6 March saw the official presentation of all crews for the 2023 Boat Race.
Held in London at Apothecaries’ Hall, Blackfriars, The Boat Race Company Limited, in partnership with Oxford University Boat Club, Oxford University Women’s Boat Club and Cambridge University Boat Club, hosted The Gemini Boat Race 2023 Crew Announcement.
The event, hosted by Andrew Cotter, announced the 36 crew members who have won a coveted place in their Blue Boat (pictured).
QUAD attended and we spoke to some of the rowers. Tom Lynch on the Cambridge Men’s squad told us that based on recent unofficial races against Oxford Brookes University ‘2023 is shaping up to be a very tight race.’
At the weigh-in, which is published for the men but not the women, the CUBC squad came out at the lower average weight (minus Cox) of 89.15 kgs per rower.
Oxford this year is the slightly heavier squad at an average rower weight of 91.95kgs.
Nicholas Mayhew, also on the Cambridge squad, told us that if you look back at the framed photographs of yesteryear crews, they often have a bit of paunch – as if the weight itself lent a presence, faced with a potentially choppy, inclement and long Championship Course of 4 miles, 374 yards or 6.8 km long, stretching between Putney and Mortlake on the River Thames in South West London.
‘But that’s long gone. Modern sport science means that crews have become lighter,’ he explains.
‘We measure power-to-weight ratio rather than just power. On a long course the measure is not so much peak power but what you can do over that last third.’
Tom, asked how he would define rowing to a non-rower, says:
‘I’d describe it as an endurance sport which also requires a level of strength. Also, basically a pain contest.’
Laurel Kaye, an American studying for a DPhil at Worcester College, Oxford, asked the same question, gives a slightly different answer. She says,
‘It is like doing ballet on a thin log in perfect synchrony with eight of your very strong best friends to the point of utter exhaustion.’
A common theme from interviews with each of the 36 participants this year (pictured below), which are available in a guide published by The Boat Race Company Limited, is the pain you have to endure to make the grade, or be a competitive rower at any level.
But the same endurance is equally held to translate over into study and other personal characteristics such as resilience and of course team building.
One theme that we spot is the dominance now of graduate students over undergraduate, which we guess often means a bit more maturity, a bit more strength, and a schedule that is more regular and less wrapped up around the intensity of an eight week term.
Both women’s squads this year are 6:3 graduate:undergraduate, as is the Oxford men’s. Cambridge gets closer to parity, with five graduates and four undergraduates, but it is statistically now more a graduate student sport than an undergraduate sport, and more international than ever.
Chair of The Boat Race Company Ltd, Siobhan Cassidy noted at the Crew Announcement that the 36 students represent fully nine nationalities.
‘We all have a part to play in The Boat Race but when the Umpire yells Go! on Sunday the 26th, it really is all over to the crews, so let me end by congratulating them in advance and may the crews have their best performance yet!’.
Stefanie Ramezan, Head of UK, Gemini said:
‘To every rower in the room today, I’m sure I can speak on behalf of everyone in congratulating the crews on their outstanding efforts to date in reaching this point. As we celebrate their involvement in this years’ race, we’re also working to pave the way in engaging more young people into sport. We very much hope our continued funding and support in this partnership will continue to grow and highlight the inspiring work of The Boat Race Fund and partner organisations. In this way, we can continue to make a lasting difference to the lives of young people and their communities.’
The Gemini Boat Race 2023 Crews
Bow: Laurel Kaye (Worcester)
Claire Aitken (Oriel)
Sara Helin (St Peter’s)
Ella Stadler (Exeter)
Alison Carrington (Hertford)
Freya Willis (Magdalen)
Sarah Marshall (Jesus)
Stroke: Esther Austin (St Anne’s)
Cox: Tara Slade (St Peter’s)
Bow Carina Graf (Emmanuel)
Rosa Millard (Trinity Hall)
Alex Riddell-Webster (Murray Edwards)
Jenna Armstrong (Jesus)
Freya Keto (St Edmund’s)
Isabelle Bastian (Jesus)
Claire Brillon (Fitzwilliam)
Stroke: Caoimhe Dempsey (Newnham)
Cox: James Trotman (Sidney Sussex)
OUBC (Average Weight minus cox 91.95kg)
Bow: James Forward – 85.8kg (Pembroke)
Alex Bebb 95.6kg (St Peter’s)
Freddy Orpin 93.2kg (St Catherine’s)
Tom Sharrock 94.6kg (Magdalen)
James Doran 99kg (Oriel)
Jean-Philippe Dufour 87.2kg (Lincoln)
Tassilo von Mueller 92kg (Hertford)
Stroke: Felix Drinkall 88.2kg (Wolfson)
Cox: Anna O’Hanlon 58.2kg (Somerville)
CUBC (Average Weight minus cox 89.15kg)
Bow: Matt Edge 79.2kg (St Catharine’s)
Brett Taylor 90.8kg (Queens’)
Noam Mouelle 87.4kg (Hughes Hall)
Seb Benzecry 91.8kg (Jesus)
Thomas Lynch 97.2kg (Hughes Hall)
Nick Mayhew 85.6kg (Peterhouse)
Ollie Parish 91.6kg (Peterhouse)
Stroke: Luca Ferraro 89.6kg (King’s)
Cox: Jasper Parish 59.2kg (Clare)