sport

Oxford the lighter crew

Defending champions Oxford unveiled the lighter crew but one with plenty of experience at the weigh-in for the 160th Boat Race with Cambridge.

Three Olympians, including London 2012 bronze medallist Constantine Louloudis, filled the Dark Blue boat, which weighed in at an average of 89.7kg - and a 717.8kg total - for the April 6 event.

Not to be intimidated by conceding more than 2kg a man to their Light Blue opponents, Karl Hudspith, Oxford's third man and in his fourth successive Boat Race, sized up Ivo Dawkins by facing his opposite number as he stepped on to the scales.

"Everyone motivates themselves in different ways and Karl can be quite confrontational," London's Louloudis said.

The 20-year-old Dawkins was said to be unfazed.

Cambridge president Steve Dudek said: "Ivo is about as cool a customer as I could ever hope to row with."

Cambridge coach Steve Trapmore added: "It's all very well sizing people up, you've got to be able to back it up."

Cambridge are optimistic of responding from their 2013 loss and Dudek was referring to Dawkins and Helge Gruetjen when he added "there's a lot of freakish natural talent either side of me".

Trapmore is pleased with the composition of his crew as Cambridge bid to win after last tasting success in the controversial 2012 edition, which featured a restart following swimming protestor Trenton Oldfield's intervention.

"The team's come together really well," Trapmore added.

"There's nowhere near the depth of experience that Oxford have, but I'm always confident."

Louloudis is bidding for a hat-trick of wins with Oxford.

The 22-year-old stroke won the event in 2011 and 2013, taking a break in 2012 to focus on the Olympics.

"I'd love to get a third win, that'd be awesome," he added.

"We've got lots of guys in the boat who have done the job before but we can't rest on our laurels. Last year's race was really tough.

"You've got to shift your weight and I'm pretty confident we've got enough power in the boat to do the job."

Oxford president Malcolm Howard was the heaviest to weigh in at 108.2kg and was optimistic of a successful defence.

"I believe it would take a truly special crew to beat us," Howard said.

The women's race takes place on March 30 at Henley, pending a river inspection later this week following the adverse winter weather.

From 2015 the women's race will take place on the Thames on the same day as the men's, using the full 6.8km course.

Oxford coach Christine Wilson has had one eye on preparing for 2015, but if it was thought winning the final race over 2km was an additional incentive, it is irrelevant to those in Dark Blue boat.

Oxford president and third seat Maxie Scheske said: "We're feeling really strong at the moment. I'm feeling pretty confident that we've got what it takes.

"We don't really care about the format, we just want to win against Cambridge. That's what matters to us."

The women's teams were introduced before the men and, while 2013 winners Oxford were stony-faced and steely-eyed, Cambridge, an all-British crew, wore wide smiles and enjoyed the moment they stepped on to the scales.

Cambridge's Izzy Vyvyan, at 87.2kg, topped the scales, helping the Light Blues to a weight advantage of 4kg per woman.

Cambridge cox and president Esther Momcilovic said: "Why not smile? We don't see why we should look miserable.

"I've got absolute confidence in my team this year. They're a really powerful and strong unit.

"I haven't come away from today with any less confidence in the team that we've assembled.

"In 20 days' time, we're going to go out there and absolutely smash them."