Gemma King

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1999

Hometown Bagshot

Nationality British

College St John’s

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 3rd

What are you studying? Natural Sciences (specialising in Biochemistry)

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I am currently carrying out a research project in a lab on a protein that is highly involved in cancer. I hope to carry on and do a Masters next year.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I don’t live with rowers. So when I’m not training, I am able to focus on other things and separate my rowing and academic schedules.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in October 2012. My school, Lady Eleanor Holles (LEH) offered six trial rowing sessions. At the time I did lots of other extra-curricular activities so was convinced that I wouldn’t take up rowing, but really enjoyed it so carried it on.

What was your first club? LEH Boat Club. What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The determination that everyone has to achieve their best and the huge amount of support. We all look out for each other - there’s a real ‘family’ feel to the squad. Also, I love sessions where the boat just feels like it is going really well.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started rowing at school in October 2012, and after that joined CUWBC (now CUBC) with the lightweight squad. After one year with the lightweight squad I joined the openweight squad and have been with that squad since. My biggest achievement so far would probably be coming 3rd representing GB at EUSA in the women’s pairs in 2019 (we were lightweight weight in an openweight category and did not expect to medal at all). However I’m really proud of many other races that I’ve been in including: the Home International Regatta representing England in 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning four gold medals (three in a pair, one in an eight). Winning WCLwt2- at BUCS regatta (and 2nd in WCLwt8+) 2019. Racing in the Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta (quarter finals in 2019, semi finals in 2018 as juniors). Winning WJ18 2- at British Rowing Junior Championships 2017. Winning WJ18 2- Champ at Pairs Head of the River 2017. Winning representing GB in the WJ16 8+ at the GB vs France match in 2016.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? Lightweight Blue Boat 2019 (also honorary Blondie 2020).

Your favourite race so far? Racing in the women’s pair for GB at EUSA. We were so proud to make it there and managed to move up a position each round of racing. There was a photo finish for 3rd place, and luckily we were the right side of it.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I think being with other people definitely helps, as you know that they are going through the same experience. On the water it is definitely easier to do hard sessions as you are actually moving. When a boat is going well, even if it is a hard session, it can be really enjoyable.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I play the trombone and piano, but don’t get round to playing them very much during term time. However, in the holidays I like to play them occasionally.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I think doing sessions on Zoom has definitely helped with motivating me. Also just having a training plan and knowing that everyone else is committed to it has helped a lot. It definitely is harder erging by yourself in your room, but luckily for the 5k test I was able to find a space outside so I could do it with another rower from my college, which made it better. Also knowing that we hopefully would be allowed back on the water at the end of lockdown, and having that sort of ‘count down’ in my head helped me get through it. My household had to go into quarantine for two weeks, so just getting out of that was nice and made the Covid restrictions not seem so bad.