The teams for this year’s 162nd Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race have been announced with just four weeks left until the showdown on the River Thames.
Oxford’s men’s squad includes last year’s winning rower Jamie Cook lining up amongst the nine-man crew, led by new team president Morgan Gerlak who rowed in last year’s winning Isis reserve crew.
The squad is made up of seven British rowers and Gerlak, who is American, with a British cox in Sam Collier, who was part of the 2014 Isis winning team.
Maddy Badcot leads the women’s squad as president, and last year’s winning team president Anastasia Chitty is also part of the crew alongside Lauren Kedar, who won in 2014 and 2015 in the women’s team.
The women’s squad maintains a British influence, with six representatives in the squad in addition to Estonian Elo Luik, Dutch Joanne Jansen and Canadian Emma Lukasiewicz.
Gerlak, 22, who will sit in third, told the Guardian: “There’s an incredible energy in the boathouse right now. Everyone is fully invested in the process and we’re enjoying every step along the way.
“As president, I feel personally responsible for making sure we never lose sight of beating whatever crew Cambridge put out. That’s the pressure that I feel.”
George McKirdy, 27, of St Edmund Hall, who is running at bow for Oxford’s men, said: “At the minute, everything’s running like clockwork but its getting more intense as we go on.”
The rowers train for four hours a day on four out of the five weekdays and have extra sessions at weekends.
From 7am to 8.20am train at the gym, usually on rowing machines, before heading out into the water in the afternoon for at least an hour and a half of rowing.
Mr McKirdy, a postgraduate student, added: “When we’re doing all the training it’s quite hard to have a social life and I knew coming in that it would be intense.”
In an official pre-race fixture on the Championship Course last Sunday, the men were beaten narrowly by Oxford Brookes’ University.
The women’s squad were training in Wallingford last Friday.
Christine Wilson, head coach of the women’s squad, said: “The key to winning is to do the basics exceptionally well and take advantage of the competitive opportunity presented.
“The race only happens once, and there are no heats and finals for getting it right.
“We always respect Cambridge and hope they will bring their best come race day.”
The teams will take to the water on Sunday March 27 for the women’s race at 3.10pm followed by the men’s at 4.10pm.
The full teams:
OUWBC - Oxford University Women's Boat Club Bow - Emma Lukasiewicz 2 - Emma Spruce 3- Joanneke Jansen 4 - Ruth Siddorn 5 - Elo Luik 6 -Anastasia Chitty 7 - Maddy Badcott [President] Stroke - Lauren Kedar Cox - Morgan Baynham-Williams
CUWBC - Cambridge University Women's Boat Club Bow - Ashton Brown 2 - Fiona Macklin 3 - Alice Jackson 4 - Thea Zabell 5 - Daphne Martschenko 6 - Zara Goozee 7 - Hannah Roberts [President] Stroke - Myriam Goudet Cox - Rosemary Ostfeld
OUBC - Oxford University Boat Club Bow - George McKirdy 2 - James White 3 - Morgan Gerlak [President] 4 - Joshua Bugasjski 5 - Leo Carrington 6 - Jorgen Tveit 7 - Jamie Cook Stroke - Nik Hazell Cox - Sam Collier
CUBC - Cambridge University Boat Club Bow - Felix Newman 2 - Ali Abbasi 3 - Charles Fisher 4 - Clemens Auersperg 5 - Luke Juckett 6 - Henry Hoffstot [President] 7 - Ben Ruble Stroke - Lance Tredell Cox - Ian Middleton