Oxford University coach Sean Bowden is backing his lighter crew to pack a big punch when they race Cambridge in the 160th Boat Race tomorrow (5.55pm).
Bowden’s crew possess three Olympians in Constantine Louloudis, Malcolm Howard and Storm Uru, but the Light Blues are more than 5lb heavier per man.
Oxford, however, remain favourites to retain the BNY Mellon Trophy they won by a length-and-a-third last year.
“The crew may be one of the smaller ones to come out of Oxford, but they have a terrific amount of power for their size,” said Bowden.
“They’re focused and row with an efficiency and fluidity when they’re at pace.
“Being smaller doesn’t usually work in rowing, so we may be at a disadvantage in a head wind, but we’re satisfied that the power they produce will be good enough.”
He added: “Preparations are going well, everyone’s in good health and good spirits.”
The Dark Blues are the older crew, which Bowden hopes they can use to their advantage.
“Being older in itself isn’t an advantage but what comes with it, is experience, especially Boat Race experience which is a positive advantage.
“The ability to make decisions along the way is always important in these long races.”
Oxford president Malcolm Howard relishes the history of the event, but is not letting this sidetrack his focus for tomorrow.
“Obviously we wouldn’t be part of this programme if we weren’t aware of the rivalry, so of course it feeds in,” he said.
“Of course we are aware of them, but I have always focused on what I have to do while knowing there is a crew over there that wants to beat me.”
The race will be shown live on BBC 1, with coverage starting at 4.30pm.
Bow: Storm Uru (Keble), 11st 9lb; 2: Tom Watson (Brasenose), 11st 8lb; 3: Karl Hudspith (St Peter’s), 14st 8lb; 4: Thomas Swartz (Christ Church), 12st 13lb; 5: Malcolm Howard (Oriel), 17st; 6: Michael Di Santo (Trinity), 14st 2lb; 7: Sam O’Connor (Christ Church), 14st; stroke: Constantine Louloudis (Trinity), 14st 9lb; cox: Laurence Harvey (St Hugh’s), 8st 11lb. Total weight (excluding cox): 113st.
Bow: Mike Thorp (Homerton), 14st 2lb; 2: Luke Juckett (St Edmund’s), 13st 3lb; 3: Ivo Dawkins (Gonville & Caius), 13st 12lb; 4: Steve Dudek (St Edmund’s), 15st 13lb; 5: Helge Gruetjen (Magdalene), 16st 1lb; 6: Matthew Jackson (St Edmund’s), 14st 7lb; 7: Joshua Hooper (St Edmund’s), 14st 7lb; stroke: Henry Hoffstot (Hughes Hall), 14st; cox: Ian Middleton (Queens’), 8st 10lb. Total weight (excluding cox): 116st 3lb.