Sarah Winckless, the first woman to umpire the men’s Boat Race in its 166-year-history, believes other women will emulate her feat within the next decade.
Winckless, 47 - who earned bronze with Elise Laverick in the double sculls at the Athens 2004 Olympics and also won world quadruple sculls gold in 2005 and 2006 - officiated the race earlier this month as the University of Cambridge earned their 85th win over the Univerity of Oxford at the annual event, which took place on the Great Ouse at Ely in Cambridgeshire.
While she is likely to be playing more of a supporting role at next year’s Boat Races, Winckless is confident her achievement will not turn out to be a one-off.
"It’s a matter of developing the umpires panel and making sure we have more women who are eligible to do it," Winckless told insidethegames.
"At the moment it’s myself and Judith Packer, who umpired this year's Women's Boat Race.
"We are looking at the governance of the panel to see how we make it more accessible for new and different umpires, both men and women, to come in and take charge of the main races.
"That’s something we are working with Boris Rankov, the chair of the panel."
Asked if she felt that would mean that in the next 10 years other women can be expected to be umpire the men’s Boat Race, Winckless responded: "Correct - I would hope and expect so."
Winckless, who admitted that taking charge of the ancient race had been "a scary prospect", added that she had been relieved that her frequent calls to the Cambridge cox, Charlie Marcus, for steering too close to the rival boat were eventually heeded and she had no need to take more serious action.
"They got close, their blades were close at times, but we didn’t have a foul situation," she said.
"Every umpire or referee really wants to be facilitating the race or the game, not disqualifying.
"So clearly I was glad it didn’t get to that."
To read the full interview with Winckless and an account of other landmark achievements by female referees and umpires, click here for the Big Read.