The British Championships at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottingham, marked the competitive debut for this year’s Boat Race Squads. Three of the four clubs were in action during the first day of racing, igniting the early predictions as to who will own the Tideway come April.
Cambridge University Boat Club, racing as Goldie BC, sent the largest squad to Holme Pierrepont, with four Coxless Fours and a Double Scull entered. Returning Boat Race winners Freddie Davidson and this year’s President, Dara Alizadeh, led Goldie ‘B’ to victory by six seconds over Oxford’s top crew, racing as Isis. Joined by Callum Sullivan, winner of this year’s reserve race as well as Rio Olympian, Natan Wegrzycki Szymczyk, Goldie put together a dominant row to defeat Isis, picking up from where they left off back in March.
Goldie’s other Fours all placed in the top 13, with the ‘A’ crew only four seconds behind the top Dark Blue boat featuring Oxford’s President and returning Blue, Felix Drinkall alongside Tobias Schroder, Achim Harzheim and Augustin Wambersie. Isis ‘B’ placed second in the ‘B’ Final and 8th overall.
The women’s categories saw Cambridge University sweep the fours titles. Bow of this year’s Blue Boat, Patricia Smith won the women’s event with international athletes Pippa Whittaker, Lily Lindsay and Ida Gortz Jacobsen. CUWBC’s ‘B’ crew featured three members of the all-conquering Blondie crew alongside PhD student, Sally O’Brien. This boat missed out on a place in the ‘A’ final but ultimately placed seventh overall, winning the ‘B’ Final.
Despite Oxford’s Women not being in attendance, the eight-second margin of victory is a clear indicator that Cambridge’s women are again looking strong and will be striving to earn their third Boat Race victory on the Tideway.