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Lucy students Sarah Tisdall and Anouschka Fenley reflect on the experience of taking part in the boat race

On Sunday 4th April 2021, Cambridge won both the men's and women's contests in the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race - the 166th Men’s and the 75th Women’s boat races. The women's team triumphed first, earning their fourth straight win, by less than a length. We talk to Sarah Tisdall and Anouschka Fenley about the whole experience of taking part and being in the winning boat.

Sarah Tisdall

It was incredible to be a part of something with so much history. The whole experience, especially the lead up to the race, was like nothing I have ever experienced before and I feel so grateful to have been involved.

For the month before the race we were back on the water so it was really about trying to come together in the limited amount of time we had and make the technical changes as quickly as possible. Before that, training consisted mostly of erg workouts in our bedrooms and as well as weights and runs. I think that made us appreciate it even more when we returned to the water, so we really made the most of that time. 

Winning was great but the thing I was most proud of was the grit and tenacity of every person on the team throughout Covid training. Not just the girls in the boat, but the entire CUBC squad put in massive amounts of time, energy, and effort into the whole process. The entire team contributed to the win, so I think my favourite part about winning is being able to share that with everyone, knowing that we all played a part.

I would love to continue rowing for as long as I love the sport (which I think will be forever). In the short term I hope to compete at BUCS, Women's Henley, and Henley.

Anouschka Fenley

Taking part in the race was an amazing and unique experience. The disappointment of being unable to race last year (7 out of 9 of us were returners from Blue Boat 2020) made being able to race this year particularly special. We had been working towards this race for the past two years, and to cross the finish line first was an incredible feeling. The crew has a strong bond and it is always so much fun to train and race with them all. 

We definitely spent more time on the ergs this year due to covid! During Michaelmas term we were able to train on the water in Ely and in Goldie (for land training), but during Lent term we were predominantly erging and cross-training. Due to the social distancing measures we regularly trained together via zoom. Despite being unable to consistently row in the boats this year, it was really inspiring to see the commitment and enthusiasm of my teammates throughout the season. In the last four weeks leading up to the race we were able to return to the water, it was very exciting and we were so happy we could train as a crew again.  

It is difficult to put into words! One of our teammates kept asking us to pinch her after the race because winning felt like a dream. After the race we threw our coxswain, Dylan, into the water which is a tradition for the winning crews. We have been overwhelmed by the support from people from all over the world who have sent messages to congratulate us, including students, alumni, and professors and from everyone at Lucy Cav! I really appreciate the support and encouragement from Lucy Cavendish College.

I will likely be racing with the CUBC team this summer! Then I will be graduating, I am in my final year of studying law, and I hope to pursue a professional career in law. I have a strong interest in international law, labour law and human rights.

Find out more about the Boat Race here