Charlotte Withyman


Year of Birth 1999

Hometown Radlett, Hertfordshire

Nationality British

College Mansfield

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 3rd

What are you studying? Materials Science

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I love doing practicals in the labs with my friends. It’s so great to be able to combine social time with academics. After uni, I think I want to be a maths or science teacher. I can’t imagine having a boring office job.

Future ambitions? I would love to walk the Appalachian Trail one day! It looks like such a challenge of mental and physical resilience and would love the opportunity to take it on.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Too many lists and timetables and plans, and lots of collaborative work to meet tough deadlines. I find on days I don’t have training, I get less work done. Having the structure of being up early and limited time for work, helps to keep me motivated. This was especially helpful during summer 2020 when uni was online and rowing helped to keep me going.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing at uni. I wanted to find a hobby that would keep me very busy, let me make new friends, and keep my body moving. I had also been an indoor rower at home before university so was keen to try and use the erg fitness I had built up on the water. It was great to turn my hobby into a team sport and finally be able to stop training alone.

What was your first club? My first club was Mansfield College Boat Club, Oxford.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? There is a great team spirit, even with all the solo training. Being able to represent the university is an amazing feeling.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? Before university, I had been a casual indoor rower for a couple of years, but had taken out time for injury. Since starting at Oxford, I have been college rowing for two years at Mansfield and the last few months training with OUWBC has been my biggest achievement!

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race was Summer Eights 2019. Having so many friends and family members coming out for support was amazing. Even on days when we didn’t bump, the cheering crowd made us feel like winners, and the team spirit between all my college’s boats made the whole week of racing feel like a party.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I always have some Soreen banana bread, but try not to do anything that I wouldn’t do on a normal day of training. I’m normally too nervous to try anything new on race day too, best to keep it simple.

Your sporting idol? My dad! His dedication to sport, despite injuries, is amazing and I hope I can continue to train throughout my life like he has.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? I would love to have Serena Williams in my crew, just for an excuse to meet her. I also think she would make an amazing rower and help us to win any race.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I try to calculate how many strokes left or what fraction through the piece I am. My maths is slow so it’s a good distraction. I also find visualising finishing the session and thinking of all the good food I will eat afterwards helpful.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I love baking to fuel the next session. It’s so relaxing and I love being able to feed my housemates. I also enjoy walking and cycling, to explore new areas and spend time with friends. Especially during the lockdowns, I have been taking any excuse to spend time outside and be able to see friends.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I try to keep a positive attitude and focus on making every session fun. I like to think that there’s no point in training hard unless you’re enjoying it.