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Four Yale Alums Set For The Boat Race

The four Bulldogs competing in The Race
The four Bulldogs competing in The Race

Three Class of 2018 Graduates To Sit In Cambridge Women's Eight In World Famous Event

The Boat Race, the famous rowing contest between the crews from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, will have a distinct Yale flavor this year. The men's and women's races are set for Sunday on the Thames River in London. There will be three former Yale women's rowers – Sophie Deans '18, Kate Horvat '18 and Lily Lindsay '18 - sitting in the Cambridge eight that faces its archrival over the grueling four-mile course. In addition, Gerard Kuenning '14, who rowed for the heavyweights at Yale, will sit in the No. 4 seat of the Cambridge reserve men's eight.

Deans, Horvat and Lindsay were classmates at Yale and are continuing their studies at Cambridge.

"I feel very privileged and excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Boat Race," said Deans, who is studying an MPhil in management at the Cambridge Judge Business School. "It is an iconic rowing event with a long history, and 2019 will be only the fifth women's boat race on the Tideway, which makes us even more grateful for the experience. Competing in the Boat Race represents taking part in one of the most challenging rowing events with unique characteristics that you only experience when racing the Championship Course."

Lindsay, who earned first team All-Ivy recognition and sat in the No. 2 seat of Yale's varsity eight last spring, will stroke the Cambridge eight.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be amongst the first women's crews to compete on par with the men in this particular event, as we are no doubt living through a pivotal moment in the storied tradition of the Boat Race," Lindsay said. "There is something very meaningful in being part of something bigger than yourself—it was true when we were rowing at Yale, and it is true here at Cambridge as well. It is truly empowering to compete for programs that have been so influential for the advancement of women in sport, and with that history comes a responsibility to contribute to the legacy going forward."

Lindsay, Deans and Horvat enjoyed great success rowing for the Bulldogs. Last spring, they helped Yale win the team points title at the Ivy League Championship and finish eighth at the NCAA Championship.

In addition to their racing success, all three rowers also were named Scholar Athletes by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association.

"I have no doubt that I am here because of the Yale women's crew program," said Horvat, who is studying planning, growth and regeneration in the Land Economy Department. "The YWC culture embraces very high athletic and academic standards meaning that as a YWC athlete I was expected to give my best every day both on and off the water. This previous level of rigor has made the Cambridge training program and academic expectation seem very manageable and has allowed me to concentrate on rowing well and doing all I can to prepare for the race."

Kuenning is taking part in the Cambridge-Oxford race for the second straight year.

"The Boat Race is, without a doubt, one of the most storied competitive events in the sport of rowing," he said. "To take part in a dual that has been going on since 1829, to be a part of that history, is an incredibly unique opportunity. To be sure, with that history comes pressure, helping build your sense of purpose with your training and further sharpen your desire to win. Taking part in the Boat Race 2018 is a tremendously treasured memory, and I look forward to more races to come.

Kuenning has had the unique opportunity to compete in two of the world's most famous races.

"I was able to participate in the Yale-Harvard Regatta, an event modeled after the Boat Race; in this way, I was given direct exposure to match racing over 2, 3, and 4 mile stretches of water in a way most other university rowers do not get to experience." 

The Women's Boat Race is set for 2:13 p.m. (9:13 a.m. EDT) on Sunday, while the Men's Boat race will get underway at 3:10 p.m. London time (10:10 a.m. EDT).

Video of the races will be available on YouTube.

Report filed by Tim Bennett (timothy.bennett@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publicity