James Bernard

Club CUBC Men

Year of Birth 1996

Hometown Ann Arbor, Michigan

Nationality United States

College St Edmund’s

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 2nd

What are you studying? Land Economy

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The interdisciplinary nature of my course and getting to work at the intersection of interesting fields. My course lets me learn a great deal about many areas and I would like to use that interdisciplinary approach for whatever career I end up in. I have no specific plans after Cambridge yet but I am excited about the possibilities.

Future ambitions? Professionally I am eager to find a career that lets me use the skills I have learned. I hope to be able to effect positive change in my community and among my friends in whatever I do. Personally, I am looking forward to getting back into basketball and exploring other sports like cycling.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Far too many years of student-athlete life have given me the experience I need to manage my time. Everyone says that time management is key and while that is certainly true I am also learning that being realistic about your own expectations for yourself can lead to a more productive and efficent use of time.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in the spring of 2012 as a way to get out of off-season training for the basketball team. I had a few friends who were doing the sport and on our varsity basketball team there was one guy who had rowed for a single fall season and who said it was a great way to get in shape. I started in the spring following the end of basketball. Before I finished high school it was clear that rowing was taking centre stage of my sporting life.

What was your first club? Ann Arbor Huron Rowing.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The legacies of both the CUBC and the wider Boat Races. Getting to be a small part of that legacy is a special thing and I enjoy seeing the way it drives both me and my teammates to be better everyday.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started the sport very casually and I have been fortunate to be able to take it so far. I come from a unique culture at Wisconsin and am lucky to be following in the footsteps of many talented Badger oarsmen who have gone on to row for the CUBC. My biggest achievement is being selected for and racing in the US M8+ at the Under 23 worlds championships in 2017.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No, I was selected to the Blue Boat this year in 2020 before the race was cancelled.

Your favourite race so far? The grand final for the M8+ at U23 worlds. It was both my favourite and least favourite. We had a bad start and were open water down in the first 500m. But we rowed back through the field and ended up just barely off the podium. Hence the best and the worst.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? No, I’ve had enough races go different ways that I know as long as I’m prepared nothing else really matters.

Your sporting idol? Giannis Antetokoun-mpo.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Giannis An-tetokounmpo.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Knowing it will make me better. Also the desire to be as good as I can be for my teammates.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I’m interested in politics, and other sports include basketball and cycling.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Taking training step by step and staying grounded in process has been working for both myself and the team. But to be honest, beating Oxford on Boat Race day is all the motivation we need.