In July MPhil student Amanda Thomas participated in the rowing championships at the European Universities Games, representing GB and Oxford in the lightweight women’s double sculls event, along with sculling partner, Naomi Holland, from Christ Church. The Games, organised by the European Universities Sports Association (EUSA), took place in Coimbra, Portugal, with the rowing itself at an international standard 2km lake just outside Montemor-o-Velho.
Amanda writes: Naomi and I were really excited to have qualified for the competition and trained intensively in the months leading up to it, with the aim of rowing better than we ever had before. There were 10 crews from across Europe taking part in our category, and after three days of racing, we finished fourth, behind crews from Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. We were delighted with the result, and felt that we had pushed ourselves to the limits of our capabilities, which is the best we could have done.
Our team-mate Ellie Watts from Wolfson College raced in the lightweight women’s single sculls event, finishing sixth in a very competitive field. Meanwhile, the only other Oxford representatives at the Games, the lightweight men’s four, won their category in a very exciting race.
Taking part in such a high standard competition was a fantastic experience, and we learnt a lot from it that we can take forward to our future rowing. The atmosphere at the championships was very positive, with the chance to meet and talk to crews from very different backgrounds, while also giving us a taste of the international rowing circuit.
Naomi and I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our crowdfunding page, which we were able to set up with the help of Somerville College. The funds raised made it possible for us to take part at the Games without taking on a large financial burden, and we really appreciate the support we received. We are also very grateful to our coach, Chris O’Hara, and to everyone else from the Oxford University Lightweight Women’s Rowing Club who helped to make our participation possible.
Amanda Thomas, Somerville College (MPhil General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, 2017)
Photo credit: Edward Thomas