Boat Race selection was a tough call explains Cambridge University president Dara Alizadeh
Dara Alizadeh has admitted that it was a tough selection call for the Cambridge University crew to contest the Boat Race on Sunday, April 7.
Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell grabbed the headlines as, aged 46, he will become the oldest oarsman in the history of the event after earning a spot in the Light Blues’ boat.
But it was competitive across the board, with president Alizadeh one of two returning Blues, along with Freddie Davidson. There is also a spot for Rio Olympics single sculler Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk.
“We’re now starting to come together really well,” explained 25-year-old Hughes Hall student Alizadeh at the crew announcement.
“It’s been a tough selection, a lot of guys were in contention and the unit we’ve found is really starting to pick up.
“We’ve got a long way to go but we’re starting to make some progress, which is good.
“The campaign is a challenging one in that everyone is dealing with the training load and there is so much going on, it’s about balancing it with the academics.
“What’s been nice is that as things have evolved, it’s showing that every member of the club has been contributing and developing well as we raise the tide up.
“I think that speaks to the strength of the club and where we’re going, to me that is the exciting bit.”
Lining up in the Oxford crew, in the No 5 seat, is Tobia Schroder, who Alizadeh taught at Winchester College.
But, in a joking reference to Cracknell, he said: “I don’t feel old in this room! I’m the young guy right now. This is the right year to be saying I taught this guy. Yeah, well that guy was competing before I was born.
“I coached him at Winchester and I think he is a tremendous rower and it’s no surprise he is doing really well, so it’s great to see him in a new environment like that.”
Cambridge University Boat Club: Bow Dave Bell (Homerton, 31), James Cracknell, (Peterhouse, 45), Grant Bitler (Hughes Hall, 23), Dara Alizadeh* (Hughes Hall, 25), Callum Sullivan (Downing, 19), Sam Hookway (Peterhouse, 28), Freddie Davidson* (Emmanuel, 20), stroke Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk (Peterhouse, 24), cox Matthew Holland* (Gonville & Caius, 21).
Oxford University Boat Club: Bow Achim Harzcheim (Oriel, 24), Ben Landis (Lincoln, 24), Patrick Sullivan (Wadham, 23), Benedict Aldous* (Christ Church, 21), Tobias Schroder (Magdalen, 19); Felix Drinkall* (Lady Margaret Hall, 19); Charles Pearson (Trinity, 20), stroke Augustin Wambersie (St Catherine’s, 23), cox Anna Carbery (Pembroke, 21).