Rhiannon Mulligan

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1997

Hometown Santa Cruz, California

Nationality British, American

College Lucy Cavendish College

Undergrad/Graduate Masters

Year MPhil

What are you studying? Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? My research into the experiences of student-athletes at colleges historically set up for women in the United States. After my MPhil, I hope to pursue my PhD looking at queer student-athletes’ experiences at colleges historically set up for women and how they differ from those of queer female athletes at co-ed schools.

Future ambitions? To win the Boat Race.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I am loyal to my planner and my Google calendar. All my friends know that if it’s not in my GCal, it won’t happen.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing the second half of my junior year of high school because I was old enough to get my driver’s license and could drive myself to practice. I also realised my coordination wasn’t good enough to continue my volleyball career.

What was your first club? Los Gatos Rowing Club in Los Gatos, California.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? My favourite part of rowing for Cambridge is the group of teammates I get to train with every day. They’ve made moving to a different country during the middle of a pandemic surprisingly enjoyable.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I was a member of the Wellesley College varsity eight and stroked the it to a second-place finish at HOCR 2019. I also won the 2020 Wellesley Outstanding Senior Athlete Award. On top of this I was a 2020 CRCA/Pocock All-America Nominee, as well as being a 2019 CRCA/Pocock Rowing All-American. I was in the 2019 NEW-MAC All-Conference First Team. I was a CRCA Scholar Athlete three times (2018, 2019, 2020), part of the NIRC All Academic Team twice (2018, 2019) and part of the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team three times (2018, 2019, 2020). I did the US U23 trials in the 1x, 2018 and 2019. My biggest achievement has been winning Canadian Henley in the U23 4x in 2018.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? No.

Your favourite race so far? My favourite race so far was Head of the Charles 2019 when I stroked with my best friend as my coxswain. One of the best moments of the race was her forcing RIT to yield within the first 500 meters, followed by passing Mercyhurst as we came around Eliot.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I always have ice cream the night before a race, courtesy of Wellesley Crew superstition that ice cream makes you fast. The best pre-race ice cream shop is Truly’s in Wellesley, Massachusetts, followed by Thomas Sweet in Princeton, New Jersey.

Your sporting idol? Serena Williams, her drive and love of competition is inspirational.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Serena Williams, she would be such a good rower if she weren’t phenomenal at tennis.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Knowing that the time will pass no matter what and that I can control how I feel about it once it’s done. No matter what, a 30-minute test will be 30 minutes long and choosing to embrace the fact that it’s hard will make me feel better when it’s over.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? My hobbies are running and buying houseplants. When my college closed because of Covid, I drove over 3,000 miles with my snake plant named Jeffrey. During lockdown, I added Neville, Claire, Phillipe, Claude and Chloe to the family but had to stop because I ran out of surfaces in my room.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I try to view each day as a chance to get faster, whether we’re on the water or whether I’m erging in my bedroom. It’s nice to have an end goal (winning the Boat Race) but I think it’s equally important to appreciate the privilege of getting to train at such a high level every day.