« Back

Hester Goodsell (Hughes Hall 2005)

Subject: PGCE Secondary Music
Sport: Rowing
Team: GB
Hoping to qualify for: Lightweight Women’s Doubles Scull


Pre-competition rituals: “As a lightweight, we have a very set routine where we weigh in. I always sit with my doubles partner and I do killer sudoku to keep my brain occupied during race periods.

“I went to Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith which backs onto the river. I chose the school because I walked into the boat house and thought: “That looks like fun!” I took up rowing there and initially just did it for fun, but it was at that stage that I met my coach, Don McLachlan, who has coached me throughout my career.

I then spent three years studying music at York, with Don coaching me during the holidays. At the end of that period, I went to the Under-23 World Championships and won, and I also got a bronze in the senior quad.

Don moved and became the boatman and coach at Jesus, which inspired me to apply to Cambridge for my PGCE. While living at Hughes Hall and working at Homerton, I trained out of Jesus with a group of other rowers such as Laura Greenhalgh and Doug Perrin who were under-23 lightweights at the same time as me.

We had a really nice group together that trained up at Isle of Ely Rowing Club and were members of Rob Roy Boat Club. I took a term off from my PGCE to row and my supervisor, John Finney, was incredible. I effectively had the summer off because I did two terms, then rowed at the World Championships again, then went back to my course in the September.

The thing with my event is that you never know you’re going. I’ve been in the top two and in the boat for the last five years, but you can never be certain that you’re going to make it. We just carry on like normal; nothing changes in the training programme, but the press and publicity surrounding the Olympic Games is so ramped up that I’d say that’s the side of it that changes.

There’s more awareness of rowing as a sport and the interest is increasing massively, but you block that out until you get selected because you want to earn that interest rather than taking it for granted that you’re going somewhere. There’s so much to do still and you don’t want to become complacent.

I went to Beijing and we came 11th. I’ve never wanted to correct something more. For me, it’s about being able to perform at the highest level, on the biggest  stage in the world. Being in London means it will be even more important.

The GB Rowing Team is sponsored by Siemens.