Aiming for team GB
When a Finders Keepers Student Letting tenant contacted us this year for sponsorship, we were intrigued.
Brianna Stubbs has her sights set high in the world of rowing. Associate Director Simon Tyrrell says, “What caught my attention was Brianna’s ‘Team GB’ aim. In this Olympic year, it was hard to say no to her request!” The 21-year-old, originally from Poole, Dorset, has been rowing since the age of 10 and came to Oxford to study for a medical degree at Pembroke College.
“My Dad competed in the first ever Atlantic Rowing Race in 1997 so I had an awareness of the sport from a very early age. I started rowing as part of a kids club at Canford School and rowed there until I won a sport scholarship to study at Canford, aged 16. I rowed for the GB U16 team and then the GB U18 team at the Junior World Champs and won a silver medal.” Brianna then came to study for her medical degree at Oxford University, and won the Women’s Boat Race twice in her first 2 years. Having done her pre-clinical course, she is now on a year out before clinical school doing biomedical research at the JR hospital. Her return to training coincided with the 2012 Olympics. Nothing could be more inspiring than watching fellow athletes, some of whom she knows personally, reap the rewards of honest hard work. Brianna has now embarked on her own sporting journey: training twice a day, six days a week. It was a shock to the system allowing her time off over the summer but, as Brianna said, “it made the feeling of returning to fitness all the sweeter.”
“Every day I drive down to the river in Wallingford and train in a single sculling boat; when the weather is good it is a gloriously peaceful experience. When you have the boat moving well, it is an odd mix of intense concentration, a refreshing detachment from every other distraction and enjoyment of the humming riverside scenery. These sessions are followed by land training on an indoor rowing machine to work on fitness and with weights sessions to work on my power and core strength.”
Brianna has most certainly reaped the rewards of the hours she has spent training, competing and winning in various national level events.
Women’s Senior Single Scull Event
Hosted in her home club on the river at Wallingford, Brianna won the event beating another contender who had been 40 seconds ahead of her last season. This really highlighted the progress she had made.
The Pairs Head of the River, London
Rowing in a pair with Lottie Burgess, despite facing quality opposition and not having spent much time in the crew, Brianna’s team were the fastest women’s boat of the day and won the pennant for Women’s Elite Double Sculls.
The Diamond Jubilee Rowing Championships
Hosting the first round of the Great Britain team trials, this race consisted of the country’s top athletes and several Olympians. The race was held over a weekend in October with Brianna racing as a double on the Saturday. She recalls the race concluding in a “heartbreakingly gritty finish that saw four crews racing for the top 3 places separated by no more than one boat in length”. Brianna was disappointed to narrowly miss out on a place in the ‘A’ final by less than half a second but was consoled by securing a place and winning the ‘B’ final, leaving them ranked 7th overall. On the Sunday, Brianna raced as part of a quad. The crew performed very strongly, finishing 2nd overall, battling at the finish line with the Olympic Team crew. Brianna was pleased with the results, stating: “Both 7th and 2nd placing were respectable, given that we were lightweight crews racing against open-weight athletes who far surpassed us in size and raw strength.”
The Fours Head of the River, London
Returning to London in a quad race, Brianna competed in a race that “takes around 20 minutes and is a cruel test of fitness and resolve to maintain the intensity and quality of rowing for such a long distance”. Once again the good work paid off and the crew won the Women’s Elite Lightweight Quad by over 30 seconds, placing them as the 4th fastest women’s boat of the day.
More recently Brianna has competed in the 2nd round of the Great Britain trials with the aim of representing the Great Britain Rowing team at the World Championships this summer. Brianna once again had a successful weekend, breaking her own personal best time on the rowing machine by 6 seconds, covering a 2km distance and ranking 2nd out of the Under 23 lightweights and 4th overall.
“Long term I am really, really excited about clinical school and my career as a Doctor, although I’m not yet sure what my speciality will be. If possible, I’d like to extend this current year of research before I go to clinical school and continue to have the flexibility to train properly with a view to being on the GB Rowing Senior Team for the World Championships, and maybe even Rio…”