Oxford announce crews for the Boat Races

Theo Davies-Lewis reports on Oxford's squad announcements

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Oxford University Boat Club have announced their Men and Women’s crews ahead of next month’s Cancer Research UK Boat Races.

The men will hope they can respond to their defeat to Cambridge in last year’s race, which they lost by two-and-a-half lengths. This year, the Dark Blues will be the lighter crew, and give way 25.9kg to the Light Blues for the 162nd running of the event.

The crew includes President Michael DiSanto, who is seated at six for the race on Sunday, April 2.

DiSanto also featured in Oxford’s victorious 2014 and 2015 crews, and is studying for an MSc in Psychiatry at Trinity College, having completed his undergraduate studies in Psychology and Economics at Harvard University, where he was a former Captain of Harvard University Boat Club.

Elsewhere in the boat, there is a collection of former Abingdon School pupils – including Oliver Cook, Jamie Cook and Vassilis Ragoussis.

DiSanto, who achieved fourth place as a part of the men’s eight for the United States of America at the Rio Olympics, told The Oxford Times that Oxford have already put last year’s loss behind them.

He said: “There are only two guys from the team last year. It’s about finding our own identity.

“That loss is something that can galvanise the crew by all means, but it would be wrong to force last year’s race on the current crew. It’s about this year and what we’re about.”

Despite the men losing in 2016, the women are hoping for a fifth successive win.

Weighing in 31.2kg lighter than Cambridge, the crew are bound to be confident following their 24-length victory last year, with the Cambridge boat close to sinking.

However, there will be disappointment that President Isabell von Loga misses out due to a shoulder injury, with Alice Roberts being seated at two.

The women’s crews are made up of a diverse set of rowers, with eight nationalities represented across the two boats. Oxford have athletes from Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, America and the UK, while Cambridge boast Irish, Canadian, American, New Zealand, French, Australian and British rowers.

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While Cambridge have some experienced Boat Race rowers in their crew, Oxford have a completely fresh team for the 2017 race. However, the Dark Blues have experienced international rowers in their squad. Harriet Austin, for example, competed internationally for her home country of New Zealand in the women’s eight back in 2010, whilst Flo Pickles represented Great Britain at the U23 World Championships last summer.

At 34, Emily Cameron is the oldest athlete in this year’s Boat Races across all four crews and has a long history of international representation for Canada.

Also speaking to The Oxford Times, Head Coach Ali Williams described the training that has gone into preparing for the race.

Williams commented: “We’ve taken a lot of time to educate the crew on the race.

“They know how to push themselves, but they needed an understanding because racing on the Tideway is a whole different beast.

“It’s a long race, there’s a lot of changes, so hopefully they will be able to handle any situation better than Cambridge.”

Oxford trail Cambridge by just two races in the overall head-to-head, but Oxford have enjoyed considerable success in recent years, winning ten of the last fifteen races. Oxford also trail Cambridge in the reserve boats races, but the Oxford reserve crew have enjoyed greater success recently, winning six of the last seven races.

Details about both Oxford and Cambridge crews can be found at http://theboatraces.org/

Men’s Boat: Bow: William Warr (94.2kg), 2: Matthew O’Leary (74.8kg), 3: Oliver Cook (91.7kg), 4: Joshua Bugaski (99.3kg), 5: Olivier Siegelaar (101.2kg), 6: Michael DiSanto (89.9kg), 7: James Cook (84kg), Stroke: Vassilis Ragoussis (86.6kg), Cox: Sam Collier (55kg)

Women’s Boat: Bow: Flo Pickles (60kg), 2: Alice Roberts (67.5kg), 3: Rebecca Esselstein (70.8kg), 4: Rebecca Te Water Naude (67.2kg), 5: Harriet Austin (76.5kg), 6: Chloe Laverack (75.3kg), 7: Emily Cameron (76kg), Stroke: Jenna Hebert (67.1kg), Cox: Eleanor Shearer (48kg)