Oxford Defeats Cambridge in 160th Boat Race on London’s Thames

Oxford beat Cambridge to win the 160th university Boat Race on the River Thames in London yesterday.

The University of Oxford’s rowers took a lead after just five minutes when Cambridge’s Luke Juckett slipped from his position, momentarily losing his oar, allowing the rival crew to pull clear. Oxford won by 11 lengths in 18 minutes, 36 seconds. It was the biggest winning margin since 1973.

Oxford’s rowers won last year and the Dark Blues have now taken five of the past seven races over the four-mile, 374-yard course in southwest London. The two British universities have raced since 1829, with the Light Blues of Cambridge now holding a lead of 81 victories to 78. There was a dead heat in 1877.

The Oxford crew was lighter and shorter than its adversaries, but was an average of two years older. Cambridge’s athletes were an average height of 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 meters) compared with 6 feet 3 inches for the Oxford eight. The Light Blues were also an average of 203 pounds (92 kilos), about eight pounds heavier. The Oxford crew contained three Olympians, while Cambridge had none.

The Boat Race was first held in the town of Henley, west of London, after a challenge between two old school friends. There was a seven-year gap after the first race, and it was held irregularly until 1856, when it became an annual event other than during the world wars. Since 1845, the races have taken place on the same section of the Thames.

Thousands of spectators, the majority with no meaningful allegiance to either university, lined the banks of the Thames from Putney to Mortlake.

The demand on the crews means, on average, that the rowers spend about two hours of training for every stroke in the contest, according to race organizers.

The race was sponsored by investment management company BNY Mellon.