Felix Drinkall


Year of Birth 1999

Hometown Bruton

Nationality British

College LMH

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 4th

What are you studying? Engineering Science

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? For my Masters project I am part of the Computational Linguistics group. I’m working to predict the number of Covid-19 cases in an area based on how people are speaking online.

Future ambitions? I want to win the Boat Race and row in the Olympics.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I like to break my day up into discrete chunks in which I can focus on being a rower or a student. I find it hard to do well at either rowing or academia unless I compartmentalise my time.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing as an after-school club. We rowed down the Thames to an island where we would eat ice cream and play football. I had a great time messing around with my friends and then just hung around when they took the ice-cream away.

What was your first club? Eton College Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? I really enjoy working with some of my best friends every day for a shared goal that has such high stakes.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? At school I was part of a crew that won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Club. That eclipsed anything I had ever done and is still one of my best memories in rowing. Since then, I have rowed in the 2018 and 2019 Boat Race and have represented GB at junior and U23 level. My biggest achievement would be winning at the U23 world championships in the men’s eight.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? I rowed in the Boat Race in 2018 and 2019, and I would have rowed in the 2020 Boat Race, but it was called off two weeks before.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race so far is the U23 world championships in 2019. I was in the men’s eight and we had had a really fun summer up to that point. On the day we had our best start and got the job done early.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? My one superstition is that I don’t like to have superstitions. I know the mental and physical state that I want to be in, and I know what I need to do to get there. However, I like to be mentally ready for things to go wrong and having superstitions doesn’t help that.

Your sporting idol? The person who has inspired me most this year is Primož Ro-glič by the way he dealt with the disappointment of losing the Tour de France. He was gracious on the day and had the resilience to bounce back and win the Vuelta a España a few weeks later.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? I would love to row with Filippo Ganna; he’s a weapon on the bike despite being built to be a rower.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? When it really starts to hurt, I focus on my breathing and count five strokes at a time. The breathing gives me something to think about and the counting helps to not get overwhelmed by how much further I have left. No matter how much it’s hurting you can always take five more strokes, and then repeat.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? In the evenings I like to hang out and chat with my friends. Besides that, I like to follow F1 and keep up to date with what is going on in the world.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? During lockdown we would speak as much as possible to make sure that we stayed connected to the team. We logged all our training in a shared location so that the team could get motivated by everybody else’s training. Seeing other people pull big scores on the indoor rowing machine really motivated me to try and do the same.