One), Canada (TSN2), Israel (Sport 3), New Zealand (Sky Sport 9), Spain (Teledeporte) and throughout most of Africa (SuperSport).[23]

The event was described as being "overshadowed" after an allegation of sexual assault: a female member of OUWBC claimed to have been ignored by both the club and university authorities after submitting a complaint of sexual assault against a male athlete.[24][25]

Coaches[]

Sean Bowden was the chief coach for OUBC, having been responsible for the senior men's crew since 1997, winning 12 from the last 18 races. He is a former Great Britain Olympic coach and coached the Light Blues in the 1993 and 1994 Boat Races. His assistant coach was Brendan Gliddon, a South African who formerly coached under-23 and FISU teams for both South Africa and Great Britain. Alex Bowmer was OUBC's physical therapist.[26] The OUWBC chief coach was Andy Nelder, who previously worked with Bowden and OUBC for eleven years. He was assisted by James Powell.[27]

The Cambridge men's crew coaching team was led by their chief coach, Rob Baker, who had previously coached Cambridge's women to victories in both the 2017 and 2018 races, and Cambridge's men to a win in 2019. Cambridge women's chief coach was Robert Weber, who joined Cambridge University before the 2019 race from Hamilton College in New York, where he was Head Rowing Coach and Associate Professor of Physical Education. CUBC's assistant coaches were Paddy Ryan, Katy Knowles, Nick Acock and Jordan Stanley.[28]

Trials[]

Each year before Christmas, each squad stages a race between two of their own eights over the Boat Race distance called Trial VIIIs. Normally, these are held on the Championship Course. In order to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the trials took place on the Great Ouse behind closed doors and there was no pre-race social media or marketing. Cambridge trials took place on 17 December 2020 and Oxford's races were staged two days later.[29] Because of restrictions imposed by the university, Oxford had been prevented from practising on water until 11 December 2020.[30] As a result of changes to the UK's COVID-19 tier system, neither Winckless nor Packer were able to travel to Ely and both of Oxford's trial races were umpired by Kath Finucane, the reserve race official.[30]

Women[]

The CUBC women's trial featured the boats Hakuna and Matata, named after the Swahili phrase which approximates to "no worries" used in The Lion King film. In fine conditions and umpired by Packer, Matata made the better start to lead by half a length at 500 m. At the inlet from the River Lark, Hakuna's cox moved his boat into the middle of the river to take advantage of the faster flowing stream. Matata took the lead around the 3,000 m mark and pulled away to win in a time of 16 minutes 5 seconds, two lengths ahead of Hakuna.[29][31]

OUWBC's trial boats were named after two of the pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer and AstraZeneca.[30][32] Pfizer took an early lead and held an advantage of three-quarters of a length, but steering too close to their opponents, they clashed oars with AstraZeneca and were warned by Finucane. Five minutes into the race, Pfizer held a two-length lead and moved to the centre of the river. They extended their lead to three lengths before AstraZeneca reduced the deficit by half a length. As the crews passed the finishing line, Pfizer won by three lengths.[29]

Men[]

CUBC men's trial featured boats named Henry I and 10,000 Eels to reflect Henry I's annual order of lampreys from Ely. Officiated by Winckless, both crews started strongly with Henry I holding a half-length lead after 500 m. They extended their lead by a quarter of length by 750 m and their cox attempted to move across to the centre of the river, receiving multiple warnings from Winckless. 10,000 Eels held their line and pulled back to within half a length by 1,250 m and while both crews pushed for the final 500 m, Henry I crossed the finishing line in 14 minutes 4 seconds, one third of a length ahead.[31]

The OUBC trial boats were named Track and Trace, after the NHS Test and Trace system designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Trace took an early lead in a race which was initially dominated by oar clashes. Track began to reduce the deficit as the crews passed the Lark, and following another clash, took the lead and held clear water advantage with 1,000 m to go, eventually beating Trace by two lengths.[30]

Crews[]

The crews for both senior boats were announced on 25 March 2021, on a Zoom call.[33] The Cambridge women were considered strong favourites to win their race while Oxford's men were favoured to win.[34]

Women[]

Women's crews[33][35][36]
Seat Oxford
University of Oxford coat of arms
Cambridge
University of Cambridge coat of arms
Name Nationality College Name Nationality College
Bow Katie Anderson British Brasenose Adriana Perez Rotondo Spanish Newnham
2 Anja Zehfuss American Green Templeton Sarah Portsmouth British Newnham
3 Megan Stoker British St Peter's Abba Parker American Emmanuel
4 Amelia Standing British St Anne's Caoimhe Dempsey Irish Newnham
5 Martha Birtles British Mansfield Anouschka Fenley British Lucy Cavendish
6 Georgina Grant British Harris Manchester Sophie Paine (P) British/Bahamian Girton
7 Julia Lindsay British St Cross Bronya Sykes British Gonville and Caius
Stroke Katherine Maitland British St Hughs Sarah Tisdall Australian Lucy Cavendish
Cox Costi Levy British/Italian Exeter Dylan Whitaker British King's
(P) – Boat club president; Kaitlyn Dennis was the non-rowing President of OUWBC[37]

Men[]

Men's crews[33][38]
Seat Oxford
University of Oxford coat of arms
Cambridge
University of Cambridge coat of arms
Name Nationality College Name Nationality College
Bow James Forward British Pembroke Theo Weinberger British St John's
2 Alex Bebb (P) Canadian St Peter's Ben Dyer British Gonville and Caius
3 Martin Barakso Canadian Kellogg Seb Benzecry British Jesus
4 Felix Drinkall British Lady Margaret Hall Quinten Richardson Canadian Fitzwilliam
5 Tobias Schröder Estonian/British Magdalen Garth Holden South African St Edmund's
6 Jean-Philippe Dufour Swiss/Canadian Lincoln Ollie Parish British/Canadian Peterhouse
7 Joshua Bowesman-Jones British Keble Callum Sullivan (P) British Peterhouse
Stroke Augustin Wambersie Belgian St Catherine's Drew Taylor American Clare
Cox Jesse Oberst American Pembroke Charlie Marcus British Trinity
(P) – Boat club president

Races[]

Conditions on race day were reasonably clement with a temperature of 16 °C (61 °F) and clear skies with a westward crosswind.[39]

Women's[]

Cambridge won the toss and elected to start on the west side of the river.[39] After a brief delay before both coxes indicated they were ready to start, the race commenced at 3:53 p.m. Early on Oxford were warned by Packer for encroaching into Cambridge's water and were instructed to steer away, and Cambridge took a slight lead. Both boats were in close proximity to one another and four minutes in, Oxford held a slight advantage, although Packer continued to warn the Dark Blue cox. After seven minutes, Oxford were around a third of a length ahead as Cambridge started a push, taking a lead with fourteen minutes of the race gone. The Light Blues held a length's lead a minute later and although Oxford remained in touch, Cambridge passed the finishing line first.[34] It was Cambridge's fourth consecutive victory and took the overall record in the event to 45–30 in their favour.[14]

Men's[]

Oxford took the west side of the river.[39] The men's race started at 4:53 p.m. with Oxford falling behind despite a slightly higher stroke rate than their opponents. Within two minutes, Cambridge were almost a length ahead but were warned several times by Winckless for encroachment. Four minutes in, she issued a warning to both crews of potential debris in the river ahead which both crews navigated without issue. Oxford then went for a push in the sixth minute but Cambridge remained in the lead, although down to half a length. At the ten-minute mark, Cambridge pushed before Oxford reciprocated two minutes later and, with less than 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) remaining, the Dark Blues began to reduce the deficit. Cambridge passed the finishing line first, winning by almost one length.[34] It was Cambridge's fourth victory in the last five races, and took the overall record in the event to 85–80 in their favour.[14]

Reaction[]

According to tradition, both winning coxes were thrown into the river, however this year they were followed by the victorious crews.[40] Sarah Tisdall, Cambridge's stroke, was magnanimous in victory: "Awesome race, massive congrats to Oxford. That's the closest boat race the females have had."[41] The Cambridge women's president Sophie Paine received the trophy and noted that "I think this is absolutely historic for women. So many of us have been training for this for two years now, and it means so much for us to have that pay off."[39]

James Cracknell suggested that the Oxford men's cox should have "steered into those reeds and forced a restart".[34] The bow for Cambridge men's boat, Theo Weinberger, suggested that he would "dream of this moment ... it's two years' worth of training and hard work ... there's anything you can quite compare it to."[42] Cambridge's men's president Callum Sullivan described the season as "fantastically unique".[39]

The winning margin in both races was less than one length, which was the narrowest in the men's race since 2003 and in the women's race since 2011.[39]

References[]

  1. ^ a b "Dark Blues aim to punch above their weight". The Observer. 6 April 2003. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  2. ^ Smith, Oliver (25 March 2014). "University Boat Race 2014: spectators' guide". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  3. ^ "The Boat Race has been cancelled due to Coronavirus". ITV. 16 March 2020. Archived from the original on 17 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  4. ^ Gold, Harry (16 March 2020). "Coronavirus updates as Boat Race 2020 between Cambridge and Oxford is cancelled". Cambridge News. Archived from the original on 1 April 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  5. ^ "The 2021 Boat Race to take place on 4 April 2021". The Boat Race Company Limited. 3 December 2020. Archived from the original on 20 March 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  6. ^ "The Boat Race 2021 to be raced at Ely, Cambridgeshire". The Boat Race Company Limited. 26 November 2020. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Boat Race: 2021 races to be moved from the Thames to Ely over safety concerns". BBC Sport. 26 November 2020. Archived from the original on 16 January 2021. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  8. ^ The Boat Race, p. 4
  9. ^ "The Boat Race – Oxford's victory". The Times. 28 February 1944. p. 2. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Oxford and Cambridge Trial Eights Races". The Boat Race Company Limited. 29 December 2020. Archived from the original on 3 January 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Gemini Boat Race – media pack" (PDF). Boat Race Company Limited. pp. 1, 5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 April 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Former Winnipegger in winning Oxford–Cambridge Boat Race crew". CBC News. 6 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  13. ^ "TV and radio". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d "Boat Race – Results". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 12 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  15. ^ Higginson, Marc (6 April 2014). "Boat Race 2014: Oxford emphatically beat Cambridge". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Classic moments – the 1877 dead heat". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 26 October 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  17. ^ a b Hess, Alex (7 April 2019). "Boat Race 2019: Cambridge cruise to double victory – as it happened". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  18. ^ "Boat Race 2019: Cambridge beat Oxford in both men's and women's races". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on 7 April 2019. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  19. ^ The Boat Race, pp. 52–54
  20. ^ The Boat Race, pp. 8–9
  21. ^ a b The Boat Race, p. 45
  22. ^ The Boat Race 2021, retrieved 4 April 2021
  23. ^ "The Gemini Boat Race 2021 – YouTube Livestream and International Feeds". The Boat Race Company Limited. 3 April 2021. Archived from the original on 4 April 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  24. ^ White, Jim; Morgan, Tom; Rumsby, Ben (2 April 2021). "Boat Race under a cloud after Oxford controversy". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  25. ^ Ellery, Ben. "Student's rape complaint 'dismissed by Oxford'". The Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Staff – OUBC". Oxford University Boat Club. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  27. ^ "Coaching Team". Oxford University Women's Boat Club. Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Coaches And Support". Cambridge University Boat Club. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  29. ^ a b c The Boat Race, pp. 54–56
  30. ^ a b c d "Oxford Trial Eights Races – Race Report". The Boat Race Company Limited. 29 December 2020. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  31. ^ a b "Cambridge Trial Eights Races – Race Report". The Boat Race Company Limited. 29 December 2020. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  32. ^ Gallagher, James; Triggle, Nick (30 December 2020). "Covid-19: Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine approved for use in UK". BBC News. Archived from the original on 14 January 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  33. ^ a b c Ransley, Tom (26 March 2021). "The Gemini Boat Race crews are announced". The Boat Race Company Limited. Archived from the original on 27 March 2021. Retrieved 27 March 2021 – via Row 360.
  34. ^ a b c d Quarrell, Rachel (4 April 2021). "Boat Race 2021: Cambridge win as they defeat Oxford in men's and women's races". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 4 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  35. ^ The Boat Race, pp. 77–132
  36. ^ "The Gemini Boat Race 2021 – OUWBC Seat Order Change". The Boat Race Company Limited. 1 April 2021. Archived from the original on 4 April 2021. Retrieved 3 April 2021.
  37. ^ The Boat Race, p. 103
  38. ^ The Boat Race, pp. 134–197
  39. ^ a b c d e f McLaughlin, Luke (4 April 2021). "Cambridge beat Oxford in men's and women's 2021 Boat Race – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  40. ^ "Cambridge upset odds against Oxford to complete Boat Race clean sweep". The Independent. 4 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  41. ^ "Catch-up: The Boat Races 2021". BBC Sport. 4 April 2021. Archived from the original on 4 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
  42. ^ "2021 Boat Race: Cambridge beat Oxford in both men's and women's races". 4 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.

External links[]