Felix Drinkall

Club: OUBC

Height: 197cm

School: Eton College

International rowing record: World Rowing Junior Championships: 2016 Bronze, 2017 Gold. World Rowing Under 23 Championships: 2018 Silver, 2019 Gold

Year started rowing: 2014

How have you coped this year?

This year has been especially tough as it was uncertain when our next training session would be let alone if the race would happen. To combat this, I have made sure that I have focused on what I can get out of each day rather than getting swamped by thoughts about things I cannot control.

Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?

We built a really strong support system, making sure that we communicated often and did our tough ergs with the rest of the team via Zoom. This really helped me feel like I was still training as part of a team and made it easier to maintain motivation.

Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?

I do not row to spend my life on an erg or in the gym, but I did enjoy the time more than I had anticipated. I was able to really focus on personal weaknesses and felt I got a lot fitter. It was fun seeing myself improve each week.

What was your lockdown training set up?

I was very fortunate to have everything I needed to get the most out of my training. My challenge was to not annoy the people I was living with by erging too early and waking everyone up.

How do you cope with race day nerves?

I like to have a clear plan of what I need to do before the race. It’s hard to do, but I try to just think about what I need to do to be in the best possible position on the start line. I know that once we start rowing, we just need to execute what we’ve prepared in training.

The biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was dealing with the uncertainty of this pandemic. I had to really focus on internal motivations in order to keep progressing, as it was tough to find motivation training for a race that looked like it might have been cancelled.

The toughest session?

The toughest session that we do is our 60-minute test. It always hurts earlier than you want it to, but it makes the next 60-minute training session a lot easier.

The best day, so far?

The most enjoyable day so far this season has been jumping back into the eight after the most recent lockdown. It was great weather, and everyone was giving it some send.

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

It definitely wasn’t nice having to split up the team. We’ve all trained hard this season, so it was tough for them to not be rowing. We are excited to see everyone else again and are looking forward to supporting them for their race later this summer.

Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?

The boathouse feels empty with a lot of personalities missing; however, it does give those of us who are rowing an extra bit of motivation as we aim to do the rest of the team proud.

How did it feel getting back on the water?

It felt very strange. We all realise how privileged we are to be training now, and we are making the most of that. The intensity of this next month leading up to the race has meant that the first week has been exciting as we get up to race speed.

Why do you want to beat Cambridge?

I have spent the last few years racing with a lot of my teammates, and I want to share the feeling of winning this race with them.