Chris Theaker


Year of Birth 1995

Hometown Watford

Nationality British

College St Cross

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 4th

What are you studying? Environmental Science

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? The most interesting part of my course is trying to understand how the natural world has reacted to external climatic forcings in the past. This then helps us understand how the climate is likely to adapt to increasing levels of human forced climate change in the future. After finishing my PhD I plan to carry on in academia with a postdoctoral position at another university.

Future ambitions? A long term rowing ambition of mine would be to qualify to race at Henley Royal Regatta.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? The main challenge of balancing rowing and academic life is being efficient with your time. For me this means finishing my morning erg and heading straight into the department to get started in the lab until our second session of the day. Then after our afternoon session and a quick dinner I head back into the department to finish the day’s work.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in the first year of my undergraduate degree at St Anne’s College, Oxford. I joined the boat club as a few of the other members of my course had taken it up and the St Anne’s boat club had a really friendly feel. It was also something I felt I had to try at least once seeing as rowing and Oxford are so synonymous. I’ve never really looked back since.

What was your first club? St Anne’s College Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? The best part of rowing for Oxford is knowing that I’m part of a club with such a rich history and being able to push myself to my limit with a team of like minded athletes.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started rowing in the Oxford college system with my first college St Anne’s, which I did for two years in the first and fourth years of my undergrad. I then moved to St Cross college for my DPhil where I rowed for the Wolfson St Cross BC for a further three years before trialling with OUBC. My biggest rowing achievement so far has been making my college first boat for Summer Eights.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race is Oxford Summer Eights. Bumps racing is a really unique and exciting form of racing which I really enjoy being part of. On the last day of racing the whole river bank is lined with spectators along the whole course and the atmosphere is unlike any other race I’ve ever competed in.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? Not really, mainly getting a good night’s sleep before and a large meal three hours or so before the race.

Your sporting idol? Edwin Van de Sar.

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

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I haven’t got any specific rituals. However knowing everyone in your crew is going through the pain barrier with you makes a difference. That drive not to be the individual who lets down the team is pretty good motivation to give it your all.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? My interests outside rowing are playing cricket and football.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? During the latest lockdown I’ve been keeping myself motivated by watching videos of old races to try and keep me motivated for the many hours of solo erging.