Blades Of Glory?

The Varsity Boat Race is mired in controversy for the second year running, as early reports suggest foul play.

boat race Cambridge cheating nanotechnology Oxford Scandal superhydrophic trenton oldfield Varsity Boat Race

The Tab has uncovered a startling revelation surrounding the nature of Oxford’s win in yesterday’s Varsity Boat Race.

According to a reliable source that contacted The Tab late last night, the Oxford crew completed the race with oars coated in a substance that alters the physical interaction between oar and water at a molecular level.

This has the effect of repelling the water in a way that, in the source’s opinion, “directly breaches the rules stipulated by The British Rowing Association.”

The dark blues enjoyed a hard-fought victory over their Cambridge counterparts in bitterly cold conditions yesterday afternoon.

The heavier Oxford crew, rowing strongly from the off, built up an unassailable lead and crossed the finish line a length-and-a-third ahead of their opposition.

Hold it high: Alex Davidson holds the trophy aloft in triumph

The Oxford crew are believed to have used a special superhydrophobic compound, the nanostructure of which reduces friction with water by almost 100%. The coating repels water so powerfully that it literally drives it away. Thus, the force required to push the water back is drastically reduced.

Crucially, in the British Rowing Rules of Racing, it is directly stated: “no boat shall make use of any substance capable of modifying the natural properties of water to improve performance.” 

The British Rowing Rules of Racing specifically forbid the use of water-modifying substances

It is alleged that this is exactly what Oxford have done.

The Tab’s source, who currently does not wish to be named, has been an active member of the OUBC over the last two years, but was not selected to represent his university yesterday.

He added that after last year’s ignominious Boat Race defeat, preparations undertaken by the club were even more serious than usual. Furthermore, conversations between crewmembers and coaches quickly became “sinister” and the prevailing attitude of the crew was that Oxford must “win at any cost.”

“Sinister” conversations are said to have taken place

It has long been understood that Oxbridge teams will go to great lengths in order to ensure glory on the Thames. For the most part, the British Rowing Rules are vague with regards to equipment, but the boats used on the river are subject to rigorous internal testing.

However, both oars and blades (the tips of oars) have avoided such scrutiny. This latest development indicates that the push for excellence may have gone a step too far.

This is the second year in a row that the Varsity Boat Race has been mired in controversy. Trenton Oldfield’s very public demonstration in 2012 brought proceedings to a halt after he swam directly in front of the crews.

Upstart: Trenton Oldfield’s actions last year caused the race to be restarted

After the restart, an Oxford oar was damaged after coming into contact with the Cambridge boat, and the light blues went on to win comfortably.

Stay tuned for more details as we look into this extr-oar-dinary scandal.