Image of From left, Seb Benzecry and Jenna Armstrong, Jesus students and Cambridge University Boat Club Presidents kiss the Boat Race trophies.Pic credit: Nordin Catic
From left, Seb Benzecry and Jenna Armstrong, Jesus students and Cambridge University Boat Club Presidents kiss the Boat Race trophies. Pic credit: Nordin Catic

Triumph for Cambridge in the Boat Race and Lightweight Boat Races

Cambridge have done the double in the Boat Race, winning both the Men’s and Women’s races in a thrilling day of action on the Thames.

At the helm were two Jesuans - Jenna Armstrong (2020) and Seb Benzecry (2020), the current presidents of CUBC, who rowed in their respective races.

Both Seb and Jenna were rowers on the 2023 winning boats and on the reserve boats in 2022. Seb was also in the winning crew in 2021, making this year his fourth Boat Race outing.

In the 78th Women’s Race, despite Oxford taking an early lead, Cambridge caught up and then overtook Oxford. Oxford cox Joe Gellett raised an appeal at the end of the race, arguing that the Cambridge boat had crossed their path, but after a discussion with umpire Richard Phelps the appeal was dismissed.

In the 169th Men’s Race, Cambridge took an early lead but slowed towards the end with stroke Matt Edge struggling, but with his teammates digging in they held on for what was in the end a comfortable victory.

Seb, who is studying for a PhD in Film and Screen Studies, said: “This season has been the most amazing season, it’s been challenging, we’ve pushed ourselves harder than any team I’ve been a part of before. We knew Oxford would pose a huge challenge this year to us, we knew we had to step on. I couldn’t be prouder of the ways the guys responded to that challenge, in a year when basically every single boat was an underdog.”

Jenna, who is in the fourth year of a PhD in Physiology researching the mitochondrial function of placentas, said she was almost pinching herself at the result.

“Our race plan was to go out and row our best race, go as fast as possible and hang on and wait for an opportunity to pop up - and that’s what we did.”

All in all it was a fantastic weekend for Cambridge, with the Light Blues dominating the results. Goldie won the Men’s Reserve race, with three Jesuans on board - Dane Halkiw (MPhil Management), Sean Hayes (PhD Architecture) and Joe Travis (BA Music).

Cambridge also won the Men’s Lightweight and Women’s Lightweight Boat Races on Friday, with Charlotte Macey, (BA History of Art) rowing in the winning women's crew.

Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice, who was watching her first Boat Race after joining in July last year, said it had been a fantastic weekend.

“It was brilliant, utterly brilliant – everything I expected and more,” she said. “This is my first time at the Boat Race obviously and I heard Oxford started as favourites so I didn’t expect Cambridge to come out ahead like this.

“I went out to see the Women’s Blue Boat training earlier this year and today I could see the fruits of the labour that they put in, going out every day at 5.30 in the morning – it’s incredible.”

This article is based on text originally published by the University of Cambridge on its website. It is reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License