The 158th University boat race between Oxford and Cambridge Universities on the river Thames in London was disrupted and halted this afternoon by the presence of an unauthorised swimmer in the water near the Hammersmith bridge. Umpires stopped the race, and once the course was clear there was a floating restart in the open tideway.
Shortly after the restart, a clash of blades between the crews left the Oxford 'Dark Blues' #4 Hanno Wienhausen with a broken oar. The Umpire declined to stop the race for a second time, and the 'Light Blues' Cambridge crew went on to win the race with ease. The Oxford bowman Alex Woods collapsed immediately after the race and was transferred to the medical launch. The swimmer who was apparently a protester in a wetsuit was taken into custody by the police.
The historic boat race which dates back to 1829 is traditionally rowed upstream on a flood tide by eight men crews on the the first Saturday in April over a 4 mile course between the Putney and Chiswick bridges on the River Thames. There have been a number of dramatic finales in bygone years when one or other of the boats sank in rough water. In 1912 the race had to be re-run after both crews sank. Today's restart was the first since 2001 when the race was halted after a severe clash of blades.
The race is normally watched by a live audience of up to 250,000 standing on the banks of the Thames, and is televised live around the world to millions more.