HTBS's Tim Koch reports from London,
The 159th Oxford – Cambridge Boat Race is now less than six weeks away. It is claimed that over seven months the crews will spend two hours training for each of the 600 strokes in the race. Most of this preparation and testing is done in relative privacy but there are a few public appearances before the crews line up in front of 1/4 million on the river bank and 120 million people watching worldwide. Not bad for a ‘private match’.
The first public appearance of the potential competitors was for the pre Christmas Trial Eights. For this year’s race, they were held on 13 December, 2012, and the HTBS report is here.
The next exposure to public gaze will happen on the ‘Press Days’ on the weekends of 16/17 February and 16/17 March. This is an opportunity for the Blue boats and the reserve crews to race over the course against strong opposition and for the press to see what is probably the final line ups.
Cambridge’s Press Day will be on 16 February when CUBC will race the University of Washington (16.30) and Goldie (the reserve crew) will race the University of London (16.10). These races will be followed by a press launch. The following day, Sunday 17, Oxford will race the University of London (12.30) and Isis (the reserve crew) will race a crew yet to be confirmed (12.00). There will be no launch following the Dark Blue races, their turn to be pursued down the course by a boat full of journalists will be a month later, on 17 March, when OUBC will race ‘a German Eight’ (16.00). I hope to find out more about the Germanic opposition soon. Earlier, Isis will race Tideway Scullers School (15.30). The day before this, CUBC will race Molesey BC (15.45) and Goldie will race London RC (15.15). This will be Cambridge’s turn to be spared the following press pack.
Oxford’s race against the Germans may, or may not, be particularly exciting depending on the composition of the latter crew but Cambridge’s race against the University of Washington (‘The Huskies’) is going to be thrilling. At the US 2012 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta, UW won all five events, their fourth IRA Championship in six years. The (slightly biased) gohuskies.com claims this to be ‘... one of the most dominating seasons an athletic team has produced at the University of Washington’. Our good friend Bryan Kitch at the excellent website rowingrelated.com has found out who is likely to be in the Washington crew. Most notable amongst an already impressive line up is the man in the six seat, Conlin McCabe, 2012 London Olympic silver medallist in the Canadian Eight. Cambridge, already the underdogs for the Boat Race, should be worried, but this is not 2,000 metres on a buoyed course in a straight line on still water, this is 6,800 metres on a ‘living river’. As Bryan points out:
‘The question, as always, will be can the visiting crew adapt to both the unfamiliar environs and the “unpredictable” nature of the Thames well enough to take on an opponent well versed in such things...’
We will find out this Saturday.