Vera Kunz

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1995

Hometown Vienna, Austria

Nationality Austrian

College Gonville & Caius

Undergrad/Graduate PhD

Year 1st

What are you studying? Chemistry

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I study Li-air batteries, the ‘beyond Li-ion batteries’ energy storage device with the highest specific energy density and the added advantage of being more sustainable. If we manage to develop them, they could be used for next generation electric vehicles or electric airplanes. To me, the most interesting part of this project is working towards more sustainable green energy storage options that can outperform the current technologies.

Future ambitions? I honestly don’t know yet.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I do a lot of planning for my experiments so my time is used as efficiently as possible. I also drink a lot of coffee.

When did you start rowing, and why? I didn’t start rowing till I arrived at Cambridge, about one and a half years ago at Gonville and Caius.

What was your first club? Caius Boat Club (CBC).

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The team. To me it feels like one big family. Everyone is so supportive of one another. Because of that you really want to be there - it makes all the early mornings worth it. For me that’s also what makes me want to try my hardest every day.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I heard about my college rowing club during Freshers Week and decided to give it a try. After that it didn’t take long to fall in love with the sport and the tranquillity of being on the water. My biggest rowing achievement so far has been probably getting to be a part of this team.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? No.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? No I don’t.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? My teammates are key to getting me through a tough session. I try and draw as deeply on my own resources as possible as well, focusing on very specific tech points and then taking it stroke by stroke.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I love the mountains. I enjoy hiking, skiing, skitouring - or anything else you can do in the Alps really.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I make sure I take things one day at a time and enjoy all the little things.