Augustin Wambersie


Year of Birth 1996

Hometown Rio de Janeiro

Nationality Belgium

College St Catherine’s

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 3rd

What are you studying? A DPhil in Engineering Science. My reasearch looks at applying transpiration cooling to turbine blades, particularly those found in jet engines. The overall aim of the research program is to find new ways to improve engine efficiecny and performance.

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? Our lab has close links to our industry partner, Rolls-Royce (not the cars) in both the civil and military branches of the company meaning we can work on real applications and problems. It also means the research, if successful will have an immediate impact on real jet engine designs. I also get to run lots of tests on a very fast (and loud) wind tunnel which simulates part of a jet engine. While I am certain many members of the lab are quite unhappy about the racket my experiments make, it certainly keep things interesting and I always feel a bit of excitment when the machinery fires up.

Future ambitions? I am currently split between working in the aerospace industry or going towards something more energy or renewables focused.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? You certainly have to get used to being tired and turning up to start the work day exhausted. Luckily, as a PhD student with a rockstar supervisor, I am in charge of my own schedule so I can be very flexible. Work can also come at irregular intervals so there will be periods where there isn’t too much going on, and others where you just have to accept that you are a research student 24/7. One thing that certainly helps is making sure you find accommodation that is close to either training or the lab in order to minimise commute time and effort.

When did you start rowing, and why? In 2010 I used to sail a lot but I was quite rubbish at it. I liked being on the water though and was always quite competitive so rowing certainly suited me there.

What was your first club? Botafogo Fute-bol e Regatas, Rio de Janerio.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Oxford? It’s not the weather, it’s not the mileage. It’s not erg tests either. I think that leaves the race experience itself and the camaraderie.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started sculling in Brazil as a junior and then went to junior worlds for Belgium. I then spent four years rowing at Princeton University where we had a couple of good years as a squad and I also progressed significantly as a sweep rower. My biggest achievements would be making the Princeton varsity and the Oxford Blue boat the very next year.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? Yes, in 2019.

Your favourite race so far? Winning eastern sprints for Princeton in 2017, because this ended up being a massive milestone for my rowing.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? A measured amount of coffee and a deliberately selected playlist.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? One of the guys from the German eight. They aren’t the biggest guys but they row exceptionally well and know how to create, and most importantly maintain a winning culture in an eight.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Endorphins, the other guys in the boat. For individual sessions, thinking about how the session is a necessary step in the path to better performances.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Unfortunately they have mostly been sacrificed for rowing and school.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Focus on what you can improve (erging and fitness) and double down on it. We also built an erg tent in our backyard so we can erg together as a household. I also like to think that this is probably the best thing someone could be doing in a year like this one with so many restrictions.