2021 Blue Adriana Perez Rotondo reflects after the Race,
Cambridge University Boat Club’s Trial Eights race took place on calm waters on Thursday 6th
The crews, Woody and Buzz, named after Head Coach Paddy Ryan dogs, put on a
great performance resulting in a very tight race over the Championship course.
Umpire John Garrett (BB ‘84,’85) briefed the crews and completed the coin toss
earlier in the afternoon. Buzz (racing in white) won the toss and chose the Surrey station.
After a warm up in calm waters, the crews lined up on the start line at 14:35. After a clean
first 20 strokes, the boats drew closer together as the coxes fought for the fastest water. Just
before the Black Buoy, Dylan Whitaker, coxing “Woody” was warned before a decisive blade
clash. Woody, stroked by Sarah Portsmouth, came out of the clash three quarters
of a length up.
At the Mile Post, “Woody” opened up the gap to almost a length, but “Buzz”, stroked by
returning Blue Caoimhe Dempsey and coxed by Jasper Parish, didn’t yield. By
Hammersmith, “Buzz” closed the gap to a third of a length. “Woody” did not cede their
advantage, putting in a strong move at St Paul’s and pulled out to a length’s lead.
Approaching Barnes, both boats were warned to return to their stations as they had moved
across the middle line. Under the bridge, “Buzz” found another gear and started quickly
gaining on “Woody”, closing the gap to a third of a length. “Woody” responded
accordingly and put on a final sprint to cross the finish line just under a length ahead of
After this tight race, President Bronya Sykes reflected: “Both crews were really pushed to the
limit in the race today. “Buzz” didn’t let us (Woody) get away with anything, exactly the kind of
race we wanted. I’m very proud of the squad today, and looking forward to the next 3 months
before the Boat Race”.
The 2021 Trial Races were a great opportunity for the squad to race on the Championship
course and delivered the always anticipated excitement of racing on the Tideway, bringing
clashes and impressive performances from both crews.