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Students Eye Glory As Scottish Boat Race Announces New Sponsor

Watermans comes on board as main sponsor of World’s third oldest boat race, which takes place on Saturday 23 May on River Clyde

Members of Edinburgh and Glasgow’s university boat clubs were sizing up the opposition yesterday as the two met to launch the 2015 Scottish Boat Race and announce the event’s new sponsor, Watermans Accident Claims and Care.

The Race, which first ran in 1877, will take place on Saturday 23 May in the Harbour area of the River Clyde and is the third oldest boat race in the world behind only the famous Oxbridge contest and Harvard-Yale Regatta in America. Crews will compete for the coveted trophy on the 2.6km route which runs from Broomielaw Quay to a grandstand finish at the Riverside Museum.

The deal with Watermans will see the accident and personal injury claim specialist become the event’s headline sponsor. The Scottish Boat Race, in association with Watermans, is the latest in a line of recent sports sponsorship ventures for the company, having already invested in a number of other activities including boxing, motorsport and football, among others.

Commenting on the new partnership, Scott Whyte, Managing Director at Watermans Accident Claims and Care, said: “It is a privilege for Watermans to support this historic fixture in Scotland’s sporting calendar. The fact that we have offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow means we can give our full backing to both teams and enjoy the intense but sporting rivalry between the two cities.

“This partnership also underlines our commitment to supporting up-and-coming Scottish sports stars, and complements our backing of amateur boxing champion Lewis Benson and rallying sensation John MacCrone.”

Having competed against one another for nearly 140 years, rivalry between the two universities is as fierce as ever with each club having enjoyed periods of sustained success over the years. This year, in the men’s event, Glasgow will looking to reclaim the title they won 13 years in a row before losing the past two races to a resurgent Edinburgh squad. Meanwhile, Edinburgh’s women will be keen to avenge last year’s shock defeat to their Glasgow counterparts.

Both clubs, since being established in 1867, have produced many world class sportsmen and women, including Katherine Grainger and Imogen Walsh, and this year’s races will include a number of athletes who have competed at national and international level.

On the day, there will be seven races in total, incorporating men’s and women’s events, with each team consisting of eight rowers and a cox. The overall event will run from 1pm until 4pm (first race at 1.30pm) and is free to attend.

Andy Barton, Director of Rowing, University of Glasgow, was a student at the University from 2007-2011 and he stroked the winning team at the Scottish Boat Race in his final race.

He said: “My dad was my coach when I was rowing so I certainly had a strong coaching background and learned from him - that made the transition easier. After studying sports science at university it is good to be able to use that knowledge and teach the rowers that come through, whether they’re new to the sport, or competing at GB level.

“Racing one crew against the other is what makes the boat race special. We race against each other throughout the season but this is the only time we truly go head-to-head. It makes for a unique race and that’s why the Scottish Boat Race has grown into such a huge event. It is without doubt the best day of the year to be a student rower as you get to be part of great tradition as it’s one of the oldest races in the world. For better or worse, it will be the race that defines our season!”

Colin Williamson, University of Edinburgh’s Head of Rowing, is also looking forward to another exciting day of racing. He said: “It’s a very traditional rivalry of East versus West so there is always a great deal of intensity. Our rowers are always judged on how well they do at the Scottish Boat Race, that’s the event people remember. Whatever has happened up until now during the season is irrelevant - this is the one the public take notice of. It certainly adds a bit of pressure!”

For more information visit the University of Glasgow Boat Race website or follow the Scottish Boat Race on Twitter @ScotBoatRace