Sophie Shapter, cox, of the Women’s Blue Boat, and Amelia Perrin, Blondie, recall why 2018 was such a special year.
2018 was only the second time that Cambridge swept Oxford in all six races and the Hawks’ Club photo from 1993 was recreated. CUBC won both the Boat Race and Goldie/Isis match for the first time since 2010. It was Steve Trapmore MBE’s final season as CUBC Coach and the first time his crews had won both Blue Boat and Goldie after Blue Boat wins in 2012 and 2016.
CULRC Lightweight Men had their 5th win in a row. The Lightweight Boat Races were moved from Henley to Dorney Lake due to flooding and high stream at Henley, and were raced in the snow!
For the women, the Blue Boat’s winning crew featured Imogen Grant who went from a novice at Cambridge to a three time Boat Race winner, World Champion and Tokyo Olympian. The boat was stroked by Olivia Coffey, a World Champion and Team USA Olympian in Tokyo.
“Being selected to cox for Cambridge was massive. I’d grown up watching the Boat Race and started rowing on the Thames at 14 (although quickly placed in the coxes seat when they realised I talked too much to row!). It sounds really cheesy, but being a part of the Boat Race was always a dream for me as I never thought I’d have the opportunity to study at Cambridge. When I got my place to do my masters, I knew I had to give it a shot and trial for the race.. and the rest is history!”
Every year is unique, especially for the people that take part, but 2018 was particularly special because it was the first time in 25 years that all six crews won.
“In our crew, we always had a calm and collected approach to the season, particularly in the run up to the race, it felt so easy and fun. I think this definitely came from Rob’s coaching style and approach and his confidence in us.”
2023 saw the 2018 Men’s and Women’s Blue Boats and Blondie crews celebrate their five year anniversary at the Boat Race Dinner on 26 March. There were celebrations the night before the race, and of course they watched the 2023 Boat Races together as well.
“This is the first reunion for the 2018 team which makes it feel very special, and it means a great deal, particularly because of the amount of travel and effort some are making for it. This really highlights the occasion. Members are flying from across the pond from the US, and also from around Europe, (France and Germany) for the reunion. It’ll be an awesome chance to catch up and reminisce about our times at CUWBC, both on and off the water.”
Amelia Perrin Blondie rowed for Blondie in 2018 and remembers:
“It was a real privilege to be selected for Blondie in 2018. I was so proud to be able to represent the Club and race Oxford on the Championship course. It was extremely exciting heading into race day, following all the hard work put in over the previous months with teammates. However, I was also conscious of the incredible support from alumni, coaches, volunteers, and my fellow teammates which really made the event special. I certainly made friends for life. The squad was so much fun, but also the focus and drive amongst everyone was really exciting.”
To celebrate their 5 year reunion, the Blondie crew supported the crews racing this year on 26 March on the Championship course.
“I cannot believe it has been 5 years since we raced, so it is incredible to get a number of the crew back together – especially given a number of people live abroad making catch ups difficult! It is also special to be able to see members from other crews and years all in one place.”