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Boat Race 2023: Meet the Cambridge University Boat Club crews to face Oxford

Cambridge University Boat Club named its men’s and women’s crews that will bid for Gemini Boat Race superiority over their Oxford counterparts at an event in central London this morning.

Having seen their three-year winning streak come to an end 12 months ago, the men’s selection will be particularly determined to come out on top.

Ollie Parish and Luca Ferraro were both part of the squad that was beaten by two-and-a-quarter lengths on the Tideway, and they have retained their places in the Blue boat for Sunday, March 26.

The Cambridge and Oxford men’s and women’s crews for this year’s Gemini Boat Race were announced at Apothecaries’ Hall in London. Picture: Keith Heppell.
The Cambridge and Oxford men’s and women’s crews for this year’s Gemini Boat Race were announced at Apothecaries’ Hall in London. Picture: Keith Heppell.

For Parish, this will be his third experience of the race, having also been a member of the victorious 2021 line-up on the River Great Ouse in Ely.

Seb Benzecry was also a member of that winning crew alongside Parish and he will return having last year been part of the Goldie boat that lost by three-and-a-half lengths in the men’s reserve race.

Matt Edge also has three men’s lightweight races under his belt and Thomas Lynch was in the Goldie crew of 2022, but for Noam Mouelle, Nick Mayhew and Brett Taylor, the 168th men’s Boat Race will be their first experience of race day.

The latter, who has represented Chinese Taipei at the World Championships, was raised locally to Cambridge and started his rowing career with Rob Roy Boat Club.

Meanwhile, cox Jasper Parish – brother of Ollie – has switched to the men’s boat after helping to guide the women to victory last year.

Head coach Rob Baker said: “The confidence comes from the commitment of the guys 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’ve tried to make the changes to how we want to row and the way we want to perform.

“I’m confident in the individuals and collectively in what we can put together.

“You’re always optimistic about what you can achieve but obviously a little bit cynical as well about what is possible.

“I’m happy with where we are but I know that the next three weeks are going to be pivotal. At this point I think it’s really close between the crews and what we can nail down in the next three weeks could be the difference between winning and losing the race.

“We have all the parts in place, the speed is there, it’s now a case of getting the speed consistently at certain spots in the race where the pressure is going to be on.

“It’s for the guys 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.”

Cambridge Men

1. Matt Edge (St Catharine’s) 2. Brett Taylor (Queens’) 3. Noam Mouelle (Hughes Hall) 4. Seb Benzecry (Jesus College) 5. Thomas Lynch (Hughes Hall) 6. Nick Mayhew (Peterhouse) 7. Ollie Parish (Peterhouse) 8. Luca Ferraro (King’s), Cox: Jasper Parish (Clare College).

Oxford Men

1. James Forward (Pembroke) 2. Alex Bebb (St Peter’s College) 3. Freddy Orpin (St Catherine’s) 4. Tom Sharrock (Magdalen) 5. James Doran (Oriel) 6. Jean-Philippe Dufour (Lincoln) 7. Tassilo von Mueller (Hertford) 8. Felix Drinkall (Wolfson College), Cox: Anna O’Hanlon (Somerville College).

Meanwhile, there is a fresh look to the women’s line-up that was unveiled at Apothecaries’ Hall.

President Caoimhe Dempsey, who was part of the last two Gemini Boat Race triumphs in 2021 and 2022, will be the only returnee in the Blue boat.

But while the star-studded squad of last year, which contained Olympians alongside world and national champions, has moved on, there will still be more than a smattering of Tideway experience within the group.

Carina Graf, Jenna Armstrong and Alex Riddell-Webster were all members of the Blondie team that won last year’s reserve race by two-and-three-quarter lengths, while the latter also featured in the reserve crew that won on the River Great Ouse at Ely 12 months previously.

As for Rosa Millard, she stroked Cambridge's lightweight women to a 15-length victory in 2022.

For the other three rowers named at this morning’s event – Freya Keto, Isabelle Bastian and Claire Britton – this will be the first taste of race day, with the same being said for cox James Trotman.

“We’ve definitely got a lot more understanding (of the group). We’ve started to race, performed well in some and had some good learning opportunities,” said head coach Paddy Ryan.

“They have really taught us something and through that process we’ve been able to talk about why we do certain things and that gets improved buy-in.

“On a river that is travelling two metres per second underneath you while you’re stationary and how a river moves and the importance of that, we’ve been able to get that balance and connection to the water.

“They’re coming together as a group and they’re getting to know each other.

“If we could now get a little bit more nicer weather that would be appreciated, but every year has things to overcome and we’ve been good at that.”

Cambridge Women

1. Carina Graf (Emmanuel) 2. Rosa Millard (Trinity Hall) 3. Alex Riddell-Webster (Murray Edwards) 4. Jenna Armstrong (Jesus College) 5. Freya Keto (St. Edmund’s) 6. Isabelle Bastian (Jesus College) 7. Claire Britton (Fitzwilliam) 8. Caoimhe Dempsey (Newnham) Cox: James Trotman (Sidney Sussex).

Oxford Women

1. Laurel Kaye (Worcester College) 2. Claire Aitken (Oriel) 3. Sara Helin (St Peter’s College) 4. Ella Stalder (Exeter College) 5. Alison Carrington (Hertford) 6. Freya Willis (Magdalen) 7. Sarah Marshall (Jesus College) 8. Esther Austin (St Anne’s College) Cox: Tara Slade (St Peter’s).

Read more

Cambridge University Boat Club’s Noam Mouelle charts his journey from the suburbs of Paris

Cambridge University Boat Club’s Women’s president Caoimhe Dempsey enjoying leading new-look squad

Cambridge University Boat Club’s Tom Lynch feels mentally and physically ready for this month’s Boat Race

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