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Saturday, 20 July, 2002, 22:24 GMT 23:24 UK
West grows up on the river
The Great Britain eight in action at the 2001 World Championships in Lucerne
West (third left) in action in the Great Britain eight
Josh West has the distinction of being the tallest competitior in the history of the University Boat Race.

At 6ft 10ins, the 24-year-old was first in line for the little and large comedy shot ahead of the boat race with his cox, the diminuitive Eleanor Griggs, standing tall at a mere 5ft 5ins.

The pose is nothing new for West.

Alongside his Cambridge President, Tom Stallard, the geochemist will be competing in his fourth race.

But it is not only the annual clash on the Thames that West's frame casts a shadow over.

Cambridge's Eleanor Griggs and Josh West - the shortest and tallest competitors in the 2002 Boat Race
Griggs and West strike the pose
After helping the Light Blues to victory in last year's race - his second in three outings - he was selected for Great Britain.

West is now making waves on the international circuit - only seven years after taking up the sport as a freshman at Yale.

Despite being born in Santa Fe, he opted for Britain, courtesy of having dual nationality, and rowed at seven in the eight at the 2001 World Championships in Lucerne.

He also picked up some medals, a gold in Vienna and a bronze in Munich, that helped the crew win the overall World Cup title.

West will again vye for selection at the National Trials, but it is the Boat Race that remains his bread and butter for the time being at least.

"I take it very seriously," West explains of his commitment to the Light Blue boat.

"For most of the people, both the Oxford and Cambridge squads, both the Blue boat and the reserves, this becomes your life, for the year."

But for West that is no hardship as he is a self confessed rowing addict: "I like it it, it makes the time pass quickly!"


It gave me more confidence
West on rowing for GB
Commitment is the watchword of any university oarsman, and for West it is total.

His participation in the national eight means that he has not had a break from competitive rowing or full-on training for 18 months.

But such a schedule does have benefits.

"Physiologically I was training all the way through the summer so I'm a step ahead of where I would have been if I'd sat on the beach for the summer.

"Technically and psychologically I learned more about how to work with a boat. It gave me more confidence."

And the benefits work both ways.

The rigours of the winter regime ahead of the Boat Race mean that West should be in better shape than many other national triallists come April.

But March means the Boat Race and West has a fourth university win in his targets.

After his win in the Yale-Harvard equivalent, a hat-trick on the Thames would complete his University education on the river before he moves onto fresh challenges and the international circuit.

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