Caoimhe Dempsey

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1995

Hometown Wicklow, Ireland

Nationality Irish

College Newnham

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 1st

What are you studying? Psychology (developmental)

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I enjoy how interdisciplinary our research is - our group works with people in education, parents, policy makers and charities. It’s applicable to anyone working with/for children.

Future ambitions? To live a life that balances a job I find worthwhile and a jam-packed personal life.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I use the little bits of time throughout the day to get the small things done - I send emails on the train, watch seminars while also doing other work, and know exactly how long it takes to get to the boathouse to maximise time… I also know the power of a good night’s sleep.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing as a novice in the first year of my undergraduate degree in Trinity College Dublin. The rowing team were recruiting in a freshers’ week fair. I was cajoled into giving it a go, and at the first session I immediately loved the atmosphere. The senior girls seemed like superheroes to me and I was hooked.

What was your first club? Dublin University Ladies Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The team. I’ve never been around such a driven, energetic, optimistic and competitive group. It makes me happy to get up every day as well as making me proud to be part of the Cambridge Women’s team.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I learnt to row in 2015 and raced at the Home International Regatta for Ireland in 2017 and 2018, winning the senior four in 2018. I raced at the U23 European championships in the Irish eight in 2017. I have an Irish national title in the pair.

I’ve won the London Met Tier 2 four, pair and eight and been a quarter finalist in the Academic Eights at the Henley Women’s Regatta. I was selected for the 2020 Cambridge Blue boat. My biggest achievement so far has been being selected for the Irish eight that went to the U23 European championships. It was the first time Ireland had ever sent an eight to any FISU event, and I was only in my third year of rowing. I was green in more ways than one!

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? I was selected for the 2020 Blue Boat but did not race.

Your favourite race so far? Winning the Irish national title in the 2- in 2019. I’ve never been so prepared for a race in my life and the faith we had in ourselves as a crew was unbreakable.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? No food within three hours of the race, no intense music until 1 hour before the race. Then it’s game time and the race playlist comes on.

Your sporting idol? Sonia O’Sullivan.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Breathe, remember everything you’ve overcome before, you’re stronger than this. You’re doing this for fun, remember.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association).

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Have fun with the training, enjoy the process, use short term goals and feed off each other’s success. Everyone is going through the same restrictions - who wants to be the team that comes out the other side on top? How glorious that would be!