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Alizadeh retains seat for Cambridge

Cambridge University rower Dara Alizadeh

Bermudian Dara Alizadeh’s has retained his seat in the Cambridge men’s crew for the 165th Boat Race on the River Thames next month.

The 25-year-old became the first Bermudian male to compete in the annual race between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge last year, helping the Light Blues to a three-length victory.

Alizadeh, who was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, but grew up in Harrington Sound, will be joined in the Cambridge eight by James Cracknell, a two-times Olympic champion.

Cracknell, 46, is studying for a Masters in Philosophy at Peterhouse and will become the most decorated rower to compete in the annual race.

As part of his role as the Cambridge University Boat Club president, Alizadeh has been tasked with leading the squad and preparing them for their title defence on April 7.

“We’re confident in how we’re doing but it’s tough to say,” Alizadeh told the Varsity, the Cambridge University newspaper.

“The guys are working hard and we’re definitely feeling OK for where we are, but we know that there’s a long way to go. It’s complicated to find the fastest combination of guys.

“We have different metrics that we can use — rowing machine scores — to compare guys individually, but what makes a good crew isn’t just picking the strongest guys.

“It’s about picking a crew that develops a really good rhythm and just clicks and can work towards having a solid rhythm that is resilient — you’ve got to have some toughness in the boat.

“Luckily, we have a squad of guys who bring that toughness and now it’s just about developing that resilient rhythm that will hold us through the race”

Alizadeh won a silver medal in the eights for the United States Under-23 at the World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in 2015. He spent the season coaching rowing at Winchester College in England in 2017, and has also rowed for University of Pennsylvania.

Another Bermudian, Shelley Pearson, who represented the island at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, was part of Oxford’s winning team in the Newton Women’s Boat Race in 2015.