Charlotte Grayson


Year of Birth 1998

Hometown Kings Langley, Hertfordshire

Nationality British

College Wadham

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 2nd

What are you studying? Philosophy, Politics and Economics

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I’m really enjoying learning about British political history; it has been fascinating to study social and governmental changes over the past century. I find it interesting that the three disciplines of my course provide ample opportunity to link past events and ideas to present-day developments.

Future ambitions? I hope to continue studying and complete a Masters in a related field.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I schedule my studying so that rowing provides a welcome break. As my lectures are all pre-recorded and most of my tutorials are being conducted virtually, I have a great deal of flexibility to design my own timetable to make it compatible with rowing.

When did you start rowing, and why? I used to enjoy watching rowing, including the Boat Race, on TV and joked with friends that as a small, outspoken person I could be well-suited to being a cox. So when I began studying at Imperial I took the opportunity to join the boat club to get involved in the sport.

What was your first club? Imperial College Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? Being in a motivated squad of friendly athletes. Especially in the current circumstances, it is great to have something other than academics to focus on, aim for, and provide structure to the day. It’s also surprisingly easy to forget that everyone at the club studies hard, so it’s nice to be reminded of this when occasionally someone says something really smart.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started coxing at Imperial on the Tideway. Having largely avoided sports at school, I loved the new experience of being part of a sports team. I enjoyed competing in head races and regattas across the UK (and eventually a little further afield), especially BUCS regatta. When I started studying at Oxford last year, I joined my college boat club in the hope of leaving the coxing seat to row for a season. But unfortunately bad weather and then coronavirus severely limited our time on the water. My biggest achievement has been my victory in the inaugural Imperial coxes’ single scull race.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? Chengdu International Universities Rowing Regatta 2019. It was quite far to travel for a race but also the only one I’ve competed in which required physical activity on my part - in the dragon boat race that followed the rowing.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I tend to panic the night before and pack far more food than I will have the time or will to eat on the day. A banana and a cereal bar normally set me up pretty well.

Your sporting idol? Pete Reed.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Emma Pooley - a powerful cyclist with a huge amount of grit. It would also be a fun, novel experience to not be the smallest member of the crew.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Layering up my clothes (the toughest sessions tend to be the cold, damp ones), bringing more positivity to the crew and reminding everyone why we’re doing this.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I enjoy cooking and baking. I’ve been slightly neglecting my violin recently but sometimes I like to de-stress by playing exclusively loud, high-pitched selections of music on it.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Cov-id restrictions? It’s important to stay in regular contact to keep spirits up and remind each other of what we’ve got to look forward to when we’re able to train together.