Alexander Bebb


Year of Birth 1997

Hometown Vancouver, BC

Nationality Canadian

College St Peter’s

Undergrad/Graduate Masters

Year 2nd

What are you studying? Engineering Science

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The most interesting part is definitely the freedom associated with a research-based degree. Within reason I am able to make this project my own and choose what I’d like to do and what I look at. It means I am able to pursue what interests me and have more enjoyment along the way. At this time, I have no plans for after.

Future ambitions? I’ve always wanted to be a pilot in some capacity, be it a job or hobby. Ideally I’d like to end up doing consulting work as a mechanical or aerospace engineer.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Borderline insane levels of organisation are key to balancing a high academic and high athletic load. This is definitely something that took a lot of time to develop, as many of my high school teachers may attest.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in the Spring of 2011 after not making the cut for the novice squad that previous fall (I didn’t show adequate athletic potential). My mum spurred me to try it out after my cousin got into coxing at St John’s College, Cambridge.

What was your first club? St George’s School.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? My favourite parts, by miles, are the squad and coaches. The atmosphere of hard work and focus that both create is infectious. It’s contributed greatly to the progression of my rowing and bled into other aspects of my life, including academics and relationships.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? After my start in 2011, I rowed for four years at my high school, St George’s, before another four at Cornell during my undergrad. In 2018 I was selected to the Canadian BM8+ that raced in Poznan at the U23 World Rowing Championships, placing 5th. I started my studies at Oxford in 2019, and was selected for the 2020 Isis crew prior to the race cancellation. I’d say my biggest achievement so far was being selected for the 2018 U23 crew and having the experience racing at an international level.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No. I was selected for Isis in 2020 before the cancellation.

Your favourite race so far? IRA Varsity C Final - 2018. Though we did not have a particularly impressive showing, this race will stick with me for a long time. After messing up our performance early in the regatta, we were quite down and headed in to the C final. As we lined up the race was cancelled due to awful weather and some boats taking on water in the waves. In a decision I’ll never forget, the Naval Academy cox said he’d call the start and we’d go for it anyway. The umpires were eventually bullied into letting us be the last race. It was slow and miserable - we all took on huge amounts of water. Despite this, it was one of my favourite races because it cemented, for me, why we put ourselves through a year of exhaustion: to race no matter what.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? No, surprisingly.

Your sporting idol? Tim Foster.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Tim Foster.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Staying in the moment, always.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I’ve been fascinated with aviation since I was a toddler. I spend what little free time I have reading books or watching movies about the golden age of the test pilot and the build up to the Apollo missions.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Cov-id restrictions? Communication has been the best way to motivate ourselves. Sharing what workouts we’re doing and how hard we’re working spurs others on. We’ve had some team meetings and strength and conditioning sessions over the computer, as well. When we’re not in lockdown, I find it really easy to stay motivated. Even though we’re keeping our distance and staying Covid-safe, having the social aspect in training keeps us all moving forward.