Oxford rowed to victory over Cambridge in the women’s Boat Race at Henley on Sunday, winning by four lengths.
The Dark Blues stormed through the course in 5 minutes 50 seconds, racking up their sixth win in the last seven years and cutting Cambridge’s overall lead to 40-28.
On a sunny, warm day in Henley, Oxford and Cambridge held even until about 500m when Oxford pulled away significantly, and Cambridge never recovered as Oxford sped ahead.
Oxford president, Maxie Scheske, praised the Dark Blue crew for turning in a solid performance. They are the first crew to have won the new Newton Women’s Boat Race trophy, which symbolizes the increase in sponsorship and move to the Tideway next year.
“It’s incredible and it’s great that we got the result that we felt we trained for. Being the first one to sort of claim the trophy – it’s fantastic. It’s what I wished for since we saw it. It’s great to finally realize that,” Scheske said.
Caroline Reid, Bow seat of the Cambridge Light Blue Boat, said she knew it would not be easy.
“We’ve come from very different backgrounds. The Cambridge girls are largely college based, so our coaches are competing with getting everything to work, with trying to get us to learn to row, and then trying to get us to row together. The Oxford girls are already international so they already know the basis of rowing – the basis of training hard – and they’re just taught to row together,” she said.
While disappointed, Reid also looked to the future. “It’s hard losing. We were beaten, but we went out there and did the race that we wanted to do, but unfortunately it’s not the result that we wanted. Ultimately we’re as pleased as we can be with what happened.
"I think the more of us that return – that can become more along the lines of the Oxford program where they’re fine-tuning. Hopefully next year will be fine-tuning for us. We’ve come a long way since last year, and that will be just another step to next year.”
For Cambridge president Esther Momcilovic, the loss was not expected. “Going into today I thought we were going to win, but that’s not what happened. It’s a privilege to be the fastest Cambridge crew. I believe in the program’s strength,” she said.
While understandably disappointed, Momcilovic kept the race in its proper perspective.
“Today is for celebrating the historic row at Henley. Tomorrow is for being sad. Today is for celebrating, and we’re not going to let the result of our situation mar that fact,” she said.
The Women’s race has been held over the Henley Reach since the 1970s, but next year, as a result of Newton’s sponsorship, the race will move to the Thames and will be held on the same day as the Men’s race.
Editor's Note: We will be reporting from the Men's race next Sunday on twitter. Follow us @TCSNewspaper – we will be using the hashtag #TCSonThames