Name: Abigail Parker
Course: PhD in Zoology
I’m Abigail (“Abba”) Parker, President for the 2019 season. I am very excited to serve the club this upcoming year, and look forward to meeting as many of you as possible!
I am from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where I lived my whole life until coming to Cambridge this year. When I was growing up, my father was the head coach of the Harvard men’s rowing team and my mother also an ex-US Olympic team rower and coach, so I have spent an inordinate amount of time in and around boathouses my whole life. I began rowing myself in 2010 at the Winsor School, an all-girls school with an amazing rowing program on the Charles River, where I fell in love with racing. After four great seasons there, I moved slightly downstream on the Charles to row at Radcliffe (the women’s team at Harvard University). There, I was fortunate to be part of a wonderful, proud tradition of women’s rowing. I raced in various eights and fours in the very competitive Ivy League, and also really enjoyed my academic program studying evolutionary biology and earth sciences. Over the summers in high school and university, I did a lot of sculling, racing to many medals at US Club National Championships and under-23 trials.
Now at Cambridge, I am at Emmanuel College doing a PhD in Zoology. I study vertebrate paleontology and work in a very fun graduate student office in the Museum of Zoology. The museum is just now re-opening after extensive renovations, and this year I got to help write some of the museum displays that are being installed. My PhD focuses on the evolution of body size in reptiles over the last 66 million years and whether gigantism in turtles, crocodiles, lizards, and snakes is related to climate changes or the evolution of mammals. Racing with CUWBC this year, in particular in our early season races at Fours Head and Trial Eights, has helped me to a new level of performance and been an absolute highlight. At this year’s boat race, I was in the spare pair; we pulled away from Oxford in our race and had much more of a battle with the Tideway conditions! I have been so impressed and constantly entertained by my teammates, and am raring to continue our momentum and train for more wins next year!
Name: Emma Andrews
Course: Natural Sciences
I’m Emma Andrews, a 2nd year Natural Scientist at Pembroke College. I learnt to row aged 13 whilst at Putney High School, where I was Captain for the last two years, so grew up with Tideway conditions. Whilst at the school, the boat club grew from a few racks outside Barn Elms to having its own boathouse just before LRC on Putney Embankment. I competed at the Coupe de la Jeunesse, gaining a silver medal in the Women’s Eight, and Gold in the Women’s single in 2016. I then came immedaitely to CUWBC as a fresher and had a fantastic first year, fully integrating myself into the Cambridge rowing family from day one. I stroked Blondie to victory by 13 lengths over Osiris in the 2017 Boat Races, as well as a fantastic 7th Overall at WeHorr.
In my second year, at both Cambridge and CUW, I think I found my feet a bit more and became one of the responsible returners rather than the youngest fresher! Academically, I was able to specialise into Physics and Physical Chemistry which are what I enjoy most, and what I feel I am best at. In rowing, I liked the change in squad members which led to two new crews with a different skill set to the year before, but the same attitude to excellence in training. This year I was in the 2 seat for Blondie’s victory, and I’m very proud to have been part of the first clean sweep in 25 years.
I am currently in a double working towards racing Henley Women’s Regatta and possibly Henley Royal, as well as racing in my college W1 for May Bumps. With very close friends in the lightweight squad I am excited to be working more closely with them and am looking forward to the year ahead.
Name: Jessica Godden
Course: Natural Sciences
My name’s Jess and I’ve just been elected as the lightweight captain for the coming season. I am a 1st year Natural Sciences student at Emmanuel College and trialled this year having learning to row at Westminster School after moving there for my sixth form studies. I have always been very sporty and used to juggle five or six different school sports with after school training before I finally found rowing – I quickly realised it was a sport which left no time for any others! At school, I had predominantly rowed in a single with occasional sessions in pairs and doubles and so I can vividly remember my excitement the first time I pushed off from the pontoon at Ely in an eight with a light blue blade in my hands. From the start of the year, I found out how intense the Cambridge programme is, and it was incredibly satisfying to track how quickly I was able to progress.
This year has been incredibly memorable, starting with the excitement of racing trial eights at Henley in the snow which we thought couldn’t possibly happen again at the Henley Boat Races in March (how wrong we were!). It was quickly followed by our Banyoles training camp, which really enabled the squad to focus entirely on improvements on the water, to the inevitable nerves surrounding seat racing and selection, and the emotion and drama of the day of the boat race itself.
This year has been an incredibly successful one across the Cambridge squads, and has set high standards for us to reach next year, but also to improve from. As the incoming captain, I am determined to ensure that womens’ lightweight rowing at Cambridge continues to develop and excel. The merged programme between CUWBC and CULRC offers huge training benefits for all crews in providing competitive training environments and I am really looking forward to working with Emma and Abigail, alongside the CULRC President, Tom Roe, to develop strong relationships between the squads.