Cambridge crew rely on power to beat weight gap

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The Independent Online

Oxford set the first record of the 151st Boat Race by clocking up the heaviest average weight of 15 stone, six and one-eighth ounces, a stone and a half per man heavier than Cambridge, the biggest difference in the history of the race and seven pounds heavier than the 1998 Cambridge crew who held the record until yesterday.

Oxford set the first record of the 151st Boat Race by clocking up the heaviest average weight of 15 stone, six and one-eighth ounces, a stone and a half per man heavier than Cambridge, the biggest difference in the history of the race and seven pounds heavier than the 1998 Cambridge crew who held the record until yesterday.

The weight gap left Cambridge's coach, Robin Williams, wide-eyed as the scales cooled down. "It's a bigger difference than I thought," he said, "but winning the Boat Race boils down to how you use the boat. The challenge to a heavy crew is to get them moving well enough. Our power to weight ratio is pretty good." Even as the lighter of the two, Cambridge, at an average of just under 14 stone, are certainly no lightweights.

There is so much experience on both boats that any significance of weight difference was dismissed by both sides. "We're racing at the weight we've trained to race at all our lives," said Chris Liwski, one of two 6ft 7in men in Oxford's crew. Luke Walton, the Cambridge bow man, dismissed his opponents' advantage. "It's about power to weight ratio," he said. "You have to maximise the power that you have. The masters of that will be victorious."

Last week Cambridge were in Nottingham working on just that, rowing a long smooth stroke through rough water and watching videos of Olympic races in Athens, which some of them had taken part in.

Walton was in the US team, Sebastian Schulte and stroke Bernd Heidicker rowed for Germany, Tom James was in the British team and four of the others have international experience.

Oxford are little different, enjoying so much talent that three of their Blues have been relegated to the reserve boat. President Robin Bourne-Taylor and stroke Andy Triggs Hadge were in Britain's Olympic eight, Barney Williams is a Canadian Olympic medallist, and Liwski was the US spare man in Athens.

Peter Reed and Joe von Maltzahn have rowed for Britain, Jason Flickinger has rowed for the US and his fellow American Mike Blomquist is from a golden era of Harvard oarsmen. Oxford's cox Acer Nethercott has experienced the crest and the trough of the boat race, having won the 2003 race by a foot and lost the 2004 race by a clash.

BOAT RACE JUGGERNAUTS

CAMBRIDGE

(Total weight: 111st 6.9lb)

Luke Walton

6ft 5in, 12st 10.4lb

Tom Edwards

6ft 3in, 13st 8.5lb

Henry Adams

6ft 5in, 14st 1.3lb

Steffen Buschbacher

6ft 5in, 15st 8.7lb

Sebastian Schulte

6ft 5in, 15st 0.3lb

Matthias Kleinz

6ft 2in, 13st 7.2lb

Tom James

6ft 3in, 13st 10.2lb

Bernd Heidicker

6ft 6in, 13st 2.3lb

Peter Rudge (cox)

5ft 9in, 8st 8.8lb

OXFORD

(Total weight: 123st 12.6lb)

Robin Bourne-Taylor

6ft 3in, 14st 1.5lb

Barney Williams

6ft 4in, 15st 6.1lb

Peter Reed

6ft 6in, 15st 7.6lb

Joe von Maltzahn

6ft 4in, 15st 4.7lb

Chris Liwski

6ft 7in, 15st 10.7lb

Mike Blomquist

6ft 5in, 15st 2.1lb

Jason Flickinger

6ft 7in, 16st 7.9lb

Andy Triggs Hodge

6ft 3in, 16st

Acer Nethercott (cox)

5ft 8.5in, 8st 7.7lb

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