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  Saturday, 24 March, 2001, 13:50 GMT
Cambridge win dramatic Boat Race
Cambridge celebrate at the finishing line
Cambridge celebrate at the finishing line
Cambridge have won the 147th University Boat Race after beating arch rivals Oxford in an extraordinary clash on the River Thames.

Light Blues president Kieran West, who won the pre-race toss and elected to row from the Surrey station, led Cambridge to victory.

There was an incredible incident in the early stages as Cambridge rower Colin Swainson lost his oar in a clash just moments after the start.


I could have disqualified Oxford but both sides were responsible
Umpire Rupert Obholzer
It was deemed to have taken place in neutral water, so the race was restarted from that point with the boats level again and Cambridge emerged triumphant.

The umpire's decision

Their win avenges last year's defeat at the hands of Oxford, who had ended a seven-year losing streak.

From the point of the restart, Oxford were always struggling and they never looked like repeating their shock triumph in 2000.

Colin Swainson (right) loses his oar
Colin Swainson (right) loses his oar
Immediately after the race, Cambridge's bow man Swainson was delighted with the result, despite the early controversy involving his oar.

"It was just clashing. I wasn't looking at the blades and all I thought was 'just get it out of the water'," Swainson said.

"I was just trying to think clearly and get on with the job."

West was delighted with his crew's efforts.

"We just kept to the same system," said West.

"I thought there was going to be a disqualification, but we held on.


Both teams had a good row but we had good rhythm and pushed really hard
Kieran West, Cambridge president

"We came together in the middle of the race. Both teams had a good row but we had good rhythm and pushed really hard."

A jubilant cox

The man responsible for halting the race, umpire Rupert Obholzer, described how he felt events had unfolded at the beginning.

"It was a little unfortunate.The crews converged - I warned Oxford but the Cambridge bow man lost his blade," he explained.

"I could have disqualified Oxford but both sides were responsible.

"I felt, as the crews were level, restarting the race was the best thing to do."

Christian Cormack, the triumphant Cambridge cox said: "It was never going to be an orthodox race.

"We didn't get off to our best start but we won it on sheer determination."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Cambridge oarsman Colin Swainson
"I wasn't really looking at my blade and it must have caught the Oxford blade and gone under."
Boat Race umpire Rupert Obholzer
"I did feel that both parties were in some way responsible for it."
BBC Sport's Nick Mullins
"As the boats converged Cambridge almost lost an oar, up went the red flag."
Boat Race

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