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Eight Oriel rowers selected for 2024 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

Eight rowers from Oriel College have been selected for the men’s and women’s Oxford University Boat Club squads. Four are to race against the best from Cambridge University Boat Club in the blue boats.

“The Boat Race is such an extraordinary event, so it’s a huge privilege to represent Oxford and be part of the race history,” says Claire Aitken, a DPhil in Cardiovascular Science student at Oriel College from Aberuthven, Scotland, in the women’s four seat.

“Representing Oxford in the women’s race is particularly special, because I really feel the legacy of the many strong and inspirational women that have rowed before us, and I hope to do them all proud on race day.”

Aitken also rowed for Oxford in the women’s blue boat in 2023.

The Boat Race is an annual event held on the River Thames in south-west London. Crews of eight from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge race one another along the Championship Course from Putney to Mortlake.

Today the race is one of the best known amateur sporting events globally.

In the men’s blue boat in 2024, William Denegri is the cox, Elliott Kemp is in the stroke seat and James Doran is in the four seat.

Denegri says he began rowing through his local comprehensive school aged thirteen and “quickly got addicted.” “At that point there was no going back.”

Chris Hull, one of the rowers in the Oxford’s 2024 men’s squad, is following in his father’s footsteps in representing Oriel College at the men’s squad.

His father, Richard Hull, raced in the historic 1987 Boat Race, when Oxford beat Cambridge after five experienced American oarsman were dropped from Oxford’s crew and replaced by the club’s reserves following disagreements with the coach.

Also in the men’s squad are Alex Abel, Isaac Throsby and Jackson Hardin.

Hardin recalls his first time rowing, aged sixteen, at his high school in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “I lied to the head coach, saying that I had experience rowing so that he would let me try out for the Varsity team. It went about as well as you would expect.”

The men’s captain of boats at Oriel College for the academic year starting October 2022, Abel says that his favourite rowing memory is retaining the men’s headship at Summer Eights. “The atmosphere was amazing with over 10,000 spectators.”

The 2024 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race takes place on Saturday 30 March. The 78th Women’s Boat Race starts at 2.46 pm. The 179th Men’s Boat Race starts at 3.56 pm.