Next year the women’s race will take the same route as the men’s.
Two of Britain’s greatest sporting rivals are set to go head-to-head again on the Thames next week, but this year the women’s boat race also hit the headlines.
The women’s Blues from Oxford and Cambridge contested their race at Henley for the last time on Sunday, with Oxford continuing their domination of recent years.
Despite a strong start from Cambridge, the dark blues came back and held them off for a decisive victory by four lengths to mark their sixth win in the last seven years.
From next year, their race will be held on the same day as the men, and the same 7000m course which runs through Putney, Fulham, and Chiswick.
The move represents a major break from the tradition of the 185-year-old event, but organisers have been praised for bringing the race into the 21st century.
Oxford President Maxie Scheske told the BBC: “We’ve been working on a three-year plan following the announcement and we will definitely be ready to race next year.
“We are starting to see that and there’s a general trend towards parity. I’m thrilled that our club gets to be an integral part of that.”
Cambridge cox Esther Momcliovic added: “When people talk about the Boat Race, we want them to think of both genders.”
Women’s rowing received a huge boost after London 2012, with three crews all winning famous golds, and Newton investment group’s huge sponsorship deal with the women’s boat race has made a big impact.
In anticipation of the race’s 2015 televised debut, both clubs have invested in full-time coaches and equipment as they prepare to take on the Tideway’s winding course.
2014 victors Oxford were also the first crew to lift the new silver trophy, which was presented by Olympic gold medallist Sophie Hosking. It now matches the men’s silverware, and celebrates the sporting equality that the women will achieve when they move to the Tideway.
Women were famously jeered the first time they took to the river to compete in 1927, when the men didn’t believe women should be allowed to row, let alone race.
Now, excitement is already building ahead of next year’s event. Henley-upon-Thames gave the women’s boat race a fitting send off, and the women have shown their race can be every bit as professional and exciting as the men’s.
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