Challenges accepted as new Boat Race season gets started

The 2023 Gemini Boat Race season officially got under way last Wednesday with the Presidents’ Challenge at No. 11 Cavendish Square in London.

As tradition dictates, the president of last year’s losing crew challenges the president of the winning crew to an eight-oared race over The Championship Course on the agreed date, which is Sunday, March 26.

With Cambridge University Boat Club’s men’s team having lost to their Oxford counterparts for the first time in six years in 2022, it was their president Ollie Boyne – in his second year of a PhD in computer vision at Downing College – who offered up the challenge to his equivalent Tassilo Von Mueller.

CUBC Men's president Ollie Boyne and CUBC Women's president Caoimhe Dempsey. Picture: Paul Sanwell
CUBC Men’s president Ollie Boyne and CUBC Women’s president Caoimhe Dempsey. Picture: Paul Sanwell

Meanwhile, having won in a course-record time 12 months ago, the Light Blues’ women’s president Caoimhe Dempsey, who is in the third year of her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Newnham, accepted the invitation from Oxford’s Sara Helin.

Dempsey said: “I’m been hugely fortunate to be a part of the CUBC team for three years, and rowed in the blue boat in 2021 and 2022.

“I’m looking forward to building the program with Paddy Ryan (chief coach) and Autumn Mantel (assistant coach).”

Men’s president Boyne added: “I look forward to working closely with Caoimhe, along with Rob Baker (chief coach) and Bill Lucas (assistant coach), to build the best crews possible, and to take on all comers, domestic and international.”

Attention will now switch to the Trial VIIIs on Sunday (December 11) and Monday (December 12).

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