Katarzyna Pilch

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1997

Hometown Krakow, Poland

Nationality Polish

College Newnham

Undergrad/Graduate Masters

What are you studying? Arts, Creativity and Education

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? My favourite part of my Masters course is its interdisciplinary approach to investigating how art fits within educational systems. The course takes on philosophical, psychological, cognitive, and cultural perspectives to explore topics such as what is the role of art and artists or how art can serve as a research tool. As a part of the program, I am also developing my own research project focusing on the relationship between art, mindfulness, and wellbeing. In the future, I would love to continue exploring the impact that mindful artmaking can have on one’s life, either through research or in practice.

Future ambitions? I would love to start my own business of mindful photography courses. I would also love to renovate and paint old furniture.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I plan out my week ahead of time. I try to get enough sleep every night and to take it one day at a time. Also, having study buddies helps a lot with staying motivated while studying.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing when I was 12. We went to my rowing club with my PE class and had a little erg competition. I fell off the seat three times but still had so much fun! So I started attending practices and fell in love with rowing.

What was your first club? UKS 1993 Krakow.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The people. Everyone is so nice and smart and strong and hardworking.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I started rowing in 2010. I rowed first for UKS 1993 Krakow, and then for AZS AWF Krakow. Over the years, I have competed at national as well as international level. My biggest achievements are: competing at the Junior and U23 World Championships, getting 4th place at Junior European Championships (2014, in a pair), getting 6th place at Youth Olympic Games (2014, in a pair), and winning National Championship titles (2013-2018). Between 2016-2020, I’ve been studying at and competing for the University of Southern California, where I had a full-tuition scholarship. And since September, I have the honour of rowing for Cambridge.

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

Your favourite race so far? The final of the Junior European Championships in 2014. It was my first more serious international regatta. I was really nervous before the start, yet the nerves all disappeared once we were at the start line. With my pair partner, we had a great race, even though we placed 4th. We gave our everything and were in such a flow state. Overall, I loved racing with my pair partner at the time. We had great energy.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I eat scrambled eggs for breakfast, always have my coffee, and listen to the race playlist.

Your sporting idol? Kim Brennan.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? Kim Brennan.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Knowing that this is where the gains are.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I love making art. Especially painting furniture and taking photos.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? By taking it one day at a time and looking at the bright side.