Sophie Paine

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1997

Hometown Freeport, Bahamas

Nationality British, Bahamian

College Girton

Undergrad/Graduate Masters

What are you studying? Sociology of Media and Culture

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I am currently conducting research on the social fitness app Strava. I’m looking at the ways that amateur competitive athletes interact with the app and considering the broader implications on other parts of our digital lives. As part of my research, I interview athletes from different sports with varying training goals. I love learning about the world of sports beyond my small rowing bubble.

Future ambitions? The Olympics…. Or to live in a small hut on top of a mountain. Or both.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I make a list and a schedule at the beginning of each week to help me stay on track. As much as possible, I try to treat the day like a 9-5 workday and get in training before and after. Studying remotely has helped hugely with scheduling as well - I never realised how much of my day I spent travelling. Now I do everything from my kitchen table.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing on my first day at Brown University. I had grown up watching the Boat Race and wanted to give it a go. I remember walking through the boathouse and seeing the other girls just after an erg test - they looked absolutely shattered. Something about that appealed to me. There was never really a moment where I decided the sport was for me. One day of trying it out turned into two, and here I am six years later.

What was your first club? Brown University.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The team around me. I train with some of the smartest, strongest, and most ambitious girls I’ve ever known. Being part of such a long-standing history is also extremely inspiring. It’s easy to forget it, but when you do remember you almost have to pinch yourself to show you’re not dreaming. Working towards a single goal for such a long time builds a bond that I’m not sure anyone outside of the sport would ever really be able to grasp.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? This is my 6th year of rowing. I rowed for four years at Brown University, and this is my 2nd year at Cambridge. My biggest achievement so far has been rowing in the U23 World Championships for Great Britain and winning a silver medal in the women’s eight.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No. I was provisionally selected for the 2020 Blue Boat.

Your favourite race so far? Would have to be one of my races at Brown on our home river, the Seekonk. You never knew what the conditions were going to be like. Racing and beating crews in 30mph gusts and white caps always felt really good.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? For me race day is all about making sure I eat the right things at exactly the right times and keeping the nerves away as much as possible. The hours leading up to the startline are always painfully slow, but time always seems to stop in the few moments before the beginning of a race.

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

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Making fun out of it. No one enjoys long sessions of seat racing, but cracking jokes in between races makes a tough session so much more bearable.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Baking, hiking, cycling, swimming.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Keeping our eyes on the prize, and knowing that this year we’ll have to take a different route to get there. Part of staying motivated is also feeling connected to each other and building trust within our squad. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that help with that - cycle rides together, sharing baked goods, sharing a pint when we’re not under restrictions.