Esther Coomber


Year of Birth 2001

Hometown Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire

Nationality British

College Magdalen College

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 1st

What are you studying? History

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I love how my history course encourages us to think widely and deeply about so many different topics, ranging from Medieval Britain to Spanish historiography. I particularly enjoy studying source material in detail and having the opportunity to debate and discuss this with our tutors.

Future ambitions? After university, I hope to pursue a career in law.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Doing both rowing and an intensive academic degree does come with time pressure challenges. However, by being organised and time efficient, it is manageable to combine both. For me, I find it helpful to plan my week ahead in terms of working time, deadlines and training.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing aged 13 after entering an inter-school ergo competition at Maidenhead Rowing Club.

What was your first club? My first club was Maidenhead Rowing Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? I love being on a team filled with such positive, encouraging and hard-working women. It is very inspiring to be around other athletes who also are so academically driven yet simultaneously committed to such a time consuming sport.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I learnt to row at Maidenhead Rowing Club from age 13. Then I rowed at Latymer Upper School for sixth form and I really loved being part of such a competitive junior team. My biggest achievement was being selected to row for the England junior team for the Home International Regatta in July 2019. I won gold medals in both the coxed four and the eight.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race so far has to be the coxed four at Home International Regatta. We won the race by 0.3 seconds having been behind the entire race. It was a race in which we really had to hold our nerve and trust in each other and our race plan in order to come through the finish line first.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? On race days, I always have the same breakfast of banana and porridge. Also, I like to make sure that we have a crew meeting before we boat to go over the race plan. Before the race, I have a glucose gel for a quick source of energy.

Your sporting idol? My sporting idol is Katherine Grainger because she is someone who, in her time as a GB rower, remained incredibly committed to the sport, attending five Olympic Games. I find it particularly inspiring that even after sporting disappointments, Grainger continued working towards her goal of an Olympic gold medal which she subsequently achieved in 2012. It is a lesson in commitment, drive and determination.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? I would choose to have Helen Glover in my crew because she is a two-time Olympic champion as well as being a very positive role model to women in sport.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Being with my team and knowing that it is difficult for everyone helps me to get through a tough session. I find that the toughest sessions help to unite the team and drive us to improve. Also, listening to a good playlist always helps.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? It is difficult to always be motivated, especially with Covid restrictions meaning that we can’t always train together. Therefore I try to have a routine to each day, planned around training and academics. Often we do training Zoom calls together. Whether it is for weights or ergos, I find this very motivating and a good way to feel like a team although we cannot train together in person. It is also motivating to know that everyone on the team is doing the same training as me and driving towards the same goal of winning the Boat Race.