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Boot Race: Oarsmen ready for rough water.

OXFORD and Cambridge can expect wild weather when they go head to head in the 154th Boat Race on the River Thames today.

South-westerly winds saw the crews battle choppy water in their final training outings yesterday with Cambridge coach Duncan Holland comparing the conditions to those that sank the Light Blues in 1978.

The latest forecast is that winds of 19mph, with 40mph gusts, will pose problems for the rival universities, who have totally new rowing line-ups from last year.

With this summer's Olympic Games attracting the international cream to Beijing, following a year in which an above average number of established oarsmen completed their educational cycles, the only one of this year's 16 rowers with experience in a Blue boat is Cambridge's Tom Edwards, who missed last year to concentrate on his studies after racing in 2005 and 2006.

The new-look line-ups, allied to the volatile conditions, make tomorrow's race an intriguing clash.

That combination means there will be added weight on the slender shoulders of the two non-rowing survivors from last year's race - coxes Rebecca Dowbiggin, of Cambridge, and Nick Brodie, of Oxford.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2008
Words:186
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