Sarah Tisdall

Club CUBC Women

Year of Birth 1997

Hometown Brisbane, Australia

Nationality Australian

College Lucy Cavendish

Undergrad/Graduate Graduate

Year 1st

What are you studying? MPhil in Education, focusing on Globalisation and International Development

What is the most interesting part of your course? Do you have any professional or academic plans after? Comparing education systems across different countries, and investigating the correlations between expanding access to education and improving learning outcomes/quality of life. I am particularly interested in how sport can be used as an educational tool to promote peace and conflict resolution skills.

Future ambitions? Many. Not least implementing research in the field of international development. I would love to keep rowing for as long as I can. I would also love to live in a caravan and surf more. Currently working out how to do all of this at the same time.

How do you balance rowing and academic life? Create a schedule and stick to it. The rowing schedule and class schedule is pretty set so I work out the times that I will be free and schedule in readings/dissertation research into those time.

When did you start rowing, and why? I started rowing at the beginning of high school. My older brother Ben rowed and after watching one of his regattas I was hooked. It seemed so exciting and had such a strong sense of community. In my first season, I found rowing was so painful and didn’t understand why people wanted to put themselves through so much agony. But I kept going back every year, and every year I loved it even more.

What was your first club? I first rowed for my high school, Brisbane Girls Grammar School, but joined the University of Queensland Boat Club at the end of high school.

What is your favourite part of rowing for Cambridge? Rowing in eights. I love big boats because with more people, it’s more fun.

What’s your rowing history, and what has been your biggest achievement so far? At Brisbane Girls Grammar School I rowed in quads for the first three years then in eights for the last two. After that I joined the University of Queensland Boat Club. In 2016 I moved to Boston and rowed for the Harvard-Radcliffe team. I started off in the fourth boat in my Freshman year. In my third year at Radcliffe I rowed in the 2V. At the end of that season, I flew to Princeton to trial for the AUS U23 coxed four. I was fortunate to make the crew, and we qualified for the world champs, ending up with a bronze. I returned for my fourth and final year at Radcliffe, and finally raced in the top boat for Head of the Charles, but unfortunately the entire season was cancelled due to Covid. Back in Brisbane I rowed at QAS for a couple of months before coming to Cambridge.

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

Your favourite race so far? Racing Yale in the Harvard-Radcliffe 2V last year. No one expected us to win. In the race we were behind for the majority, but with 700m to go, our cox Holly called for a sprint. We all committed, and you could feel the shell pick up. It was quite magical as we all knew it was early to start the sprint, but we overtook Yale to get a clear boat length in the end.

Do you have any race day habits or superstitions? I normally just listen to music. And drink coffee. No rituals - maybe I should get some.

Your sporting idol? Cathy Freeman because she’s courageous and talented, Stephanie Gilmore because she is so chill yet golden, and Michael Jordan because he is a relentless legend.

If you could have any sportsperson in your crew, who would it be? The four ninja turtles. I would put them in a quad and I would cox it.

What gets you through a tough session? Do you have a mantra, rituals? Trick myself into believing I love the pain.

Any hobbies, other interests outside rowing? I like to browse the bargain bin aisle at Aldi. I also love surfing, making furniture, 1000 piece puzzles, and backpacking.

How do you motivate yourself and your teammates, especially with Covid restrictions? Chocolate, Baileys, banter.