Boat Race 2014: Cambridge hoping 'Littleton' Ian Middleton can lead side to reclaim annual Boat Race title

18-year-old Middleton will cox Cambridge's eight as they look to gain revenge for last year's narrow defeat to Oxford

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The Independent Online

Cambridge is counting on its smallest crew member making the most of its weight advantage against Oxford in the annual Boat Race on Sunday.

Ian Middleton has been nicknamed "Littleton" by his teammates. The geography student came through trials with two other coxes to sit in the 160th race. 

"He is 18 going on 30," Cambridge president Steve Dudek said. "He is one of the rare coxes that I've met who is quietly confident in what he is doing. He feels no need to assert himself unnecessarily, which is a very, very big strength. 

"He is a cool customer. It's almost unnerving just how unflappable the kid is." 

The Light Blues, who lost by a length-and-a-half last year, have height and weight on their side this time. Of the 68 races since World War II, the heavier and taller crew has the majority of wins. 

However, Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore downplayed the weight advantage of about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) over the 6,800-meter (four-mile) River Thames course. 

"It's not a huge difference," he said. "They've got to pull the weight that they have and they've got to go fast with it." 

Oxford will bet on experience in the defense of its title. It features three Olympic medalists: Club president Malcolm Howard of Canada won gold in Beijing and silver in London, Storm Uru of New Zealand is a world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, and Constantine Louloudis at stroke won bronze in London. 

"We have guys who are technically better this year," Howard said. "It would take a truly special crew to beat us." 

Louloudis is bidding for a hat trick of victories with Oxford after winning in 2011 and 2013, taking a break in 2012 to focus on the Olympics. Oxford will put out three Britons, three Canadians, two New Zealanders and an American. 

Cambridge has four Americans, three Brits, an Australian and German. 

Cambridge leads the series 81-77, with one tie. Cambridge last won in 2012, when a protester swam into Oxford's path, forcing the race to be halted.