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14 March 2016

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Going to the races! St Hugh’s student Laure Bonfils selected for the OUWLRC Blue Boat

We’re immensely happy to announce that Laure Bonfils (DPhil, Engineering) has been selected for a seat in this year’s Lightweight Blue Boat. This is an exceptional achievement and reflects months of dedication, determination and hard work.


For any budding rowers out there, Laure’s experience highlights that you don’t need to have been practicing the sport for years in order to reach the top. Having arrived at St Hugh’s to begin her DPhil in October 2013, Laure began rowing with St Hugh’s Boat Club and quickly became an enthusiastic convert. After receiving the encouragement of her then coach Mary Foord-Weston, as well as that of fellow rowers, Laure joined the Oxford University Women’s Lightweight Development Squad in June 2014 and was selected for the reserve crew in 2015.

Laure describes her experience with OUWLRC as ‘an intense but wonderful experience’ and has offered her account of the training year thus far:

‘Training for OUWLRC has been amazing and will stay in my memory as a wonderful experience and achievement for ever, whatever the outcome of the race is. We train twice a day, 6 days/7 (a day off is very important for physiological reasons), with mainly water sessions in the morning and gym sessions in the evening during week days and two water session a day during week-ends. It is a very competitive sport: you need to fight to be selected for the squad, then for the Blue Boat, then for the seat you want in the boat and finally against Cambridge. You can hardly miss any training. Trialling for OUWLRC has consequently been very demanding and has required a lot of dedication, motivation and sacrifices. In addition to all the training sessions that need to be combined with a PhD (My PhD has always been my priority), being part of the Lightweights requires you to be very careful about your weight. It is a very difficult part of the program, because whenever you are lacking in energy, you cannot compensate for it with high calorie food. But, at the end, it is an exceptional experience that is definitely worth it!’

The Lightweight Boat Races take place on Saturday the 19th March in Henley on Thames, and will see the squads from Oxford and Cambridge go head to head in a 2000 m race along this famous stretch of river.

It would be wonderful to have St Hugh’s represented on the river bank, cheering the crews on and the event is open to everyone. If you are interested in attending and would like to know more about the event, see the Henley Boat Race website here, or visit the Facebook event page here. The race day schedule is below:

13:00 – Inter-Collegiate Women’s Race
13:30 – Inter-Collegiate Men’s Race
14:00 – Alumnae Exibition Race
14:30 – Varsity Women’s Ltw. Reserve Race
16:00 – OUWLRC & OUWBC Commemorative Row Past
17:00 – Prize Giving (Temple Island Meadow)

For more information about OUWLRC, please visit their webpage.

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