Final race for P.E.I. rower Emily Cameron ends in heartbreak

Emily Cameron's team lost when a member's oar got caught in the water — known as 'catching a crab — at the start of the race, setting the team back for the rest of the race.

Cameron was competing for Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge boat race on Sunday

Emily Cameron, of Summerside, P.E.I., poses for an official photo before competing in the famous Oxford-Cambridge race known simply as The Boat Race. (The Boat Races/Twitter)

P.E.I. rowers were cheering on Summerside's Emily Cameron as she competed with the women's Oxford rowing team in the prestigious Oxford-Cambridge boat race Sunday.

The team lost when a member's oar got caught in the water — known as 'catching a crab — at the start of the race, setting the team back for the rest of the race. 

"If you don't get going really fast, it takes a lot of energy to get right back in the race," said Daphne Dumont, a member of the Rowing P.E.I. and Oxford graduate.

The Oxford-Cambridge boat races are nationally televised events, with about 250,000 spectators watching the annual men's and women's race. 

Emily Cameron and her teammates are shown training for the Oxford-Cambridge race. (OUWBC/Twitter)

The race is a grueling 20 minutes along the Thames River, with rowers having to oar their way through rough waters and large bends.

Dumont said Oxford's loss will be particularly hard for Cameron, as this was the last race of the 34-year-old's career.

"Right now, she must be thinking I'm very disappointed," said Dumont. "But not many women in the world have competed in this race."

'I hope she's proud'

Cameron is the first Island woman to compete in the boat race, and is perhaps the first Islander ever.

Dumont said it's "astonishing" for anyone to be able to compete in the race.

Rowing P.E.I. board member Lea Bryden anxiously looks on as the Oxford-Cambridge boat race gets underway. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"I hope she's proud and I hope she knows we're proud of her too."

Dumont said she was able to speak with Cameron a few days before the race and said she was prepared for the challenge.

"She said 'Cambridge is going to be really tough, but I'm really happy to be doing this."

"For this to be her last race is a celebration of someone who is truly all rounded in many ways," said Lea Bryden, board member of Rowing P.E.I.Bryden.