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Cambridge Has Only One British Oarsman in Boat Race With Oxford

Cambridge will only have one British oarsman in its boat as it takes on Oxford in the annual Boat Race on the Thames next month.

It’s the first time for Cambridge -- and only the second time in Boat Race history -- that the crew will have only one British rower, organizers said in an e-mailed statement today. Undergraduate Mike Thorp is the only British athlete in the squad.

The 158th edition of the Boat Race between Cambridge University and Oxford University will be held April 7. The contest started in 1829 after a Cambridge student wrote to an Oxford friend proposing a race. The event takes place over a 4.25-mile (6.8 kilometer) course on the River Thames in west London, lasting about 20 minutes.

The rest of the Cambridge boat will be made up of three Americans, two Australians, and individuals from Germany and New Zealand. The only other time only one rower was British was in 2007, when Robin Ejsmond-Frey was in the Oxford boat.

The Oxford crew consists of five Britons, two Americans, and individuals from Germany and the Netherlands.

Oxford won the race last year, taking the lead from the start and beating favorites Cambridge by about four boat lengths.

Cambridge is the heavier crew this year, with its oarsmen averaging 96.3 kilos (212 pounds) each, compared to 88.4 kilos for Oxford. The weight difference -- 7.9 kilos -- is the second biggest ever, with only the victorious Oxford boat of 1990 having a larger margin. The heavier crew has won 7 of the last 10 races.

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