Kate Shipley

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1994

Hometown London

Nationality British & New Zealand

College Wolfson

Undergrad/Graduate Undergraduate

Year 3rd

What are you studying? Engineering

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans for after? The most interesting part of my course is my geotechnical engineering module. This involves looking at how soil stability and level of saturation affect the stability of foundations. It also looks at how you can manipulate soil properties to enable easier or quicker construction.

Future ambitions? To be a structural engineer.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? I keep myself incredibly organised and make sure that I stick to a regular schedule. This enables me to really focus on what I’m doing at that moment. This means I don’t worry about what else I have to do as I know I’ve planned it into my day already.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing in October 2012. I’d just started as a fresher at Sidney Sussex College and wanted to try something new. I was persuaded to have a go at rowing. Then I just fell in love with the sport.

What was your first club? Sidney Sussex Boat Club.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? Being part of a team that will always support you and help lift you up.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? I rowed with Sidney Sussex Boat club for three years (2012-2015) during my Architecture undergraduate degree. Then I took a year off while I worked in Cambridge, and I rowed with Furnivall Sculling Club for a year (2016-2017). I competed at Henley Women’s Regatta with Furnivall in the Summer of 2017 before starting my engineering degree at Cambridge and joining what was then CUWBC, now CUBC women’s squad. I have been rowing with Cambridge ever since, despite multiple injury problems upsetting my seasons so far.

Have you raced in the Boat Race before? If yes, when? In the spare in 2018 and the spare pair in 2019.

Your favourite race so far? Henley Women’s Regatta in the single in June 2019.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I always eat the same breakfast and lunch (if the race is in the afternoon) before races. Weetabix with an apple and yogurt for breakfast with a coffee, then peanut butter on toast and an energy bar or two if I’m still hungry for lunch.

Your sporting idol? Helen Glover.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? I focus on my overall aims in rowing and remind myself that the tough sessions are worth it, as they all help me reach my goals. For test ergs, I always listen to the same playlist during the erg as they have a good rhythm for me as well as keeping me calm as I know what is coming next.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? Sourdough bread baking - I took it up in November 2019 and haven’t looked back. I now bake all my own bread and bake weekly for our S&C coach. I’ve even set up an insta account for it. @rowerthatbakes.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? I think support is the best motivation we can give at the moment, so during the lockdown especially I’ve been baking for my squad mates and delivering the food to them after particularly hard training sessions. A little bit of joy can go a long way to keeping morale and motivation high.