Cambridge continues Boat Race dominance with double victory over Oxford

LONDON (AP) — Cambridge extended its dominant run in the annual Boat Race with victories in the men’s and women’s events on a polluted River Thames on Saturday.

The men claimed a fifth trophy in six years — to lead 87-81 overall in the race between storied universities Oxford and Cambridge which dates to 1829 — while the women cruised to a seventh straight triumph for a 48-30 overall lead.

Crews had sunny conditions with just a light breeze ahead of launch time for the women’s race. Those pleasant conditions were in contrast to the news this week that high levels of E.coli, which can cause a range of serious infections and other side effects, was found along the course in southwest London.

All crews were issued safety guidance on a range of preventative measures, from covering up scrapes with waterproof plasters to ensuring rowers avoided swallowing any water that splashed up from the Thames.

Oxford won both coin tosses but opted for different starting points.

Both dark blue Oxford shells were seen as favorites for the 78th women’s and 169th men’s races.

The men's race saw Cambridge take an early lead, Oxford draw level, and Cambridge lead by half a length and 1.52 seconds at Hammersmith Bridge. Cambridge settled into a smooth rhythm and left Oxford even further behind.

Then Cambridge stroke Matt Edge started flailing, his oar only just dipping in the water. Their 10-second lead was enough to hold off Oxford comfortably.

Testing by a campaign group found high levels of E.coli along the 4.2-mile (6.8-kilometer) course. The rowers were advised to use a “cleansing station” at the finish area as well as avoid the post-race tradition of throwing the winning cox into the water.

___

AP sports: https://apnews.com/sports