#OnTheWater with Jessica Godden







Jessica Godden  – Loving the transition from School to University


With an offer to study Natural Sciences at Emmanuel College, it was a huge relief for me to meet my offer requirements in late August 2017 and to know I would definitely be moving to Cambridge.

The next questions –  Would  I continue rowing? For College or University?

I started rowing at Westminster School. Having never previously rowed but the attraction of a novel sport and a competitive programme was hard to resist. I spent my first year in a pair and in my final year of school I spent time in a single scull, training alongside the J17/J18 boys squad. Training with the boys, was a highly motivating challenge but I really missed training as part of a women’s squad.

A step up

I decided I wanted to experience a better team environment and registered my interest with Emmanuel College Boat Club and Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club (CUWBC), as a Lightweight athlete. During Freshers’ week I enjoyed both programmes. But realised trialling for CUWBC offered a great opportunity to develop as an athlete. I quickly learned how to balance trialling for CUWBC with academic commitments, as well as finding my way round Cambridge. It wasn’t always easy – Natural Sciences has a heavy schedule of lectures.  I frequently found myself arriving slightly hot and sweaty to my 9am lectures after rushing back from our morning sessions in Ely!

However, I found rowing helped with adjusting to Cambridge because it gave me a routine and a large group of teammates who mentored me.  In some cases, also helped me with academic work, as some were natural scientists who had taken the same courses previously!

I was a reserve for CUWBC Lightweights in the 2018 boat race campaign.  Then  I went to British University Championships in the Lightweight Pair and had an amazing summer competing at Henley Women’s Regatta and EUSA. Now I am re-trialling for the 2018/19 campaign with a clear aim to make the Lightweight First Boat.   I am in a stronger position than last year with vastly improved technique and fitness.









This year, I am also the CUWBC Lightweight Captain which has been a very fulfilling and varied role to take on.  I work alongside the other Junior Committee members of CUWBC and CULRC.  I think we have made some really positive changes to the trialling experience for everyone.  The whole experience of trialling has hugely enhanced my university experience. I have developed as a person and as an athlete.

Whilst, it is definitely a huge time commitment, and like any sport it has its ups and downs, it is most definitely a unique experience and I would encourage any junior rowers who hold offers to study at Cambridge to come and trial next year!


If you row at school or club and are interested in finding out more about studying and rowing at Cambridge – get in touch HERE

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