Defending champions Oxford unveiled a lighter crew, but one with plenty of experience at the weigh-in with Cambridge in London yesterday for the 160th University Boat Race.
Three Olympians, including London 2012 bronze medallist Constantine Louloudis, filled the Dark Blue boat, which weighed in at an average of 14st and a 113st total (excluding cox Laurence Harvey) for the April 6 event on the River Thames in London.
Not to be intimidated by conceding more than 4.4lb a man to their Light Blue opponents, Karl Hudspith, Oxford’s third man and in his fourth successive Boat Race, sized up Ivo Dawkins by facing his opposite number as he stepped on to the scales.
“Everyone motivates themselves in different ways and Karl can be quite confrontational,” Louloudis said.
The 20-year-old Dawkins was said to be unfazed.
Cambridge president Steve Dudek said: “Ivo is about as cool a customer as I could ever hope to row with.”
Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore added: “It’s all very well sizing people up, you’ve got to be able to back it up.”
Louloudis is bidding for a hat-trick of wins with Oxford.
The 22-year-old stroke won the event in 2011 and 2013, taking a break in 2012 to focus on the Olympics.
“I’d love to get a third win, that’d be awesome,” he added.
“We’ve got lots of guys in the boat who have done the job before, but we can’t rest on our laurels. Last year’s race was really tough.
“You’ve got to shift your weight and I’m pretty confident we’ve got enough power in the boat to do the job.”
Oxford president Malcolm Howard, the heaviest to weigh in at 17st. was optimistic of a successful defence.
“I believe it would take a truly special crew to beat us,” he said.
Trapmore is pleased with the composition of his crew as Cambridge bid to win after last tasting success in the controversial 2012 edition, which featured a restart following swimming protestor Trenton Oldfield’s intervention.
“The team’s come together really well,” he said. “There’s nowhere near the depth of experience that Oxford have, but I’m always confident.”
The women’s race takes place at Henley on March 30, pending a river inspection later this week following the adverse weather.
From next year it will take place on the Thames on the same day as the men’s, using the full four miles and 396-yard course.
Oxford coach Christine Wilson has had one eye on preparing for 2015, but if it was thought winning the final race over one mile and 472 yards was an additional incentive, it is irrelevant to those in the Dark Blue boat.
Oxford president and third seat Maxie Scheske said: “We don’t really care about the format, we just want to win against Cambridge.
“That’s what matters to us.”
HOW THEY LINE UP
Bow: Storm Uru (Keble), 11st 9lb; 2: Chris Fairweather (Oriel), 13st 2lb; 3: Karl Hudspith (St Peter’s), 14st 8lb; 4: Thomas Swartz (Christ Church), 12st 13lb; 5: Malcolm Howard (Oriel), 17st; 6: Michael Di Santo (Trinity), 14st 2lb; 7: Sam O’Connor (Christ Church), 14st; stroke: Constantine Louloudis (Trinity), 14st 9lb; cox: Laurence Harvey (St Hugh’s), 8st 11lb. Total weight (excluding cox): 113st.
Bow: Mike Thorp (Homerton), 14st 2lb; 2: Luke Juckett (St Edmund’s), 13st 3lb; 3: Ivo Dawkins (Gonville & Caius), 13st 12lb; 4: Steve Dudek (St Edmund’s), 15st 13lb; 5: Helge Gruetjen (Magdelene), 16st 1lb; 6: Matthew Jackson (St Edmund’s), 14st 7lb; 7: Joshua Hooper (St Edmund’s), 14st 7lb; stroke: Henry Hoffstot (Hughes Hall), 14st; cox: Ian Middleton (Queens’), 8st 10lb. Total weight (excluding cox): 116st 3lb.