Man charged over Boat Race swimmer disruption

The 158th Boat Race is brought to a halt by the Thames swimmer

A man has been charged after a swimmer interrupted the 158th University Boat Race.

The Oxford and Cambridge boats were side by side after 10 minutes and 30 seconds when the race was stopped.

After 31 minutes the race was re-started. Cambridge went on to win after Oxford broke an oar.

Trenton Oldfield, 35, of Whitechapel, east London, will appear at Feltham Magistrates' Court on 23 April charged under the Public Order Act.

Start Quote

This was the culmination of our careers and you took it from us”

End Quote Karl Hudspith Oxford University Boat Club

Mr Oldfield, of Myrdle Street, was released on bail after being held in custody.

Ahead of the race, he wrote in a blog entitled "Elitism leads to tyranny" that he hoped to cause "embarrassment and confusion".

The blog read: "This is a protest, an act of civil disobedience.

"I am swimming into the boats in the hope I can stop them from completing the race."

After the incident Karl Hudspith, president of the Oxford University Boat Club, wrote on Twitter: "To Trenton Oldfiled (sic); my team went through seven months of hell, this was the culmination of our careers and you took it from us."

Race umpire John Garrett halted the race after his assistant, the four-time Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent, spotted a man in the water just after the crews had passed Chiswick Steps.

Rower 'doing well'

When the race re-started, an oar in the Oxford boat broke and Cambridge went on to win.

Oxford rower Alex Woods collapsed at the finish line and was taken to Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham. He is said to be doing well and is expected to make a full recovery.

The traditional post-race presentation ceremony was abandoned out of respect for Mr Woods.

The last time the race had to be restarted was in 2001 when there was a clash of blades.

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