Rowing: Boat Race coaches play Olympic card

Oxford and Cambridge have amassed formidable crews with a heavy international flavour for the 151st Boat Race on 27 March.

Oxford and Cambridge have amassed formidable crews with a heavy international flavour for the 151st Boat Race on 27 March.

Only one undergraduate has gained selection in each boat, and each has three men who appeared in the Olympic regatta in Athens last year. Oxford exhibit a special relationship with North America, with the inclusion of the Olympic silver medallist Barney Williams, who was the stroke of the Canadian four in Athens.

Chris Liwski was a reserve for the US Olympic team, while Mike Blomquist and Jason Flickinger are from Harvard and Princeton respectively. The president, Robin Bourne-Taylor, returns after a year out in the British Olympic eight, in which he rowed with Andrew Triggs Hodge, also of Oxford, and Tom James in the Cambridge crew.

The crew is completed by Peter Reed and the British international Jo von Maltzahn. Acer Nethercott, the cox in 2003 and 2004, again takes the cox's seat.

Cambridge's wealth of talent means their president, Andrew Shannon is resigned to rowing in the reserves Goldie. Besides James, his top crew has Bernd Heidicker and Sebastian Schulte from the German Olympic team, Luke Walton from the US Olympic team, and two returning Blues, the American Steffen Buschbacker and German Matthias Kleinz. The crew are completed by Tom Edwards from Tasmania and Henry Adams. The cox is Peter Rudge.

The challenge for the coaches, Oxford's Sean Bowden and Cambridge's Robin Williams, is to mould winning units. To judge by gritty displays last Sunday, when Cambridge beat a tough eight from Poland and Oxford saw off a combination from the US and Dutch national squads, both are on top of the task.

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