Sarah Portsmouth

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 2001

Hometown Yarm

Nationality British

College Newnham

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 2nd

What are you studying? Architecture What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? I love spending time in the architecture studio, where we all work on our project briefs together when we aren’t at lectures or supervisions. There’s often music and sometimes takeout if you stay long enough. I’m still unsure about exactly what I want to do after my degree, but luckily I’ve still got quite a few years to decide.

Future ambitions? Winning the Boat Race.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I find rowing gives my days a solid structure, which really helps make my working time more regular and efficient. I also find that giving myself a solid period where my focus is completely off work makes me feel more fresh when I go back to it.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing at school, where the coaches were brilliant and I just loved spending time outdoors with my friends. The first time we won something together I decided I enjoyed that too, and it’s evolved from there!

What was your first club? Yarm School Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? The team. I honestly couldn’t do it without them, they are so supportive and inspiring. I’ll always remember walking into Goldie for the first time last year and starting the first erg, in sync with people on all sides of me. It’s such a powerful motivator.

What’s your rowing history and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I’ve been rowing since I was 15. At school I loved going to the local races. Durham Regatta was always one of the highlights. I would say being selected for the 2020 Blue boat is my biggest achievement so far.

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

Your favourite race so far? Racing the eight at Coupe. I was so nervous but it was my first taste of being in a speedy eight and I loved it.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I would say I don’t have any superstitions, but I like to always have far too many energy gels on hand as well as large amounts of soreen (some say I never left J15 nutrition behind).

Your sporting idol? Dina-Asher Smith.

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

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? 10 strokes at a time and having a cox yelling at me doesn’t hurt either.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Anything arty.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I’ve been really enjoying going for runs during sunrise, and just getting outside where I can. We’ve also been doing squad Zoom workouts which helps connect everyone and motivates me to work harder for the team.