1993 Clean Sweep

1993 was the first clean sweep for Cambridge and as such a key milestone year

For the first time all six Cambridge crews swept Oxford and a photo was taken outside the Hawks’ Club to commemorate the occasion. The photo was recreated in 2018 when Cambridge again swept Oxford. This year, 2023, despite challenging weather, Cambridge secured their third clean sweep.

For the Men’s Blue Boat it was the first victory since 1986 and second victory in 18 years against a strong Oxford program run by the legendary Dan Topolski. Goldie won by 9 lengths over Isis, earning them the sixth consecutive victory in seven years.

The Men’s Blue Boat crew throwing the cox in 1993

Malcolm Baker, Men’s Blue Boat, says:

“I arrived in Cambridge in the fall of 1992 to find a program and a squad that was as focused and determined – or more – as I had ever seen before. We put in the work. On paper, we were outmatched by Oxford, so we had no other choice. Under the guidance of the legendary Harry Mahon, our coaches prepared us, physically, technically, and psychologically to be our very best selves on race day. My Cambridge experience was all about rowing and ending Oxford’s stranglehold on the Boat Race, every minute of every day from early September of 1992 to March 27, 1993. The same could be said, I am sure, for the crews before us, and the crews since. I was fortunate that our effort was rewarded with a Boat Race and Goldie sweep and a lifetime connection to 18 teammates who shared this amazing journey.”

Malcolm also adds:

“All that effort comes together perfectly, so that nine rowers are working in unison, pushing the limits of their physiology, technique, coordination, and sheer will, right when it matters most. That experience is life changing: first and foremost, in an unbreakable friendship, built from shared experience, shared goals and values, and shared sacrifice. Most other objectives in life are more complicated and, I am relieved to say, less exacting. But, the same determination, teamwork, and earned confidence has also shifted my odds of professional success off the water and given me the chance to make a positive impact on students, colleagues, and clients.”

Watch the Men’s Blue Boat Race in 1993
The Men’s Lightweight crew 1993

The Women’s Lightweight crew 1993

The women’s lightweights, full of confidence, won easily and in record time at Henley.

Alison Dewynter, women’s lightweights, remembers:

“Seat racing for the 1993 women’s crews took place very early on a clear December morning.  Mist hung over the Reach, tinged with pink as the sun rose.  It hid the boats.  From the bank, you could hear blades thump in gates, water splash and coxes call, but could see no more than a shadow moving through the thick pink haze.  Above us, the sky was turning from the grey of dawn to the blue of day.  There wasn’t a cloud to be seen. 

This was the end of a number of weeks of trialling.  We’d done ergos and outings, numbers had been whittled down but a lot rested on today’s results.  Some of us had been in the 1992 squad, but new rowers had come through and nothing was certain.  Fiona Shields had said to me, “You have to ensure that they can’t afford not to select you”.  Had I done enough?  After the final seat race, once boats were put away, crews were announced by Ron and Roger upstairs in the Maggie boat house. I remember sitting on a slatted bench next to a row of pegs as names were read out.  It was 30 years ago but that image persists.

The week before the boat race, we stayed with a family in Henley.  The weather was sunny and we had outings every day.  Between times we relaxed, had haircuts, we might even have studied as a few of us had finals that summer.  We all felt a bit sorry for the Oxford lightweight crew.  We saw them out a few times on the water and knew they didn’t stand a chance.  The only question was how much we would win by.  

On the day, the verdict was ‘easily’.”

Read Alison’s full story here.

The crew celebrated their reunion at the Boat Race Dinner on 26th March 2023.