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Sophie Paine takes great pride in Cambridge University crew after success in 75th Women’s Boat Race

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President Sophie Paine could not hide the pride in her Cambridge University crew as they won the 75th Women’s Boat Race.

The Light Blues made it four wins in a row over Oxford as they clinched victory by just less than a length on the River Great Ouse in Ely.

There was no quarter spared on the near 5km straight course, as both crews had their bow-balls in front at various stages.

However, when Cambridge took the lead by the inter-junction with the River Lark there was no looking back, and they went on to secure a close victory.

“There is really no feeling to describe it. It hasn’t really sunk for me, I have to pinch myself,” said Girton College student Paine, who was in the No 6 seat.

“I’m just feeling so proud of all of the women on the team, and what we were able to do today. It’s made two years’ worth it.

“There have been so many ups and downs. I think the cancellation of last year’s year’s race was absolutely shattering for us.

“When we came back this year, we all had that to carry us through, and we came back with a fire that really pushed us through this season despite the hardships, lockdowns and periods of isolated training.

“There have been so many challenges for us, both physically and mentally, but I think we were able to overcome them today which is just so rewarding for us.”

She added: “We’ve had such a good week leading up to the race that our thing was that no matter what the result of the race, we were always going to be proud of what we were able to do. The fact it ended on our side is just really rewarding for us.”

Cambridge University Boat Club celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race. Picture: Lauren Douse/Row 360 (45823998)
Cambridge University Boat Club celebrate winning the 75th Women's Boat Race. Picture: Lauren Douse/Row 360 (45823998)

Cox Dylan Whitaker kept his crew calm throughout, even when Oxford managed to get a lead by two seats and when the Dark Blues received warnings for a clash of oars.

Cambridge maintained their rhythm to look very comfortable, and that reaped rewards at the end.

“It was awesome, that is two years in the making,” said the King’s College student.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet but it was maybe the best race I have ever been in. They made us work for it, that’s for sure.

“There were a couple of moments where it got a bit hairy but not once did I doubt our rhythm, not once did anyone doubt our speed.

“We knew what the outcome was going to be, and we let them burn out and we won.”

Past president Abba Parker, who led the club in 2019, was in the Cambridge No 3 seat.

“It feels great,” she said.

“It’s been a lot of hard training over quite a few seasons and I didn’t expect to be here in Littleport but here we are and there is no better place for it!

“The most exciting part is when you’re about to cross the line, and you know you’re ahead after that - we’ve just done it.

“I think I’m just so proud of this team and this crew. We’ve had such a good time together as well as working really hard and pushing ourselves to get the speed we needed today. It feels great.”

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