Catherine King

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1999

Hometown Bagshot

Nationality English

College Gonville & Caius

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 3rd

What are you studying? Natural Sciences (Biological)

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans for after? I mostly enjoy spending time in the lab working on research projects. I’m hoping to do an integrated Masters next year, and potentially go into research after that.

Future ambitions? I’d like my research to have a meaningful impact, whether that be understanding underlying biological processes in more detail, or helping to develop drugs to treat certain diseases. I hope to balance that with an active lifestyle as I’d hate to spend all day at a desk.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I’ve always done a lot of extra activities such as sports and music. That’s helped me to have pretty good time management skills. Sometimes it can be challenging. But I think the rowing schedule forces you to be efficient.

When did you start rowing, and why? I did lots of different sports at school, and the rowing club offered six free trial sessions. I never intended to carry on but thought it would be fun to try something different for a couple of weeks. However, I got hooked and have been rowing ever since (over eight years now).

What was your first club? LEHBC (Lady Eleanor Holles Boat Club).

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? It was always a huge ambition to row for Cambridge. It’s incredible to train with a team of such supportive individuals. We all push each other every day in training, and it really makes every session and all the early mornings worthwhile. I love pieces and racing, so that would definitely have to be my favourite part of rowing, especially when you can feel the crew giving it 100%.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started rowing when I was 13, then came to Cambridge. I trialled both as a fresher and as a lightweight in my first year, before moving into the openweight squad. A highlight was qualifying for Henley Royal in the openweight women’s pairs category in 2018 and 2019. It was an incredible experience to race some of the top athletes in the world (even if I had food poisoning the first time around!).

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? I raced in the lightweight women’s Boat Race in 2019 in Henley. I was also part of the Blondie squad in 2020 (before the Boat Race was cancelled).

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race has to be at EUSA 2019 in Sweden (the European Universities Championships), where I raced in a pair with my twin sister in the openweight pairs category (even though we were lightweights) and we managed to move from 5th position up to bronze in the final, literally on the line.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I often chat with teammates and not focus too much on the race until nearer to the race time, to help keep the nerves at bay.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I just make sure I have a big meal, usually pasta, the night before and try not to overthink the session too much. It’s nice to do tough pieces with other teammates, as this can really help to get through the hardest parts of the sessions.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I used to do other sports, but over time rowing has taken over. I don’t have much time for other hobbies now, but I play the piano and the trumpet, so have managed to perform with the Caius orchestra a couple of times.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? We’ve done multiple Zoom ergs and circuits, which has been nice as then it doesn’t feel like training alone. Although this year has definitely been different, the whole squad have been supportive. There is always an end goal in sight. That has definitely helped make each session count so that we are fully prepared and ready to row our best on race day.