My family have been watermen on the River Thames since 1671, firstly at Marlow and – since 1832 – at Walton-on-Thames, writes Mike Rosewell.

I was close to the action in my early years, seeing my grandfather and father called up at night to rescue people in bungalows above Walton Bridge.

But I can’t remember the flooding being as bad as it is now.

This could lead to London clubs excelling in the early events of the year, since the Tideway is generally rowable during flooded times.

It could also mean that the build-up towards the BNY Mellon Boat Race on Sunday, April 6, will not be unduly affected.

Both Oxford and Cambridge have underlined this by announcing their warm-up fixtures on the Boat Race course.

These serve a dual purpose – firstly, as a selection test for both universities against top British club and international opposition.

They also provide opportunities for the crews to get to know the course, practising routines, and racing the Surrey and Middlesex stations.

Cambridge will race against what are widely regarded as the two top British clubs, Leander and Molesey.

Oxford’s Blue Boat will also race against Leander. They will then follow their tradition of a race against a German Under 23 crew on March 8.


Sat March 1: Cambridge v Leander (12.45pm).

Sat March 8: Oxford v Geman Under 23 (4.45pm).

Sun March 16: Cambridge v Moseley (12.45pm).

Sat March 22: Oxford v Leander (4.10pm).

Sun March 23: Cambridge v tbc (4.45pm).