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Oxford Cambridge Boat Race: Man Charged
Police have charged a man with a public order offence after the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race was temporarily stopped by a swimmer who appeared to deliberately cross the path of rowers.
An Oxford crew member was also taken to hospital after collapsing in his boat and a team mate's oar snapped during a day of high drama on The Thames.
Trenton Oldfield, 35, narrowly avoided the blade of an Oxford oar as he swam into the path of the vessels between the two and three-mile marker while the university crews were neck and neck yesterday afternoon.
The 158th race was stopped for almost half an hour while the wetsuit-clad swimmer was pulled from the river and taken away on a police launch before being arrested.
Oldfield, of Myrdle Street, east London, was held in custody at Chiswick police station before being released on bail last night.
He will appear at Feltham Magistrates' Court on Monday April 23 charged with a Section Five offence under the Public Order Act, Scotland Yard said.
Cambridge powered on to victory following the restart of the historic competition, but not without further drama: a clash of oars led to Oxford crew member Hanno Wienhausen breaking his blade, allowing the Light Blues to pull clear.
Celebrations were then muted as Oxford bowman Alexander Woods was taken to hospital after collapsing in his boat after passing the finish line.
The 27-year-old Pembroke College student was later said to be in a stable condition.
Oldfield studied contemporary urbanism at the London School of Economics and has a website called Elitism Leads to Tyranny, which discusses civil disobedience tactics.
Karl Hudspith, president of the Oxford University Boat Club, blamed the swimmer for ruining his crew's big day.
He wrote on Twitter: "My team went through seven months of hell, this was the culmination of our careers and you took it from us.''
Umpire John Garrett said it was former rower and assistant umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent who spotted the swimmer in the water.
"I'm grateful to Matthew for having spotted the swimmer,'' he said. "He basically said, 'There's something in the water, there's something in the water'. He thought it was some debris and then we realised that it was actually a swimmer.
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