Emma Lepinay


Year of Birth 1999

Hometown London

Nationality French

College University College

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 4th

What are you studying? Mathematics

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I think it’s a tough balance between thoroughly planning your week ahead while also being realistic about what you can achieve with your time. You have to prioritise your academic obligations as well as rowing and that might mean saying no to other things. I think it helps to focus on the long-term goals you are trying to reach when making those sacrifices.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started in my first year at Oxford (2017). At first it was a good way to meet new people but it soon became a great excuse to focus on something other than work for a little bit each day. The people who rowed for Univ were so welcoming and friendly, that I immediately wanted to become a part of the team.

What was your first club? University College Boat Club (Oxford).

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? It has been amazing to be able to row with some incredible athletes and to have access to such a great supporting team. The people that I have met through OUW have been so inspiring and friendly, it has really made this whole season super fun. I think another part of this has been to see how much I can push myself and how fast we can all improve both physically and mentally. I have really enjoyed being around people who want to win and are focused on the same goal.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? Since I only started three years ago my rowing history is very short. I was in my college’s 1st VIII for all three years, boat club women’s captain in my 2nd year and treasurer in my third year. During the summer of my 2nd year I rowed with Globe Rowing Club in London and the summer of my 3rd year I rowed a little bit with a French club in Grau du Roi. My biggest rowing achievement so far is probably bumping Christ Church to finish 4th at Summer Eights in my 2nd year.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I think knowing that your teammates are challenging themselves just as much as you are makes it easier to keep going. When you are in the boat, you know that people are relying on you to push as hard as they are and that a great outcome only comes as a consequence of everyone fully commiting to the session. So it is a mixture of not wanting to let your teammates down as well as wanting the best possible outcome for yourself and the team.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? The classic rowing hobby of eating a lot of food. I feel like I have spent so much time making food and eating this year. Otherwise before I started rowing, I did a bit of a triathlon and really enjoyed it.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I think in some ways Covid has made all of us really appreciate being able to train together and making the most out of the time we have. By now we are well accustomed to Zoom training sessions and erging outside in the rain (for socially distanced training). The coaches and OUW committee have put a lot of effort into making sure we have the best possible training environment whilst also looking after us during these tough times. Being on the water feels like a luxury now so that’s all the motivation we need.