Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-boat-race-2024:-oxford-captain-lenny-jenkins-blames-e.coli-for-dramatic-defeat-as-he-says-he-vomited-before-the-start-–-as-cambridge-rower-matt-edge-collapses-in-boat-yards-from-the-finishAlert – Boat Race 2024: Oxford captain Lenny Jenkins blames E.Coli for dramatic defeat as he says he vomited before the start – as Cambridge rower Matt Edge collapses in boat yards from the finish

Oxford rowing team captain Lenny Jenkins has blamed E.coli in the water for their defeat against Cambridge in today’s boat race, saying he was vomiting before the start of dramatic showdown.

Both Cambridge teams won the men and women’s races today after going head to head with Oxford as they battled down the River Thames.

Despite congratulating his rivals on their win, the Oxford captain claimed the E.coli in the water affected their performance.

This comes after a tense race to the finish line, which saw Cambridge’s Matt Edge collapsed in their boat as they made their approach for the win.

With spit dangling from his chin, his crew managed to get him over the finish line and bag the win with a fairly large lead.

Following the brutal race, leader of the losing side – Jenkins – revealed that several members of their squad had been impacted by E.coli.

Oxford team captain Lenny Jenkins (pictured) has blamed E.coli in the water for their defeat against Cambridge, saying he was vomiting before the start of dramatic showdown

Oxford team captain Lenny Jenkins (pictured) has blamed E.coli in the water for their defeat against Cambridge, saying he was vomiting before the start of dramatic showdown 

After congratulating the winning squad the Oxford captain said his teammates were affected by the E.coli in the water

After congratulating the winning squad the Oxford captain said his teammates were affected by the E.coli in the water 

He told the BBC: 'This morning I was throwing up and I really wasn¿t sure there was going to be a chance for me to be in the boat, but I ultimately kept that quiet and that¿s on my shoulders' (pictured: Cambridge squad)

He told the BBC: ‘This morning I was throwing up and I really wasn’t sure there was going to be a chance for me to be in the boat, but I ultimately kept that quiet and that’s on my shoulders’ (pictured: Cambridge squad)

Cambridge men were ecstatic following their win, which meant both their men and women's squads walked away victorious

Cambridge men were ecstatic following their win, which meant both their men and women’s squads walked away victorious

Fans were on the edge of their seats as they watched the dramatic run-up to the finish line between the two men's squads

Fans were on the edge of their seats as they watched the dramatic run-up to the finish line between the two men’s squads

He told the BBC: ‘I will also say, and this is in no way to take away from Cambridge, but we have had a few guys go down pretty badly with the E.coli strain.

‘This morning I was throwing up and I really wasn’t sure there was going to be a chance for me to be in the boat, but I ultimately kept that quiet and that’s on my shoulders.

‘I’m not sure if that was the right choice because I really didn’t feel like I had much to give in that, but you know it would have been taking one of the top guys out of Isis and ruining their chances so I felt like we needed to give them a fair fight.

‘But yeah it would have been ideal not to have so much poo in the water but that’s not to take away from Cambridge.

‘They’re a talented crew and I don’t know if we’d have had a chance to get them even if we had been on form, it’s in no way to make excuses.’

This comes after the racers from the UK’s top universities gently rowed along the river in Putney as they prepared to go head-on in their annual heart-racing battle this morning. 

16 tests around Hammersmith Bridge in west London indicated an average of 2,869 E.coli colony forming units (CFU) per 100ml of water.

The E.coli level should be below 1,000 CFU per 100ml to fall in line with the Environment Agency’s inland bathing water quality standards.

Action Water said the E.coli recorded in the Thames River its highest ever levels, with Government advice indicating people should avoid bathing in the water

Action Water said the E.coli recorded in the Thames River its highest ever levels, with Government advice indicating people should avoid bathing in the water

Cambridge women were delighted to win for the seventh time in a row against Oxford

Cambridge women were delighted to win for the seventh time in a row against Oxford

Cambridge women have won the historic boat race against Oxford for the seventh time in a row

Cambridge women have won the historic boat race against Oxford for the seventh time in a row

River Action said the highest level it recorded was 9,801 CFU per 100ml, meaning it was nearly 10 times higher than levels found in bathing waters graded as ‘poor’ by Environment Agency standards.

Government advice indicates that people should avoid being submerged in a water of this grade – which is the lowest. 

It is believed the pollution in the river is from Thames water discharging sewage straight into the river, according to River Action.

This is based on publicly available data which showed that the water company had discharged sewage into the Greater London area of the River Thames for 1,914 hours from the start of 2024 up to March 26. This is equivalent to 79 out of the 85 days.

Following the findings, both British Rowing and River Action released new guidance for rowing clubs dotted throughout the UK on how they can safely row in polluted bodies of water. 

This advice has been included in the Gemini Boat Race briefing packs to both universities.

Rowers are advised on the importance of covering cuts, grazes and blisters with waterproof dressings, taking care not to swallow river water that splashes close to the mouth, wearing suitable footwear when launching or recovering a boat, and cleaning all equipment thoroughly.

Thames Water leaked raw sewage from two nearby sewage overflows for around six hours between them just yesterday.

Jews Row Pumping Station, less than one mile east from the Oxbridge Boat Race startline, spewed untreated sewage for four hours and 16 minutes yesterday.

And the storm overflow at Bell Lane Creek, which is connected to the Thames just 300 yards south of Jews Row, also leaked for around 45 minutes yesterday morning.

River Action chief executive James Wallace said: ‘We are in a tragic situation when elite athletes are issued with health guidance ahead of a historic race on the capital’s river.

‘Our water quality results show what happens after decades of neglect by an unregulated water company, Thames Water.’

Oxford President James Doran (right) won the coin toss, and chose to race on the Surrey side, meaning Cambridge will take Middlesex (left: Cambridge Men's President Sebastian Benzecry)

Oxford President James Doran (right) won the coin toss, and chose to race on the Surrey side, meaning Cambridge will take Middlesex (left: Cambridge Men’s President Sebastian Benzecry)

Huge crowds flocked at the 169th annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge University on the River Thames

Huge crowds flocked at the 169th annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge University on the River Thames

Fans stand in anticipation as the women prepared for their coin toss (pictured)

Fans stand in anticipation as the women prepared for their coin toss (pictured)

Cambridge came out victorious in the women's coin toss and chose Middlesex, meaning Oxford's female team will take to the Middlesex station (pictured left right: Cambridge Women's President Jenna Armstrong and Oxford Women's President Ella Stadler)

Cambridge came out victorious in the women’s coin toss and chose Middlesex, meaning Oxford’s female team will take to the Middlesex station (pictured left right: Cambridge Women’s President Jenna Armstrong and Oxford Women’s President Ella Stadler)

Conservationists, rowers and communities alike are teaming up to urge the Government to enforce the law and ensure polluters face legal punishment.

‘Everyone should be able to enjoy our rivers and seas without risking their health,’ Mr Wallace said

Scientists urged them to ‘take care not to swallow river water’ and to cover any cuts to avoid serious infection from the river.

The bacteria, which can cause serious infections, was discovered during regular testing by River Action and the Fulham Reach Boat Club between February 28 and March 26, using a World Health Organisation-verified E.coli analyser. 

This comes after a dramatic women’s race saw Cambridge women bag their seventh consecutive win in the historic boat race after Oxford attempted to get them disqualified.

The dramatic race saw the two female squads clash in the E.coli-ridden waters of the Thames today as they went head to head for the illustrious title.

The Cambridge team had to anxiously wait for the umpire to make a decision after Oxford’s cox complained their rivals were in their water when the two boats smacked together.

Following a fiery discussion between the cox and umpire, a VAR-style replay of the dramatic incident showed the sports official made the right call, with Oxford’s appeal dismissed.

Oxford men won the highly-anticipated coin toss and chose Surrey ahead of their race, leaving Cambridge to race on Middlesex, as thousands flocked to the river in anticipation for the sporting battle.

The women's dramatic race saw them clash in the murky waters as they battled it out for the illustrious title (pictured: crowds cheering on Oxford team)

The women’s dramatic race saw them clash in the murky waters as they battled it out for the illustrious title (pictured: crowds cheering on Oxford team)

Following an anxious wait for the VAR replay, the umpire confirmed the race result stood despite Oxford's appeal

Following an anxious wait for the VAR replay, the umpire confirmed the race result stood despite Oxford’s appeal

Showing good sportsmanship, the two firmly shook hands before the coin toss would decide what side their teams would race on

Showing good sportsmanship, the two firmly shook hands before the coin toss would decide what side their teams would race on

Claire Balding has began presenting just before the world-famous boat race kicks-off (pictured)

Claire Balding has began presenting just before the world-famous boat race kicks-off (pictured)

Oxford and Cambridge rowers train on the E.coli ridden Thames as they prepared to go head-to-head in their annual historic boat race (pictured)

 The president of the two elite teams shook hands before the highly-anticipated coin toss (pictured)

E.coli concerns and winning the illustrious title won't be the only thing on Oxford athletes mind as their training has been impacted by flooding for the last six months

E.coli concerns and winning the illustrious title won’t be the only thing on Oxford athletes mind as their training has been impacted by flooding for the last six months

Unlike Cambridge, who have been able to paddle to their heart's content in dry training base in Ely, East Anglia, Oxford base has been impacted by wet weather for the last six months

Unlike Cambridge, who have been able to paddle to their heart’s content in dry training base in Ely, East Anglia, Oxford base has been impacted by wet weather for the last six months 

The Oxford team had to travel an hour to Reading for training - nearly double the 30 minute journey to their Wallingford base which has seen floods submerge their boathouse in a metre of water

The Oxford team had to travel an hour to Reading for training – nearly double the 30 minute journey to their Wallingford base which has seen floods submerge their boathouse in a metre of water

Unlike Cambridge, who have been able to paddle to their heart’s content in dry training base in Ely, East Anglia, Oxford revealed prior to the showdown that their base had been impacted by wet weather for the last six months. 

‘The weather has been pretty terrible this year,’ Oxford rower Harry Glenister told The Telegraph: ‘Cambridge think that’s a disadvantage for us.’

He added: ‘Because Cambridge can row on any conditions. At Wallingford we can’t actually row so we had to go to Caversham.’

The base of British Rowing is located in the sleepy Reading suburb of Caversham is over an hour drive for the Oxford athletes – in comparison to the 30 or 40 minute drive to Wallingford.

‘I wouldn’t say it’s not a problem,’ Oxford coach Sean Bowden told Telegraph Sport. 

‘It’s another hour on the bus per day, so that’s time that puts them [the crew] under pressure for studying, recovery.’

This comes after scientists urged rowers to 'take care not to swallow river water' and to cover any cuts to avoid serious infection from the Thames river due to high levels of E.coli (pictured: Thames at low tide in Putney, London)

This comes after scientists urged rowers to ‘take care not to swallow river water’ and to cover any cuts to avoid serious infection from the Thames river due to high levels of E.coli (pictured: Thames at low tide in Putney, London)

It is believed the pollution in the river is from Thames water discharging sewage straight into the river, according to River Action (pictured: Thames at low tide in Putney, London)

It is believed the pollution in the river is from Thames water discharging sewage straight into the river, according to River Action (pictured: Thames at low tide in Putney, London)

Explaining the river conditions had been bad for the last two years, the coach divulged that their Wallingford boathouse was submerged a metre-deep in water due to floods.

When the river eventually unflooded it froze over, according to the coach who has been with the Oxford team in various roles since 1993. 

He said at times it felt like the team was being ‘thwarted’ by the soggy weather conditions.

Oxford’s difficult journey to the historic rowing race comes after scientists warned all the rowers to be mindful of high levels of E-coli detected in the stretch of river used for the world-famous boat race.