Cambridge Win the 2021 Boat Races!

By Beth Taylor and Amy Rowe

Nine people in Cambridge Blue jackets standing on a stage and spraying champagne over each other

The past year has been a rollercoaster for us all. It’s not news to anyone that things have had to be done a little differently and the 2021 Boat Race was no exception. The frequently mentioned ‘historic move to Ely’ and the distinct lack of crowds on the banks made it an entirely different experience for the three Newnham rowers in the women’s boat this year. Each and every member of the full CUBC squad put in so much work and time into training for this race and they each deserve all the congratulations they received. 

You’d never think that taking up a new sport at university could lead to competing on a national stage, but for NCBC novice Adriana Perez Rotondo, this is exactly what happened. Just under 4 years ago, Adriana was recruited and taught to row just like any other novice. Little did she know where this would take her. Although we can’t claim credit for teaching Sarah Portsmouth and Caoimhe Dempsey to row, they still had the whole club behind them. We are incredibly grateful to be a part of their rowing careers and cannot wait to row with them someday when May Bumps can safely return.

NCBC is such a welcoming and friendly club and its members, past and present, feel a strong connection to anyone and anything even slightly linked to Newnham rowing. The community feel of NCBC shone through when the whole boat club was screaming at their screens, willing the Cambridge women, a third of whom were Newnhamites, to cross the line first…

And so they did! The women came in first, almost a length ahead of Oxford, leaving the overall record at 45 wins for Cambridge, 30 for Oxford. The immense sense of pride (and a bit of relief) was overwhelming, especially for the generation of members who have seen and been a part of the journeys these women have been through to get to the finish line. Considering it is only ever other student rowers who first teach novices to row, it is incredible to think that this can lead to them competing on a world stage – with a bit of coaching in between of course!

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