Sarah Tisdall

Club: University of Queensland Boat Club and CUBC

Height: 178cm

School: Brisbane Girls Grammar School

International rowing record: Bronze medal U23s 2019 Australian coxed four

Year you first started rowing: 2011

How have you coped this year?

By keeping it simple and not overthinking things. I try to find little moments to enjoy every day.

Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?

Yes definitely. This is my first year with CUBC and I feel like I have already made lifelong friends. I think everyone has done an amazing job supporting each other and that has brought us closer together as a team.

Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?

It varied day to day which is what I was expecting. I knew there would be good and bad days and I think it’s important to just accept that and ride the wave.

What was your lockdown training set up?

The erg is conveniently set up next to my bed, so I don’t have far to travel. I had the riveting view of the back of my door, so stuck up some pictures to keep it spicy. The erg doubled up as a drying rack for my socks, but I would pack this up for Zoom weights for the space.

“I knew there would be good and bad days and I think it’s important to just accept that and ride the wave.”

How do you cope with race day nerves?

Humour and banter with the girls. Keep it light and fun. Until we get hands on the boat. Then it’s on.

The biggest challenge?

Staying motivated when the Boat Race has felt so far away for so long. Now that we are back on the water though it feels a lot more real and motivation is easy.

The toughest session?

Honestly probably the steady state ergs. We did a lot of 3x25 mins and although they are not as physically hard as erg tests or pieces, I just find them quite long and monotonous and therefore mentally tough without the good vibes and energy with the squad in Goldie.

The best day, so far?

Trial VIIIs was so much fun. We had the best time and were just so stoked to be out on the water having fun after the November lockdown. But really, any day on the water is a good day.

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

We have all become good friends and been together for this whole process so to suddenly be split up was quite tough. So much goes into this race and every single person has a role to play in that, so obviously we all want to be together, but it is just another curve ball Covid has thrown that we have dealt with together.

Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?

As this is my first year at CUBC I’m not really sure what it was like in other years. But it does feel a bit odd to see so few boats on the river. Really looking forward to when we can all be out there together again.

How did it feel getting back on the water?

Absolutely amazing. The first session back especially. Honestly the feeling was unreal, and it reminded me why I love this sport so much.

Why do you want to beat Oxford?

This race is about so much more than the individual. So many people have put insane amounts of time, energy and effort into this process with the common goal being to win the Boat Race, and while no one can take this away, Cambridge winning would be the perfect testament to these efforts. I want to contribute everything I can to make this a reality.