The 2021 Blue Boats have many more "returners" than normal after they didn't get to race in 2020 but it remains to be seen whether the vacated seats have been used to strengthen the crews.
Cambridge's Women's Blue Boat is the crew with the most returners with 6 of the 2020 rowers returning, plus Dylan Whittaker as cox. The two spaces have been filled by Adriana Perez-Rotondo who was named in the 2020 reserve crew, Blondie, and new recruit Sarah Tisdall who is an U23 medallist from Australia.
Their opposition, Oxford Women, have four returning rowers and will still be coxed by Costy Levy. Katie Anderson has been promoted from the reserve crew, Osiris. The three new recruits are: Canadian Julia Lindsay, who was previously at University of British Columbia; American Anja Zehfuss, previously at Stanford; and Megan Stoker who learned to row in Cambridgeshire before going to the University of Bath.
The Oxford Men also have four returners from 2020. They are accompanied by 2021 President Alex Bebb, and Joshua Bowesman-Jones who have been promoted from Isis. Jesse Oberset will cox the crew, having previously been cox of the Varsity crew at Harvard. The line-up is completed by James Forward, who represented Great Britain at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships, and Martin Barakso, a former Canadian senior international who has joined Oxford from Princeton.
They will give tough opposition to Cambridge’s men who have the fewest returners from 2020. This year’s President, Callum Sullivan, and cox, Charlie Marcus, are the only two who had been named for the 2020 Blue Boat. Three rowers (Theo Weinberger, Ben Dyer and Ollie Parish) have been promoted from the 2020 reserve crew, Goldie. The four new arrivals to the crew bring plenty of pedigree having studied and rowed in America and represented many national teams. Seb Benzecry was most recently at Princeton but previously at St Paul’s School, London, where he represented Great Britain in the Men’s Eight at the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2016. Garth Holden has arrived at Cambridge from Yale having represented South Africa at the 2016 and 2017 World Rowing U23 Championships.
It will be fascinating to see this Sunday whether those with more returners have any advantage.
Cover photo © Copyright Steve McArthur / @RowingCelebration www.rowingcelebration.com