LONDON In the world famous rowing event known simply as “The Boat Race,” it was an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania and former member of the Quakers’ lightweight rowing team that served as Oxford’s coxswain in the win over Cambridge.
In the 155th version of The Boat Race, Oxford trailed early, but held the lead down the stretch to win by 3 ½ lengths. It was the fourth time in the last five years in which Oxford defeated Cambridge, with Cambridge holding the all-time series lead, 79-75.
On Race Day, up to 250,000 spectators crowd the banks of the Thames from Putney to Mortlake to witness the action. This crowd included about eight former Penn lightweight rowers (former teammates Patrick Travers, Michael Guichon, Chris Storm, Matt Carey, Andrew Zech, Ben Cooley, Jon Tamblyn and Zack Arrick and freshman coach John Fife C'02), who were there to support Groshong.
Groshong graduated from the College in 2007. He coxed the 2008 Oxford Lightweight Blue Boat and the 2007 Oxford University Boat Club (OUBC) Trial Eights boat to victory. The San Francisco, Calif., native began coxing in 1999 at the San Francisco Pacific Rowing Club and came in third in the Intercollegiate (IRA) Championships Lightweight eights in 2005.
In September of each year a large group--often as many as 40 potential oarsmen and coxes--assemble at each of Oxford and Cambridge Universities hoping to prove their potential to win a seat on Race Day. Each member of the squad undertakes a grueling program of daily training throughout the year from September through April whilst juggling these commitments with their studies. To be part of a crew, an athlete has to be a student at either Oxford or Cambridge University. The Oxford crew training facility is part of the world-famous Iffley Road sports centre--where Sir Roger Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile.
On March 12, 1829, Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford and thus the tradition was born which has continued to the present day, where the loser of the previous year’s race challenges the opposition to a re-match. The Modern Boat Race still runs along the same lines but has now become a major international sporting occasion drawing millions of viewers from around the world.
For more information on Groshong, Oxford and The Boat Race, go to www.theboatrace.org.