The World Rowing Under 23 Championships (WRU23CH) returned to Plovdiv, Bulgaria this year, marking a fantastic weekend of world-class rowing action. The Championship, which saw global participation from around 1000 rowers, celebrated some exceptional performances from Oxford and Cambridge University athletes.

The rowing fraternity witnessed an exceptional performance by Luca Ferraro (King’s College), rowed in the 7 seat of the Great Britain’s Men’s Eight (BM8+), bringing home Gold and successfully defending the GB Eight’s 2022 title. A decisive surge in the 3rd 500 gave GB an unassailable lead, and they triumphantly crossed the finish line in a time of 5:26. Ferraro’s victory marked a superb end to his rowing season. This result also marks a coaching hat-trick for Oxford University Boat Club’s Assistant Coach, Brendan Gliddon who won his third consecutive Gold in the GB Men’s Eight at the U23 World Championships. Congratulations Brendan, exceptional work!

The GB U23 8+

Staying with Oxford, James Forward (Pembroke College), last year’s OUBC Vice President became U23 World Champion in the Great Britain’s Men’s Four after winning in a time of 05:47.08. This victory marked a significant milestone in Forward’s rowing career.

The GB U23 4-

Ollie Parish (Peterhouse), Stroke of the successful 2023 Cambridge Blue Boat, added a Silver Medal to Great Britain’s tally in a tightly contested Men’s Coxed Four (BM4+) race. They fought hard, finishing behind Italy, just managing to edge out USA and Australia.

Oxford’s Jack Tottem (Brasenose), who coxed the outstanding Oxford Blue Boat in 2022 also put up a valiant fight in the Great Britain’s Women’s Eight race. The crew narrowly missed out on the bronze medal by a mere 0.06 seconds, a testament to the incredibly high level of competition.

The Light Blues were represented in the Estonian team this year. CUBC’s Nikita Zoglo (St. Catharine’s College) participated in a historic race for Estonia’s Men’s Eight, this was the first Estonian crew to compete at the Championships in many years finishing in 9th place.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, Gemma King (St. John’s College) led the England Rowing Team at the Home Countries International Regatta. Wearing two hats – both as overall Team Captain and Senior Women’s Captain – King guided her team to a sweeping victory. She herself triumphed in the Lightweight Single Sculls (LW1x) and Women’s Quadruple Sculls (W4x) events.

The exceptional performances by these Oxford and Cambridge athletes at the Under 23 Championships and at the Home Countries International Regatta reiterate the high standard of talent cultivated by the Oxford and Cambridge rowing programmes. Their achievements serve as a testimony to their dedication, resilience, and the world-class training they receive.

The Boat Race extends its heartfelt congratulations to all these athletes and looks forward to future successes.

Next stop: the Senior World Championships in September where Olympic qualification gets underway!

Photos: Benedict Tufnell/Row360