The squads for the 2011 Boat Race were announced today, both featuring the most undergrads in years.
The squads for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race were announced today with both universities selecting the most undergrads and Brits for many years.
The Dark Blue Boat, coached by Sean Bowden for the 14th year, seems to be infinitely more inexperienced, with only one returning Blue, President Ben Myers.
He is joined by four oarsmen who have rowed the course before for Isis, as well as World under-23 medallist Karl Hudspith, whom Oxford plucked from their better neighbour, Oxford Brookes.
The Light Blues new coach, Olympic hero Steve Trapmore, has four Boat Race veterans to call upon. President Derek Rasmussen, The Tab’s very own man on the inside, columnist Hardy Cubasch, Geoff Roth and George Nash.
Cambridge also have a healthy lashing of new, young talent including an under-23 bronze medallist, cox Henry Fieldman, and three former GB under- 18’s rowers.
Remarkably, both squads are the most British in years, Oxford have 22 rowers out of 27 from Britain, whilst Cambridge have 17.
Furthermore, both squads contain 12 undergraduates, dispelling the myth that the Blues simply scour the worlds universities and international squads for the best international rowers. Most of this year’s squads are home grown and trained in Oxford or Cambridge.
Cambridge’s overseas contingent features five Australians, two Americans, two Canadians and a solitary Kiwi.
Furthermore, there are five returning Goldie crew members in the Light Blue squad. They are cox Liz Box, Joel Jennings, James Strawson and Mike Thorp, as well as Hardy Cubasch.
However, the explanation for the large number of Brits and undergrads might be that the rowing World Championships are in the southern hemisphere, and so are unusually late this year. They are on October 30th and are held in New Zealand.
This might have put-off a few internationals from starting a course at Cambridge or Oxford this year.
Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore, who won Gold in Sydney in 2000 said he was confident with his men: “I’m very pleased to have so many returning Blues and Goldies who give the squad a thorough grounding in what’s needed to win the Race” .
In contrast, Oxford coach Sean Bowden said that “we have a very young bunch of guys and we must finish the second half of the Race more strongly if we are to win”, clearly remembering the drubbing at the hands of the Light Blues last year.
The Boat race is now only 156 days away on March 26th, it is beamed to 200 countries around the world whilst around 250,000 people line the banks of the Thames.
Read The Tab’s report on last year’s race here.