Your correspondent Harry Quick completely misses the point I made regarding elitism and the disruption of the boat race. His confusion seems to lie between academic and financial elitism.

Oxford, and other high class universities, exist to create an academic elite and a centre of learning. To achieve and maintain standards requires the selection of the very best students. If financial assistance can be given to our brightest young people from poorer backgrounds – how very welcome is the Moritz donation – we will all benefit from fine minds. Certainly, academic standards should never be compromised, but nor should excellent candidates be frightened away by either cost or the thought that it's 'too posh'. I am not interested in making any university an instrument of social policy, but I am very interested in getting the best possible students.

The man who swam across the boat race had a very different agenda. He mistakenly believed that Oxford and Cambridge provide an education for the financial elite. Happily, he is way behind the times.