FORMER Salisbury schoolboy Henry Pelly will be hoping to lead Cambridge University to victory today in the 155th Boat Race and erase the memories of last year's defeat by Oxford.
The 24-year-old was seated at three in last year's race and is one of five oarsmen returning to the Cambridge line-up for this year's contest.
Pelly, who is studying Environmental Design in Architecture at the university's St Edmund's College, is now president of the Light Blues and believes there are no weak links in his crew.
At the official crew announcement, he said: "We're really coming together as a unit. We're going to have to be quite a strong team and that's an important ethos of this year.
"Everyone's got to step up and improve themselves, but as a group it's really key."
Among the others returning to the race for Cambridge are Pete Marsland and Tom Ransley, who along with Pelly made up three-quarters of the team that triumphed in the Stewards Cup at Henley Royal Regatta last summer before representing Great Britain in the World Cup.
Born in Bromley, Kent, Pelly attended Winterbourne Gunner School before continuing his education at Eton College, where he took up rowing - initially to help improve his strength and fitness for playing rugby.
At Newcastle University, he won a gold medal in the Men's Doubles Sculls in the 2006 World University Rowing Championships which were held in Banyoles, Spain. He was also named British Universities' Male Athlete of the Year.
The 2009 Boat Race is the 155th to be staged and is likely to go down as the weightiest ever as the Oxford crew is the heaviest in the 180-year history of the event with Cambridge also fielding their heaviest ever crew.
Although the bookies are making Oxford odds-on favourites, Pelly hopes to cause an upset.
"I think it's very difficult to pick a weak link in our crew. You can't pick anyone and say 'he's not the same standard as everyone else.'
"There is no weak link, that's what makes it so strong."
Today's race, sponsored by Xchanging, starts at 3.40pm and is broadcast live on ITV, but will return to the BBC TV screens next year as part of a new five-year deal with the corporation.