Jesse Oberst


Year of Birth 1982

Hometown Seconsett Island, MA

Nationality American

College Pembroke College

Undergrad/Graduate Graduate

What are you studying? Masters in Business

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The Masters program has a diverse student group and provides a global perspective. I am enjoying learning from my professors and peers who come from all over the world and from wide ranging academic and organisational backgrounds.

Future ambitions? I’d love to contribute to spreading the sport and benefits of rowing to a broader community. I greatly respect the work of Row New York’s student athletes and staff in this mission.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? My wife and I just had our first child this December, so… I’ll let you know!

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in high school - I love the water and wanted to try it.

What was your first club? I started rowing at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, USA. My coach Mark Schoeffel was also my English teacher. His coaching helped build my confidence and intuition on the water.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? My favourite parts are the history of the Boat Race and the importance of academics for the rowers. The team is full of intelligent and thoughtful people. On a normal day at Wallingford, I’m in a boat with an engineer, scientist and medical doctor.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I rowed in high school and in university in the USA. While at Harvard, I won two national championships. My most memorable race was winning the Temple Cup at Henley.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No, this would be my first Boat Race.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite races are intersquad races, Henley and the Harvard-Yale Race. I enjoy racing against teammates because it brings out the best in the squad. The Harvard-Yale Race is a four mile head to head race on the Thames River in Connecticut. It was first raced in 1852.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? As a coxswain, I like to have a meal of two steak and mushroom pies.

Your sporting idol? I respect Paul Hoffman. He was an Olympic and Harvard coxswain who was a supporter of the Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR). He gave the Australian sprinter Peter Norman his OPHR badge, which Norman wore at the 200m medal ceremony next to Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City.

If you could have any sports person in your crew, who would it be? Roger Bannister. Our training center is at the track where he broke the 4 minute mile. While the rowers train, I like to run the track and often think about that moment and person at the centre of it. I respect his decency, humility and his athletic and medical achievements.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I like to remember that rowing is simple. One sentence I remember was from a former coach, Harry Parker. He said, ‘Rowing is about working hard to develop good technique, to become effective, and to be fit and strong enough to make the boats go faster.’

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Before Oxford, I lived on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and in New York City. In those places, I liked to spend free time shellfishing (quahogging), running, hiking and volunteering as an urban arborist.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I like to stay connected to my teammates off of the water. One thing I like to do is to cook for teammates. I also enjoy socially distanced walks along the canals and meadows in Oxford.