Just 24 hours before the main event it was the turn of the university old boys to show their paces on the Tideway in the eighteenth Veteran’s Boat Race. Raced from The Boat Race start at the Putney University Stone to Furnivall steps (just past Hammersmith Bridge), the crews consist of Old Blues, Isis and Goldie alumni, plus some squad members.
Cambridge have dominated the event in recent years, and came into the Race as defending Champions having won in 2012. This year’s Race featured five Olympians across the two crews – with Guy Pooley, Matt Parish and Stephen Peel who raced for GB at Barcelona/Atlanta, Atlanta and Seoul respectively part of the Cambridge line-up; and Brit Jonny Searle and German Jan Herzog, who raced at Barcelona and Sydney/Athens respectively, taking to the water for Oxford.
Oxford may have gone into the Race with one fewer Olympian, but they had a slightly younger average age of 43 to Cambridge’s 45, plus the weight advantage of just over a stone.
Oxford won the toss and chose the Surrey station. Conditions were bouncy but dry as both crews boated, with the strength of the tide nullified somewhat by the land-water flowing down towards Putney. Sir Matthew Pinsent was umpiring the Race as part of his preparation for The Boat Race tomorrow.
Cambridge had the better of the two starts, and were already a couple of seats ahead as the two crews raced down past the boathouses. Despite a couple of warnings for both coxes, racing continued clash-free to the Town Buoy, by which time Cambridge had pulled out to half a length lead.
As the crews approached the Fulham Bend, Oxford appeared to be holding the Cambridge crew, but a move from the Light Blues as the headwind of Crabtree Reach kicked in, saw them pull out to clear water by the end of the bend.
From then victory for the Light Blues never seemed in doubt, as the Cambridge crew, looking the neater and more composed outfit, continued to move away from their Dark Blue rivals. Cambridge went through the Mile Post in a time of 4 minutes 13 seconds, with Oxford 5 seconds adrift. Cambridge went on to win by 4 lengths in a time of 8 minutes 13 seconds.