Oxford powered to a commanding victory in the University Boat Race in a fitting tribute to Olympic silver medallist and two-time winner Acer Nethercott.
Nethercott, who coxed Team GB to second in the men's eight at the 2008 Olympics, was just 35 when he tragically lost his life earlier this year to an aggressive form of brain cancer.
And naming their boat in honour of their former cox, who won the race in 2003 and 2005, proved inspirational as Oxford narrowed their deficit in the 159-race series to four, Cambridge's 81 wins to their 77 with one dead heat.
The Dark Blues included Constantine Louloudis, who won bronze in the Olympic eight last year, in their line-up and they soon took an early advantage, encouraged every stroke of the four miles, 374 yards course by cox Oskar Zorrilla.
"It was a heck of a race," said Louloudis.
"We fancied our chances but Cambridge made it very difficult for us, we had to push hard."
There was none of the controversy of last year's race, which was briefly stopped after a protester swum into the middle of the Thames.
Four-time Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent took over umpiring duties and will be relieved for a largely uneventful afternoon.
Cambridge president George Nash, who won bronze alongside Louloudis in London and was part of a winning Light Blue crew 12 months ago, admitted the best team won, although the winning time of 17 minutes and 27 seconds was well over a minute outside the 1998 record.
"Oxford put together a really fantastic race," said Nash.
"Eventually they put in one too many moves, they asked too many questions and we were just unable to come up with the goods.
"It is something that will replay in my head for the rest of my life. I am proud of the guys and what they have committed to over the last year. This is my final boat race."
© Sportsbeat 2013