Catz Student in Historic Boat Race
Graduate student Augustin Wambersie (2018, Engineering Science) represented Oxford in the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race in April this year. We caught up with him to find out how the race went from the Oxford side.
When did you first get involved in rowing, and how did you come to be a part of the 2019 Boat Race?
I started rowing when I was 15 years old in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I then rowed while at Princeton University which is what really exposed me to competitive student rowing. I didn’t feel ready to be finished with the sport by the time I graduated from Princeton, so Oxford provided the perfect fit in terms of furthering myself both as a student and as a rower.
How intense did you find the Oxford vs Cambridge rivalry at the race, and in the run up to it?
I’ve never wanted to beat another crew so badly. They might be great guys, but we wouldn’t know – during the build up to the race we don’t really interact with them. The intensity of the Old Blues in the build up to the race also tells me that the rivalry stays with you forever.
How did the team prepare in terms of training for the race?
Lots of volume, but also lots of mental preparation. We only really hit the intensity in the month before the race, which was different for me as previously I had spent the entirety of spring doing high intensity sessions.
What was the atmosphere like for the team on the day of the Boat Race?
Before the race, it’s a pretty unique feeling. There is a bit of tension and nervousness, of course. What makes it special is we are all faced with the same challenge, and it is reassuring to know that we are all going in together. All doubts are set aside – you have to go in believing you are 100% going to win and you really have to place all of your trust on your teammates. I think the intensity of Boat Race day makes this bond much more unique than in other rowing races. Only those in the boat really know what’s going on, and we just have to be in the moment.
Photo: Oxford University Boat Club