Vancouver Islanders square off in England’s fabled Boat Race

Shawnigan Lake alum Richardson and Cambridge edge out Brentwood grad Barakso and Oxford

The Cambridge crew, including Shawnigan Lake School grad Quinten Richardson, celebrates beating Oxford in the 166th running of the Boat Race on Sunday, April 4. (Submitted)

The Cambridge crew, including Shawnigan Lake School grad Quinten Richardson, celebrates beating Oxford in the 166th running of the Boat Race on Sunday, April 4. (Submitted)

Quinten Richardson and Martin Barakso were destined to meet up on one of rowing’s biggest stages.

Both were decorated rowers at arch-rival high schools in the Cowichan Valley and went on to compete for Ivy League universities. This past weekend, they faced each other in one of the sport’s most storied events: the Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge in the U.K.

Richardson graduated from Shawnigan Lake School in 2010 and went on to earn a degree in urban studies at Brown University in Rhode Island. Barakso graduated from Brentwood College School in 2012, then earned his history degree at Princeton, in New Jersey.

On Sunday, April 4, Richardson was in the No. 4 seat for Cambridge and Barakso in the No. 3 seat for Oxford in the 166th official Boat Race.

RELATED: Island rower wins international gold in Poland

RELATED: Rowing decision makes waves across southern Vancouver Island

“It is quite extraordinary that two students from rival boarding schools here on Vancouver Island find themselves rowing against each other in this historic annual rowing race, watched across the world,” Shawnigan Head of School Richard Lamont commented. “Both are an inspiration to our current students as to where academics and sport can take you in life.”

Cambridge jumped off the line to surprise the favoured Oxford boat, and ended up winning by just under a length. It was Cambridge’s fourth victory in the last five races, improving their record to 85 wins overall, while Oxford has five, and the teams tied once. Cambridge also won the women’s race, their fourth in a row and 45th overall to Oxford’s 30.

The race usually takes place on the River Thames in London, but was moved to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was the first time since the Second World War that the teams competed on the Great Ouse.

Richardson, who is working on his MPhil in Planning, Grown and Regeneration at Cambridge, started rowing at Shawnigan, and was captain of men’s rowing in Grade 12. Although he was aware of the Boat Race from early in his career, thanks to a talk from an alumnus at Shawnigan, a lot of things had to go the right way for him to end up participating.

“I remember thinking about the Boat Race during high school and the idea was always there,” Richardson recalled in a statement released by Shawnigan. “The truth is, when you take up any sport, but in my experience, particularly rowing, it consumes so much of your time and your energy. And I’m passionate about my academic work. But looking back, rowing has really transformed my year in lockdown and I couldn’t be more thankful that I stuck with it.”

Richardson celebrated his 29th birthday the night before the race, and was the oldest rower in the Cambridge boat.

Barakso is working on his MSc at Oxford’s Latin American Centre. He got his start in the sport with the Nanaimo Rowing Club, a year before he went to Brentwood for Grade 9. He started rowing internationally in 2010, when he competed at the World Junior Championships, and has since represented Canada at the U23 and senior levels as well, collecting medals at the World U23 Championships, Pan American Games and World Cup.

This is the first time that products of Brentwood and Shawnigan have gone head-to-head in the Boat Race, one of the most prestigious competitions in rowing. As Brentwood rowing coach Brian Carr noted, only 16 athletes, from around the world, compete in the Boat Race each year, so it’s a remarkable achievement to be selected for one of the crews.

“Out of 16 kids, two are from our little Valley here, so that really says a lot about the strength of the programs in our area,” Carr noted.

Barakso is the fifth Brentwood grad to compete in the Boat Race, joining Michael Moran (Oxford 1977 and 1978), Morgan Crooks (Oxford 1999), Scott Frandsen (Oxford 2003), and Malcolm Howard (Oxford 2013 and 2014). Shawnigan grad Kip McDaniel, from Cobble Hill, rowed for Cambridge in 2006.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

cowichan valley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

A weekend of sunny skies may have Victoria breaking temperature records, according to an Environment Canada meteorologist. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Temperature records eyed for Victoria with sunny weekend forcast

Victoria hit the highest April 14 temperature since 1926 on Wednesday

Fire crews respond to the 3500-block of Blanshard Street in Saanich on April 16. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
UPDATED: BC Hydro crews repairing failed electrical equipment in Saanich

Vernon Avenue reopen to traffic following closure

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read