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Susan Brown – Oxford University’s First Female Cox

April 4th, 1981: Susan who was a third-year undergraduate reading biochemistry at Wadham College led the Oxford crew to an eight-length victory over Cambridge.”

Susan Brown, a 22-year-old biochemistry student from Honiton, Devon, would break a 152-year male monopoly of the University Boat Race on April 4, when she would cox Oxford against Cambridge. Miss Brown, who had been in the running ever since the previous autumn, when serious training began, became an odds-on favourite three weeks before when her chief rival, Adrian Rossiter, withdrew to concentrate on politics with the new Council for Social Democracy. Any doubts that might have remained were cleared up at the weekend when Oxford had much the better of two days racing on the Thames against London University, with Miss Brown coxing with great authority. As well as being the first woman in the race, she could have well been the lightest cox. She weighed 6st 5lb, was 5ft 3ins tall and was studying at Wadham College. She competed in the 1980 Olympics, coxing the British women’s four and also took part in the previous year’s women’s boat race. She was dwarfed by the rest of the crew who weighed an average 13 stone 6lbs and who were 3-1 on favourites to win on April 4.”

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