Ollie Boyne

Club: CUBC

Height: 163cm

School: Yavneh College

International rowing record: n/a

Year you first started rowing: 2016

How have you coped this year?

By accepting the lack of control we have over the circumstances. For me, I care solely about knowing that, in hindsight, my actions were the best possible. And worrying about the uncertainty of the year doesn’t help that –I can only respond to the information in front of me. I think also having been a part of last year’s squad helps massively – having everything taken away with a couple of weeks to go gives you a sense of perspective and means that fully buying into any allowances we have to make to get the races going this year is a no-brainer.

Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?

The CUBC culture is strong enough to persist through, but it was tough being separate from all the guys. A weekly whole squad call definitely helped make it feel like everyone was on the same page, still training for the same goal.

What was your lockdown training set up?

There was not much I could do from home – other than reviewing videos and keeping regular contact with the guys. I managed the spreadsheet for all the rowers’ erg data, which was a nice way to stay homed in to all the training that they were doing.

How do you cope with race day nerves?

I make sure I’m talking to all members of the crew regularly throughout the day, both about the race and a little bit about other things too. It’s important to discuss the ‘what-ifs’ of race day with the crew and decide how you’ll respond, rather than worrying about the hypotheticals in your own head.

The biggest challenge?

Reeling from the occasional bad news we receive. There’s been a few points in the year where we’ve received some like lockdowns or moving of spares’ race, and the few days afterwards are a tough time where everyone needs to assess their priorities and motivate themselves to keep moving forward. I think the guys have responded really well to those situations so far.

The toughest session?

As a cox, I find some of the longer sessions tougher – finding new ways to phrase the same things and push the guys on, when there isn’t the excitement of side-by-side or high-rate pieces.

The best day, so far?

Our first sessions back after the November lockdown. We jumped straight into 8s in preparation for Trial VIIIs, and there was a blizzard out, followed by incredibly heavy fog for the next week. The boys were unphased and eager to get back on the water, and we had some great sessions. That all reminded me how resilient we are as a squad in responding to everything going on and getting on with our training. Being back on the water was great fun.

Only the Blue Boat races on the 4th April 2021: What’s it like splitting the squad?

Incredibly tough. All of the guys in the squad are fully bought into the idea of their sole purpose being pushing the (eventual) Blue Boat to win the race, but that doesn’t make the news any easier when they are told that they won’t be allowed back to train. Part of what makes training with CUBC so enjoyable is the squad atmosphere and having to leave a large portion of the squad behind while we train on the water isn’t easy.

Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?

Yes, the boathouse is much quieter!

How did it feel getting back on the water?

It felt great to be back. A bit odd hopping right back into the program after 2.5 months off, but it was straight down to business from session one, and very quickly felt to me as if we’d never left the river.

Why do you want to beat Oxford?

I want to do it for the guys around me, it’s a goal we share and they’ve all been putting in the work over these lockdowns to achieve, so I want us to fulfil it together.