The Cambridge Student talks to three of the people who could make the difference for the Light Blues
The Rower: Geoff Roth
Geoff, how are you feeling with less than three weeks to go before the Boat Race?
I’m feeling good; I feel strong. We’ve been training six months for this race, so I’m feeling pretty focused on what I have to do.
What do you see as the key things to be done between now and the race itself?
Right now we’re fine-tuning the last percent or two of boat speed and such things, so we just need to make sure that we all stay fit and healthy, go through the routine properly, and make sure that when we show up on race day, we do well.
How have you found working under Steve Trapmore?
It’s been great. Steve’s a great coach, he’s really always on the ball and covers all the angles, so it’s been a really fun year.
You’ve won the Boat Race before. How much would it mean to do it again?
Obviously, even though I’ve won it before, I understand that nothing happens easily. It’s a very fast Oxford crew we’re going to be racing on March 26th, so it’s going to have to be earned if we’re going to do it. It would mean the world to me. The Boat Race is one of the pinnacles of the sport, so to even be a part of it is an incredible experience.
The Cox: Liz Box
Liz, how are you feeling with less than three weeks to go before the Boat Race?
I’m feeling pretty good. Preparations are going pretty well. Obviously, it’s coming down to crunch-time, and it’s all getting a bit more intense and a bit more serious, but I’m feeling good.
How did you get into coxing, and how you end up coxing the Blues?
I started coxing in my first year at Christ’s, and did that for my first two years, then in my third year I advanced to the Cambridge Lightweight Men and coxed the Henley Boat Race, then last year I managed to cox the Goldie crew, which was a really big moment for me.
How does this experience compare to coxing Goldie last year?
I guess in terms of the trialling process it’s very similar. The squad trains as a whole and up until very recently myself and Tom, who’ll now be coxing Goldie, have been switching in and out of both boats, so the experience has been very similar. Now, it’s about really bedding into the crew and becoming a unit so again, it’s the same as Goldie last year, but with a little bit more attention and a little bit more pressure. I think it means as much to the Goldie guys as it does to the Blue boat even if the cameras aren’t on.
The Coach: Steve Trapmore
Steve, how are you feeling with less than three weeks to go before the Boat Race?
Focused, definitely focused. Obviously I’m excited that everything’s coming together; the guys are on good form. There’s still a lot that we can do, though.
What are the key things that need to be done before the race?
Well, you can always get better. We’re just bringing the levels of expectations up a little bit. We’re under no illusions – it’s going to be a close race. Both crews are going to be very strong. The Oxford guys are here to win, and we’re here to win, so it’s going to be very competitive.
There’s been a lot of talk about you being the more experienced crew, and you’ve weighed in as the heavier crew as well. How much pressure do you think that adds?
I don’t think necessarily pressure. We’re marginally heavier, and some of our crew is very experienced but Sean Bowden, the Oxford coach, is also very experienced, so I think it all balances out. Although I obviously hope that the race will be over in one stroke, we’re not going to get that, and with races as they have been in the last few years, I think it’s going to go to the wire.
How has your first year coaching the Blue boat been, and how does it compare to your other experiences in the sport?
In my previous coaching role at Imperial College, which was a similar sort of institution, I was managing a much more diverse range of athletes. I had people from the international team right through to absolute beginners, so the exciting thing about being at Cambridge is the focus on performance at the highest level. For me, that’s really exciting given my background in the sport; to be coaching a boat who have the same aspirations as national team athletes is very exciting.
Cartoon: Paul Predicts a win for the light blues – by Dominic McKenzie