THREE former Abingdon School oarsmen were this week named in the Oxford University’s predominantly British crew for the Boat Race on Sunday April 2, writes John Wiggins.

Brothers Ollie and Jamie Cook rowed in a strong Abingdon School eight in 2008 and 2010, while Vassilis Ragoussis was at stroke in their 2011 Henley-winning crew and now is in the same position for Oxford.

Jamie, the younger brother, has Boat Race experience, returning for his third Blue, while Ollie has followed a path with the Great Britain squad which has taken him to World Championship gold in the coxed pair.

Returning Blue and president of the men’s team, Michael diSanto, missed the 2016 race to compete for the US Olympic team.

The US right finished fourth in Rio behind the Dutch bronze medallists, who had Oxford’s giant No 6 Olivier Siegelaar aboard.

Joshua Bugajski, another returning Blue, is one of four from Keble College, while the other man with Boat Race experience is the former Cambridge losing Blue, William Warr.

Both Oxford crews are lighter and shorter than their Cambridge opposition.

The Dark Blues women are without Boat Race experience, having a completely new crew. Oxford’s Emily Cameron, at 34, the oldest of all the selected rowers shares the boat with the youngest, Alice Roberts.

Still only 18, Roberts attended Cheney School, Oxford, where she was first introduced to the sport with the Cheney Falcon Club at age 14 before competing for City of Oxford RC.

Coach Peter Haining recalls her “focus and fantastic work ethic” while Cheney headteacher, Jolie Kirby shares the school’s delight in seeing her “excelling on the water and in her studies”.


Men: Warr (bow, 94.2kg), O’Leary (74.8), O Cook (91.7), Bugaski (99.2), Siegelaar (101.2), DiSanto (89.9), J Cook (84), Ragoussis (stroke, 86.6), Collier (cox, 57.8).

Women: Pickles (bow, 60), Roberts (67.5), Esselstein (70.8), Te Water Naude (67.2), Austin (76.5), Laverack (75.3), Cameron (76), Hebert (stroke, 67.1), Shearer (cox, 46.9).

l More rowing: Page 109