Ciara Luxton


Year of Birth 1998

Hometown London

Nationality British/Irish

College Christ Church

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 4th

What are you studying? Philosophy and French

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I really enjoy researching ethics and political theory. I’m currently preparing my thesis on government authority in emergency situations. I love using theoretical questions to generate real-world practices. I’m hoping to stay on at Oxford to pursue further study in philosophy, and perhaps stay in academia after that.

Future ambitions? I would like to work abroad as an academic, publishing papers, giving lectures, but also making time for rowing.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? When I’m getting wound up about a deadline, a good training session can reset everything. It means I’m ready to return to work with a fresh perspective after accomplishing something else in my day. That’s not to say it’s not tough sometimes. But as long as I get enough rest and fit some social time in, the balance maintains itself really well.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in my second year at university. It seemed like ‘the Oxford thing to do’. Though I’d never heard of the Boat Race before I came to college - even though I’m a South Londoner - so I don’t think I realised the full extent of rowing culture at Oxford. Once I’d got through the shock of early morning training I was hooked.

What was your first club? Christ Church Boat Club

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? It’s great to represent Oxford in such a prestigious, traditional event with such massive exposure. But it’s really training so intensively with such a great bunch of people that makes it challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? In my novice year I went from the university-wide novice regatta to rowing with the Christ Church first boat in Torpids and then in Summer Eights. This remains my biggest achievement, as I haven’t had much opportunity to race since. I joined a Belgian club in my year abroad; they said they would only find me a pairs partner if I agreed to try sculling, and put me out in a double for a test run. This was the day storm Ciara hit the continent, so managing not to capsize on my first day of sculling in my own personal storm is probably an achievement in itself.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? The first day of Summer Eights 2019. We were nearly bumped by the eight behind us but, as we rowed past our cheering boathouse, we managed to pull away at the very last minute.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? Always eat a brownie the night before. It can only be good for you.

Your sporting idol? Helen Glover

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Mo Farah coxing. He’d be a great cheerleader.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? As long as your rowing is letting other people do their best rowing, you’re doing okay. Focus is key.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Track, cycling and trail running.

How do you motivate yourself and your team-mates, especially with Covid restrictions? Sadly high fives aren’t Covid-friendly. But a positive, constructive debrief after a tough session highlights what we’ve accomplished and what we can look forward to working on next time.