A member of the Oxford Women's Boat Race team says she is looking forward to starting the race near the Thames’ new ‘super sewer’ as much as she is to having the chance of breaking a six-year winless stretch for Oxford’s women.

Annie Sharp, an MSc water science, policy and management student at St Antony’s College, is looking forward to starting by the £4.5 billion Thames Tideway Tunnel, which had its final piece lifted into place this week.

The tunnel's completion coincides with Oxford’s bid to win the women’s Boat Race for the first time since work began on the sewer in 2016.

Oxford Mail: The ‘super sewer' was completed this weekThe ‘super sewer' was completed this week (Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ms Sharp said: "We are working with water and unfortunately against it sometimes with the flooding that we’ve had at Wallingford this year.

"I’m a massive water advocate, and (for) the energy that we can also get back from renewable energy.

"British Rowing released their environment and sustainability programme (this month), some of the athletes are leading programmes and pushing for athletes to be more involved.

"I think absolutely, as role models they are massive for people trying to learn how to row and progress, so them using that platform I think is super important.

"Ultimately we all need to do our bit, but you do need the top-down approaches that really lead those decisions."

Rowers have received safety guidance, including tips surrounding cleanliness and not swallowing river water, due to the high levels of E coli found along the Championship Course.

The 25 km main tunnel of the sewer is expected to "almost completely" reduce "tens of millions of tonnes of storm sewage" making its way into the Thames each year by its full opening in 2025.

British Rowing will soon announce a funding programme to encourage clubs to test their water, clean up litter and battle invasive species.

This forms part of their commitment to improving the state of England and Northern Ireland’s rivers - none of which were found to be in ‘good overall health’ according to a recent report from The Rivers Trust.

Imogen Grant, an Olympian, a two-time Boat Race victor for Cambridge and advocate for sustainability within her sport, said: "We spend three or four hours out on the water every single day.

"I’ve been rowing for nine years now and I’ve seen the impact of the climate on the rivers during that time.

"Something like the climate crisis can feel so overwhelming, but rowers, we know water, we know wind, we know that space, so starting with change there is a really great way to empower people."