Callum Sullivan, a Music Scholar at Downing College will sit in the 5 seat of this year’s Cambridge Blue Boat. Callum took up rowing having been inspired by the success of the GB Rowing Team at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“I learned to row 6 years ago, at Globe Rowing Club, in Greenwich, South London, who’s squad was run by Maurice Coughlan of London Youth Rowing. I was inspired by the extraordinary feats accomplished by the many medal-winning British boats at London 2012, and visited my local club as soon as I could arrange a meeting with Maurice. Since my first session I’ve learned so much and bettered my self every week. But easily the most unique experience in Rowing is the tightness of the teams that are built. There is no other Olympic sport where athletes are connected to each other and can feel each other’s movements so clearly. Not only does the sport itself teach you to work with your fellow athletes so interdependently, but the people involved in this sport, in my experience, are extremely driven and hard-working – many of my closest friends are those I’ve met through rowing.”
Ahead of coming to Cambridge in 2017, Callum contacted the CUBC Coaching Team to express his interest in trialing for CUBC.
“I didn’t know whether I’d be the material to row at the CUBC, going from a programme which trained for 7 sessions a week to one which met 11 times for their grind was a terrifying prospect. Nevertheless, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I contacted Richard Chambers when I received my sixth form exam results, letting him know I had a place and my experience. Though he wasn’t particularly impressed, he encouraged me to give it a shot, and put 100% effort in to develop me in my first year at the CUBC.”
Callum rowed in the victorious reserve crew, ‘Goldie’ at the 2018 Boat Races and has progressed up to the Blue Boat for 2019. After the Boat Race in 2018, Callum went on to represent CUBC at Henley Royal Regatta where the crew lost out narrowly to Imperial College in the final. He then won gold in the coxless four at the European Universities Games in Portugal. Reflecting on his time so far at CUBC, Callum said:
“I’ve met so many people, some on a daily basis, some less often, who are willing you to succeed. The team is so tight-knit and that extends to coaches, our athlete support team, and our alumni. Everything is in place to allow you to develop into an exceptional athlete, and the second you join the team you feel that. The Goldie Boathouse is packed full of like-minded people who are willing to work extremely hard for one another. One team, one dream.”
“The combination of a rigorous academic schedule and a strenuous training programme is a big challenge. And you have to step-up your game to succeed, but once you learn to switch between being a student and being an athlete you start to make progress in both, which has been one of the most satisfying experiences of the last two years.”
Asked how he feels ahead of the big day on 7 April:
“The race is the culmination of 7 months of waking up with one goal in your mind and getting through each day a little stronger and a little wiser. When I get to the start line I will feel totally prepared to push myself and the crew to deliver an elite performance. I can’t wait to pull harder for this crew than I’ve ever pulled before and to feel the energy and atmosphere which makes this race so special.”