Blues Rower Rob Hurn: “There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be”

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons, MykReeve

When it comes to rowing, Rob Hurn has never been short of self-motivation. The ambitious 23-year old is currently reading for an MPhil in nuclear energy at St. Edmund’s College and recently told The Times that he aims to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Juggling a Cambridge degree and constant training is not stress-free, but he harboured ambitions in rowing from a young age and his love for the sport is striking. Even before he started his impressive rowing career as a senior captain at Yale University, he was the captain of his high school rowing team and rowed for Australian’s junior men’s team.

The list of his rowing accomplishments is long. Most impressively, he twice won a silver medal at the Great Britain U23 World Championship, rowed two-seat in the Varsity that beat Harvard at the 150th Yale-Harvard Regatta, and rowed in the boat that won the Men's Championship 8+ at the Head of the Charles Regatta. Compared to Yale, he feels the training at Cambridge has been quite a step up in terms of volume.

“I feel like I have developed significantly as an athlete,” he said. “One thing that rowing at US colleges teaches you is how to race hard and to find new limits.” He emphasises that he will need to draw on everything he has learned at both Cambridge and Yale to perform today.

However, the Beast from the East was not very helpful during the last few weeks. “Training on the Thames has been tough with the cold weather and high winds recently,” Rob admitted. He added that the team even had to go up North to train in Nottingham in order to have quality training sessions in better conditions. Yet despite the constant challenges the weather kept throwing at them, he believes that their preparation has been going very well so far. “We have significantly improved upon our ability to deal with rough water,” he said. “An almost certainty in the Boat Race.”

The bad weather looks, mercifully, to have abated, but such adaptability is no doubt invaluable.

Whether the team feels more prepared after the loss against Oxford last year, Hurns couldn’t say – this is his first year in the Light Blues boat. But suffice to say, he feels the team is a very tight-knit bunch. “This entire year has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience both on and off the water,” he smiled. “Largely due to the attitude the guys bring to practice every day.”

For all the hard yards, he wouldn't say the pre-race nerves ever get any less intense. “You certainly become more adept at dealing with them,” he said. “Personally, I am looking forward to those tense hours before the start where your stomach is in knots and your legs feel like lead. I'll know at that point I'm ready and there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be”.

He sadly couldn’t tell us about the team’s pacing strategy which is, of course, “top secret!”.  

We wish him and the crew the best of luck today.

Keep up to date with the action with our stroke-by-stroke text commentary and post-race reaction on Twitter @tcsnewspaper.


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