William Gasson


Year of Birth 1998

Hometown London

Nationality British

College St Edmund Hall

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

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? I have been working on a project to reconstruct images from data taken from a sensor without the help of optics to focus light. I have found this interesting as it allows me to take my own data and work out my own way to solve the problem instead of following a set procedure. It is also very satisfying when this pays off and you can see the sucessful reconstruction. I am still debating between going into post-gradute study in an area similar to the project I have been working on or going into industry to see how projects are implemented in real life.

Future ambitions? I would like to be able to keep my sporting efforts up after I finish my degree, whether I do postgraduate study or take up a professional career.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? The rowing schedule is quite regular so I know in advance when there will be time I can work around it. Also the increase in online learning has made it much easier to study at times that suit me best so I can get the most out of my training and my study.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing for my college St Edmund Hall when I got to Oxford. I was a keen runner at school but rowing was something I wanted to try once I found out I had got my offer. It’s such a well known part of Oxford and I wasn’t given the opportunity to take it up at school. My first coach had rowed in the Boat Race which really pushed me towards the idea of trialling for OUBC.

What was your first club? St Edmund Hall Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? There are many parts of rowing for Oxford that make it an amazing experience. Not least knowing that I am getting the best coaching and training with athletes at the highest level, which means I am making the best improvement I could. It also gives me something to strive toward with everything that is happening in the world at the moment.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? Blades in college bumps racing.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? Bumps racing at Oxford as it’s a very exciting way of racing. You have the constant threat of the boat behind chasing you and knowing at any moment you could catch the boat in front.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I tend to just try to make sure I get a good breakfast to put myself in the best place I can be.

Your sporting idol? Chris Hoy.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Steve Redgrave, as he’s quite good at rowing.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? The idea that the crew and myself are putting the effort in so we know we will be ready come race day. Also I know that given the current crisis I’m very lucky to be doing any rowing at all. As we found out earlier this season we may have to take a month off so I have to make the most out of every session we have.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I enjoy running and cycling as I did a bit of triathlon last year.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I know the more training is done in lockdown the faster the boats will be when we’re in them. I find knowing that everyone else is pushing on means I can’t let the side down with my individual training and I’m sure the others feel the same.