Cambridge, Oxford And A Race For Water Supremacy Saturday was the annual showdown between Cambridge and Oxford universities on the River Thames. Vicki Barker has the results from the historic boat race.

Cambridge, Oxford And A Race For Water Supremacy

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The annual Oxford-Cambridge University boat race took place in London yesterday. And reporter Vicki Barker was one of those throwing a party along the race route. For boat race party-throwers and the oarsmen themselves, the day unfolds with military precision - or at least it's supposed to. Vicki Barker has more.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: The man duck saw that something needed to be done...

VICKI BARKER, BYLINE: Kitchen, 11 A.M.: boat race minus three hours and fifteen minutes. Preparations begin. Right, tea sandwich - white bread that you've taken a rolling pin to so it gets thinned a little bit. Butter. Apply smoked salmon. Scissor or tear some dill. Slice off the crusts. Make two diagonal slices to make four tea sandwiches. Done. 11:45 A.M.:


BARKER: Ice poured into ice buckets. 1:05 P.M.: guests arrive.

CHARLES KINGSMILL: My name is Charles, Charles Kingsmill. Lovely to be here at this lovely party to celebrate the forthcoming victory by Oxford this afternoon in the boat race.

JANE: I'm Jane, and clearly Cambridge is going to win.

BARKER: I see. So, this is one of those mixed marriages.

JANE: Yes, yes, yes.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: And the 158th boat race is underway.

BARKER: 2:15 p.m.: Zero hour. Guests run out into the riverside garden as the boats, led by Oxford, surge by.


BARKER: Then run back to watch the rest on TV. But the race has been stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Because somebody swam across the river to stop the race.



UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: This is unheard of. Shocking stuff.

BARKER: The aquatic protester removed, the race eventually restarts, then...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Oh, he's lost an oar.

BARKER: ...disaster for the Oxford men, as the umpire refuses to halt the race.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's victory for Cambridge. Victory...

BARKER: Oxford's ordeal isn't over yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Some guy just went unconscious in the back of the boat and then they lifted him out (unintelligible).

BARKER: 4:00 P.M.: the ailing Oxford oarsman is held for observation overnight. The post-race award ceremony is cancelled and party guest Patrick Howse is philosophical about the chaos that's come to a British sporting icon.

PATRICK HOWSE: I think we just sort of accept this sort of thing as an inevitable consequence of being English, really.

BARKER: Or, as the English are fond of saying: mustn't grumble.


BARKER: For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker in London.


MARTIN: This is NPR News.

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