LONDON (AP) — Oxford won the annual university Boat Race on Sunday, beating defending champion Cambridge by 1½ lengths to reverse last year's results.

With an estimated 250,000 people lining the banks of the River Thames in freezing conditions, the heavier Oxford crew featuring two Olympians from the 2012 London Games never trailed on the 4 1/4-mile course.

"It was fun, tough but that was what we expected," said Oskar Zorrilla, Oxford's Colombia-born American coxswain who was tossed into the river by the jubilant crew after the race. "We had a plan and we stuck to it ruthlessly."

It cut Cambridge's overall lead to 81-77 in one of England's oldest and most prestigious sporting events.

The event was calmer this year in southwest London. Last year, an Oxford crew member collapsed in his boat after the finish. Also, the race was disrupted by a protester who jumped into the water and swam between the boats.

Royal Marines were stationed in inflatable boats on the river this time to ensure there was no repeat of those extraordinary scenes.

"It's a bit different to last year," said Oxford six seat Karl Hudspith, who was competing in his third straight race and celebrating his 25th birthday. "A year ago, I was carrying my friend's body onto a stretcher.

"This was a real Boat Race."

Oxford had two Americans, a Canadian — two-time Olympian Malcolm Howard — and a New Zealander in the boat, which was 47 pounds heavier than the "Light Blues."