Charles Buchanan

Club: OUBC

Height: 190cm

School: King’s College School, Wimbledon

International rowing record: n/a

Year you first started rowing: 2008

How have you coped this year?

This has been a very challenging year for everyone and there have been times when the lockdown has affected my training. I have discovered that focusing on the process rather than the destination can itself be rewarding and enjoyable.

Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?

I have been lucky to live with four of my teammates, so we have been training together throughout lockdown. As a team I think we struggled initially, but we found that training together on Zoom was quite effective.

Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?

I expected the land training to be difficult and it wasn’t easy, but I quickly learnt to define training times so that I didn’t put it off until the end of the day.

What was your lockdown training set up?

Two of my housemates are engineers and they decided to construct a tent in the garden out of planks of wood and some tarpaulin. It kept the rain and cold away from the ergs which worked well, but I will not miss staring at the sloping white tarpaulin roof.

How do you cope with race day nerves?

Racing is the main reason I enjoy rowing, so race day nerves always feel like a positive thing for me.

The biggest challenge?

Staying motivated during the middle of January lockdown was difficult for me. It was hard to relate to my previous experiences of Boat Race preparations, but I learnt that it was important to treat lockdown differently.

The toughest session?

Without doubt the 5km erg test.

The best day, so far?

First day back to training in March was the most enjoyable day – it was very nice to exercise outdoors at last.

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

It was difficult as the Boat Race is without doubt a whole team effort, but we will reconvene as soon as we can, and the roles will reverse as Isis prepares to race later in the year.

Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?

Yes, they usually play an important role to push the Blue Boat and pressure the selection decisions. As a spare in the 12, you do not get to row with as many of your friends.

How did it feel getting back on the water?

Very good indeed and it reminded me how much I enjoy the simple sensation of being on the water.

Why do you want to beat Cambridge?

I narrowly lost to Cambridge in 2019 and I know how difficult it is to watch the other team take the glory after a year of work. The team has an unprecedented opportunity to beat them on their own water.