Jack Tottem


Year of Birth 2001

Hometown Near Monmouth, South Wales

Nationality British (Welsh)

College Brasenose

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 2nd

What are you studying? BA History

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I particularly enjoy studying 20th century British and European history, with a focus on international relations. Having said that, it was great to write an essay on the influence of sport on British society this term.

Future ambitions? I’m unsure of any career plans at the moment and am continuing to explore my options.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I find it important to plan the week ahead so as to avoid any clashes. This helps me to ensure I completely switch off from work when I’m in the boat and remain focused on the task at hand.

When did you start rowing, and why? At school in 2015, aged 13. I have always enjoyed sport, so wanted to find something in which I could become really competitive. I was also particularly curious to explore a sport that I knew very little about, outside of having watched the Boat Race each year!

What was your first club? Monmouth School Rowing Club, where we rowed on the River Wye which crosses the Welsh/English border.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? The team culture and atmosphere within the squad. There are strong bonds created when you dedicate so much time working towards the same goals within the group, which are unlike anything outside of the sport. Also, I am always immensely proud to represent a club with such an illustrious history and tradition.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I coxed my school 1st VIII through 2018 and 2019, which included winning gold in non-championship eights and bronze in champ coxed fours at the National Schools’ Regatta 2019. I also raced with the Great Britain junior men’s coxed four at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2018 and 2019, winning gold and three silvers. Last season, I enjoyed several fixture wins with the OUBC 3rd VIII, as well as a category win at Quintin Head.

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

Your favourite race so far? Probably at Henley in 2019: Monmouth School vs Kent School, USA in the Princess Elizabeth on the opening day. We came from around ¾ of a length down at Fawley to win by nearly a length in front of a busy Stewards’ Enclosure, which was an amazing feeling.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I tend to meticulously note down a timetable to ensure that I and the crew stay on track throughout the day.

Your sporting idol? Roger Federer. I admire both his longevity at the very top and his calmness in high pressure situations.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Alun Wyn Jones for his tenacity and colossal leadership ability.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Just maintaing a positive dialogue with my teammates and making sure everyone is on the same page. Often, I find that keeping things simple and getting the basics right is a good way to refocus the mind.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I find that I watch plenty of sport, especially football and rugby. In fact, I think I tend to let Arsenal results dictate my mood far too much. I also enjoy listening to 90s music, especially while I’m working.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I regularly set smaller goals and constantly evaluate my progress, which helps me to keep moving in the right direction towards some broader objectives. We also work hard to find ways to socialise with each other in a non-rowing context, whilst respecting the Covid regulations, as I believe this is a crucial part of the whole experience.