CUBC men take an surprise win in the 2024 Gemini Boat Races

by Mark Taylor

Seb Benzecry hailed the Gemini 169th Men’s Boat Race as the “most special race I’ve ever done in my life” after Cambridge University Boat Club’s three-length victory.

The president was first across the line in the Light Blues’ bow seat in an epic renewal on the Championship Course, clinching a personal hat-trick of three Boat Race wins, in a three-and-a-half length success.

“Coming into it, we knew we were probably, on paper, the underdogs,” said Seb. “Oxford had a really, really strong crew so we were really expecting that if we were going to win that race it would be all the way down to the wire.

“I think to be in that position early on where we felt in control of the race was absolutely fantastic.”

Stroke Matt Edge had set the all-important rate and rhythm for the Light Blues, and ‘emptied the tank’ with little left from Barnes Bridge to the finish line.

“We had a really solid rhythm,” said Seb. “Matt did an incredible job at stroke, really just completely ended himself.

“I’m so proud of him, so proud of the rest of the boat. We had some challenges in the latter stages that we had to respond to, but it was an amazing day.

“That was probably the most special race I’ve ever done in my life.”

“I’m so proud of the women, Goldie, and I’m so thankful to be part of this club. The lightweights really set the tone, and the spares before that. 

“It’s just brilliant.”

It is now five wins in the last six races for Cambridge in the men’s race and chief coach Rob Baker has overseen four of those.

He said: “It feels amazing. As a crew, they hadn’t had to put all their races together in one piece but they did it today spectacularly – maybe with a slight concern at the end.

“To drive out to that position, we didn’t expect it to get to that position, but they rowed so well and did an amazing job.”

With five wins out of six across the Boat Race fixtures, including Goldie in the men’s reserve race, Rob added: “I feel like we’ve put all the steps in place and then absolutely just executed on the day, which is what it’s all about.”

Official Times:
Milepost: Cambridge NTT, Oxford 3:50 (Cambridge leading by just under 1 length)
Hammersmith Bridge: Cambridge 6:50, Oxford 6:59
Chiswick Steps: Cambridge 11:10, Oxford 11:20
Barnes Bridge: Cambridge 15:34, Oxford 15:50
Finish: Cambridge 18:56, Oxford 19:07.
Cambridge beat Oxford by 3.5 lengths.

Image Credit: Nordin Catic