Oxford’s Karl Hudspith has blasted the swimmer who stopped the Boat Race, saying he ruined the highpoint of the crew’s careers as Cambridge took victory following a restart.
Trenton Oldfield, who has a website called ‘Elitism Leads to Tyranny’, swam between the crews just after the race passed the half-way point in Chiswick.
“To Trenton Oldfield; my team went through seven months of hell, this was the culmination of our careers and you took it from us,” said Hudspith, the Oxford president, on Twitter.
Oldfield publicised his intention to disrupt the race on his website in a wide-ranging rant, which said: “Most standing alongside the Thames today are in fact the pumped-up though obedient administrators, managers, promoters, politicians and enforcers; functional, strategic and aspirational elites.”
A day full of drama saw the crews neck and neck before the swimmer was spotted by the assistant umpire, Olympic hero Sir Matthew Pinsent.
After a restart, the crews clashed and an Oxford blade broke, but umpire John Garrett ruled the dark blues were to blame for the incident.
Bow man Alex Woods collapsed after the finish but was reported to be in a stable condition at Charing Cross Hospital.
Hudspith, who was born in Hammersmith and grew up in Twickenham, paid tribute to his crew.
“I’m proud of everyone in the team and how they rowed. They were a credit to themselves and their university,” he added.
“We held them around the outside of their bend and into the head wind and had got back level before race stopped.”
The Boat Race has only been re-started mid-race once before, after a serious clash of blades in 2001. Following cruisers made water conditions worse, creating wash that makes boats difficult to steer.
And more controversy was to come after the second start, when Oxford moved towards Cambridge then a clash saw German international Hanno Wienhausen break his blade.
The crew rowed on with seven men but could not keep pace with Cambridge, who won by 13 seconds.
Straight after the finish, Oxford’s cox Zoe de Toledo appealed for a re-row, saying “There was so much wash I could not move as fast as I wanted to.”
But the umpire said: “The rules state clearly that crews have to abide by their accidents, unless one of the crews has caused that accident.
“In the immediate run-up to the clash I was warning Oxford. Cambridge were in the right position so I was content to let the race continue and the result stand.”
See also: Cambridge win dramatic Boat Race