Swimmer disrupts boat race

The annual University boat race had a dramatic interruption at halfway when a man jumped into the Thames to swim alongside the crews. The race had to be restarted after the swimmer was removed by police.

The drama continued once the race restarted. Oxford’s rower Hanno Wienhausen lost half of his oar when the boats came too close together. With Oxford effectively reduced to 7 oarsmen, Cambridge won the race by a comfortable margin.

There was still more drama after the finish. Oxford’s Alexander Woods required medical attention when he seemed to collapse, but was immediately examined by race doctors and was deemed OK.

The intruder, who had jumped into the river at the Surrey bend and swam between the boats, was the main talking point of the race. "I saw a head," the Cambridge oarsman Steve Dudek said afterwards. "I looked over and thought they had lost a guy. Our cox immediately said to stop."

Organisers restarted the race from Hammersmith Bridge. The Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent, one of the umpires, said: "It's not ideal but given those circumstances what could we do? Fortunately we spotted him and stopped the race."

The Cambridge president Dave Nelson was disturbed by the interruption. "With all the hoohah and the restart and the clash it was a pretty dramatic race," he said. "It was too-ing and fro-ing until the island then suddenly there was yelling about an obstruction and I saw a head between the crews. It's not the way anyone wants to take away the win."

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