With the 2024 Boat Race on the horizon, Oxford and Cambridge University squared off at the annual President’s Challenge.
Knowing the almighty test ahead of them, representatives for both esteemed teams arrived at No.11. Cavendish Square in London for a seemingly respectful encounter sprinkled with an undeniable undercurrent of intense rivalry.
The event ushered in the latest season of the competition, with the men’s and women’s Presidents of Oxford and Cambridge University boat clubs coming together with Boat Race Company directors, student-athletes and sponsors to shoot the firing gun for one of the most physically demanding competitions in British sport.
The President’s Challenge gives the Presidents from the previous year’s losing side the opportunity to challenge the winner in a bid for redemption in a tradition that dates back to 1829.
In an intense encounter, those in attendance sat on the edge of their seats as Oxford University’s Louis Corrigan and Ella Stadler faced-off with Cambridge University’s Sebastian Benzecry and Jenna Armstrong, in a breathtaking moment that set the tone for what is set to be an exceptional season with the coveted men’s and women’s trophies up for grabs.
Oxford and Cambridge are ready to put it all on the line in the 2024 Boat Race
On March 30, the world will watch in awe as the 2024 Gemini Boat Race airs to millions of viewers. The stunning Championship Course stretches over 4.25 miles of tidal Thames in west London between Putney and Mortlake.
With the men’s score currently, 86-81, and the women’s, 47-30, both in favour of Cambridge, Oxford know they have to bounce back with a vengeance. The underdog side is determined to build winning crews for the 2024 event, which has seen the respected university join Cambridge in unifying the men’s and women’s boat clubs for the first time.
Jenna Armstrong from Cambridge University Boat Club commented: “My favourite part of rowing is building the squad. The numbers that we’ve been producing on the water are really promising. We’ve seen some massive PBs during our testing.”
Louis Corrigan from Oxford University Boat Club said: “We’ve had a good recruiting run this year. We’ve got some returners that are very hungry for the win, combined with fresh blood bringing that competitive spirit.”
The Chair of The Boat Race Company, Siobhan Cassidy, added: “It’s amazing that for people who watch rowing, The Boat Race might be their first touchpoint of the sport. It’s easy to understand. You have two boats, and people who have nothing to do with Oxford or Cambridge will pick a colour. This fiercely contested ‘Battle of the Blues’ is watched by millions. It’s that competitive spirit that drives each and every rower to strive and to keep learning.”
The remarkable event, which is attended by over 250,000 spectators, is set to deliver an unforgettable day of sporting action.
Featured Image Credit: Row360 / The Boat Race Company