29 March 2024

Harry Glenister hopes Oxford can turn the tide on Cambridge in Boat Race

29 March 2024

Harry Glenister hopes Oxford can turn the tide on recent Boat Race history to deliver what would be a “dream” triumph before the Great Britain veteran hangs up his oars.

The 28-year-old spent five years as a member of the GB senior rowing team, narrowly missing out on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics then sitting out the entire 2023 season with a back injury.

Cambridge have lost the men’s race just once in the last five years, winning last year’s edition by 1 1/3 lengths thanks to a risky move by their coxswain, but Boat Race debutant Glenister is confident Oxford have what it takes to come out on top in the 169th iteration of the gruelling men’s showdown.

Glenister told the PA news agency: “Winning this race would mean everything to me, just to finish with the sport, it’s a good end for me. Obviously very disappointed not to make Tokyo, but this would be as good for me if I could finish on a high.

“The Olympics is obviously bigger, but this is one of the biggest races in the world, so I would be very, very happy if I could get the win.

“It’s just such an awesome event. There’s so much great energy around it. Every rower wants to do this event.

“We’ve got a very strong team this year, we’ve got some dogs, very excited to see what we can do and turn the tide, try to stop this Cambridge dominance.”

Glenister, set to occupy the two seat in the dark blue boat, started out as a sculler, competing at junior and U23 levels, before transitioning to sweep rowing at the senior level.

His CV includes numerous World Cups and the 2019 European Championships, and was the first individual to be victorious in all three men’s quad events at Henley.

Glenister agrees his elite rowing experience will allow him to cultivate – and ideally pass on – the optimal competitive mindset come Saturday’s 3:46pm start time, but the Boat Race debutant says he is learning just as much from those at Oxford more familiar with the traditional, 6.8 km Championship Course.

There was little between the men’s rivals after their traditional weigh-in at the March 13th crew announcement,  with Oxford coming in at an average 92kg, just half a kilogram heavier than their Cambridge counterparts, with four-time Olympic champion Matthew Pinsent presiding as umpire.

Oxford will also be looking to snap Cambridge’s dominant six-year stretch in the 78th women’s race, this year umpired by Olympian Richard Phelps in what so far appear to be pleasant weather conditions, though teams will be taking numerous precautions after high levels of E.coli – which can cause serious infections – were found along the Championship Course.

Asked about the biggest differences between the Boat Race and his time in the GB setup, the MBA student immediately noted: “First I have to study! I’ve got six hours of classes a day and then rowing twice a day, which is not as much as the GB rowing team but still quite substantial.

“When I was racing for GB I was racing over 2k, this is over seven. It’s a lot longer and it’s a very different style of racing – who gets out ahead first. Whoever gets in front will win.

“You want to go really hard early. It’s go out hard and hang on, and hopefully you break the other crew. Who is the first person in each crew to break?

“The person that breaks is the one that’s going to lose, and the crew that breaks the other person is going to win. It’s a very exciting style of racing. I really enjoy it.

“I’ve been in big races, big moments, I know how to handle the pressure and I’m very used to it, so I can try to hopefully bring that confidence to the crew so we can get it done when it matters.”

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