Cambridge University Boat Club has named its men’s and women’s crews who will put on a show of Gemini Boat Race supremacy over their Oxford counterparts at an event in central London this morning.
Having ended their three-year winning streak 12 months ago, the men’s selection will be especially determined to come out on top.
Uli Parish and Luca Ferraro were both part of the team beaten two and a quarter lengths on Tideway, and kept their place in the blue boat on Sunday, 26 March.
For Parish, it will be his third experience in racing, having also been a member of the victorious 2021 squad on the River Great Ouse at Ely.
Sepp Benzekri was also a member of that winning crew alongside Parrish and will return after last year being part of Goldie’s Boat beaten three and a half lengths in the men’s reserve race.
Matt Edge also has three men’s lightweight regattas under his belt and Thomas Lynch was on Goldie’s crew for 2022, but for Noam Muelle, Nick Mayhew and Brett Taylor, the men’s 168th regatta will be their first race day experience.
The latter, who represented Chinese Taipei at the World Championships, bred home to Cambridge and began his rowing career with the Rob Roy Boat Club.
Meanwhile, cox Jasper Parrish — Ollie’s brother — has switched to the men’s boat after helping steer the women to victory last year.
Team coach Rob Baker said: “Confidence comes from the commitment of the players and the commitment to what we want to do as a team. It also comes from the way they want to go about their training and how they have tried to make changes to the way we want to row and the way we want to perform.
“I am confident in individuals and collectively in what we can put together.
“You are always optimistic about what you can achieve but obviously you are also a bit pessimistic about what is possible.
“I’m happy with where we are but I know the next three weeks are going to be pivotal. At this point I think it’s very close between the crew and what we can achieve in the next three weeks could be the difference between winning a race and losing.
“We have all the parts in place, the pace is there, it’s now a case of constantly getting up to speed in certain spots in the race where the pressure will be.
“It is up to the youngsters to understand what they need to do at each stage of the race and over the next three weeks we can do a lot with that.”
1. Matt Edge (St. Catharine’s) 2. Brett Taylor (Queen’s) 3. Naom Moyle (Hughes Hall) 4. Seb Benzekary (Jesus College) 5. Thomas Lynch (Hughes Hall) 6. Nick Mayhew (Peterhouse) 7. Ole Parish (Peterhouse) 8. Luca Ferraro (Kings), Cox: Jasper Parrish (Claire Coolidge).
1. James Forward (Pembroke) 2. Alex Bibb (St Peter’s College) 3. Freddy Orpen (St Catherine’s) 4. Tom Sharrock (Magdalene) 5. James Doran (Oreal) 6. Jean-Philippe Dufour (Lincoln) 7. Tassilo Vaughn Mueller (Hertford) 8. Felix Drinkel (Wolfson College), Cox: Anna O’Hanlon (Somerville College).
Meanwhile, there’s a fresh look at the women’s lineup unveiled at the drugstore floor.
Chief Caoimhe Dempsey, who was part of the last two Gemini Boat Race wins in 2021 and 2022, will be the sole returnee in the blue boat.
But while last year’s star-studded team, which featured Olympians along with world and national champions, has moved on, there’s still more to the Tideway experience within the group.
Karina Graf, Gina Armstrong and Alex Riddell-Webster were all members of Blondie’s team that won a reserve race last year by two and three-quarter lengths, while the latter also featured in the reserve crew that won the Great Ouse River at Ely 12 months ago.
As for Rosa Millard, she cruised to a 15-length victory in 2022, for the Cambridge Women’s Lightweight.
For the other three rowers named for this morning’s event – Freya Quito, Isabelle Bastien and Claire Breton – this will be a first taste of race day, with the same being said for James Trotman’s cox.
“We definitely got a lot of understanding (of the group). We started racing and did well in some and had some good learning opportunities,” said Technical Director Buddy Ryan.
“They really taught us something and through that process we were able to talk about why we do certain things and improve the buying process.
“On a river going under you two meters per second while you’re stationary and how the river moves and the importance of that, we’ve been able to achieve that balance and connection to the water.
“They meet as a group and get to know each other.
“If we could get a little better weather now that would be appreciated, but every year has things to overcome and we’ve been really good at it.”
1. Karina Graf (Emmanuelle) 2. Rosa Millard (Trinity Hall) 3. Alex Riddell-Webster (Murray Edwards) 4. Gina Armstrong (Jesus College) 5. Freya Quito (St Edmund) 6. Isabelle Bastien (Jesus College) 7. Claire Britton (Fitzwilliam) 8. Kawima Dempsey (Newnham) Cox: James Trotman (Sydney Sussex).
1. Laurel Kay (Worcester College) 2. Claire Aitken (Oreal) 3. Sarah Helen (St Peter’s College) 4. Ella Stalder (Exeter College) 5. Alison Carrington (Hertford) 6. Freya Willis (Magdalene) 7. Sarah Marshall (Jesus College) 8. Esther Austin (St Anne’s College) Cox: Tara Slade (St Peter’s).
Naum Muelle of the Cambridge University Boat Club charts his voyage from the outskirts of Paris
University of Cambridge Boat Club President Kawheme Dempsey is enjoying her new flagship line-up
Cambridge University Boat Club’s Tom Lynch feels mentally and physically ready for this month’s Boat Race
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