Benedict Tufnell

Boat Races 2018 – All Light Blue Under Dark Skies

by Benedict Tufnell

Cambridge pulled off a clean sweep of victories at the 2018 Boat Races, winning all four races contested between the men, women and reserve boats in dominating performances on the tideway in London.

Dramatic scenes on Hammersmith Bridge.

A largely calm, cool day on the Tideway provided flat conditions for racing under dark grey skies. The light blue women were first off and set the tone early on – leading from the gun they quickly established a unassailable lead over Oxford before ultimately crossing the finish line seven lengths ahead in a time of 19.06.

The traditional coin toss. Cambridge won and elected to race on the Surrey station.

It was the first time Cambridge’s women have claimed back-to-back victories this century after winning by 11 lengths last year.

Cambridge women celebrate at the finish in Mortlake.

The Cambridge women’s cox Sophie Shapter, who was born and raised in Putney, described the win as a ‘dream come true’.

Crowds gather under grey skies to watch the start in Putney.

“I never thought I’d do the Boat Race and be on that stage spraying champagne everywhere. I always watched people do that and thought, ‘That’s pretty cool’. To have done that myself is amazing.”

The customary dunking of the cox.

An hour later the Cambridge men followed suit with a similarly convincing performance, overpowering Oxford from the go they were never challenged and finished 2.5 lengths clear in a time of 17.51.

Cambridge went unchallenged.

It was the perfect end to an eight year career for Cambridge head coach Steve Trapmore who is moving on to a new role coaching the British Olympic squad.

A perfect end for Cambridge Coach Steve Trapmore.

“I really wanted the boys to do well and they stepped up” said Trapmore after the race. “They went out for it, consolidating the rhythm. They took it by the scruff of the neck from stroke one and I’m really pleased they went and fulfilled their potential.”

Cambridge win emphatically.

It is the first time Cambridge have completed a clean sweep of wins across all four races since 1997.

Cambridge’s clean sweep.

Photos © Benedict Tufnell

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