On the fifth stroke into the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Race yesterday, Trinity student Imogen Grant let out a huge roar.
I could tell something had happened in the Oxford boat. Even after they recovered the crab we just kept moving. Crew always looks a lot closer than they are and the main thing going through my head was ‘it’s not over until you cross the finish line.’
When the light blues rowed convincingly to victory, on a sparkling day so different from 2016 – when the Cambridge women’s boat was almost engulfed in water – the crew had not only beaten Oxford for the first time in five years, but also made women’s history on the Tideway, with an 18.34 minute record.
Imogen paid tribute to her fellow crew members and women’s coach, Rob Baker.
When things fall in place it’s an incredible feeling to have such trust in a crew. I was actually worried I didn’t feel nervous, but we were just so excited to race. It’s a testament to our coach that we could feel happy and calm before executing the most important race of our lives.
The best part of the day after that, she said, ‘was watching Blondie cross the line even further ahead of their opposition, Osiris, 15 minutes later.’
Imogen, who raced to victory in the women’s reserve boat last year, must be hoping her winning streak continues. She has set her sights on the Under-23 World University Rowing Championships this summer.
So it’s back to the grind for me! I’ve got work to do and a project to finish, as well as training for U23 final trials in a couple of weeks. I hope to race in GB U23 Lightweight team at the World Championships this summer, which would be so exciting!
As a medical student, with another three years of study in Cambridge, Imogen acknowledges the challenges of combining studying and rowing. But she says, it’s all worth it when you win.
Rowing in amazing boats with people who love the sport as much as I do is the greatest feeling in the world. I’m excited to know that I have another three years of study in Cambridge to continue improving.