Last week the Viking Soc, a group which meets regularly to discuss rowing, warmly welcomed Olympian Imogen Grant to Election Hall. The intimate setting of Election Hall perfectly matched the personal story told by Imogen, whose wisdom and thoughtfulness provided an excellent insight into the world of elite rowing.

Keen on sport from a young age, Imogen tried her hand at a multitude of sports before, as she admitted, ‘reluctantly’ giving them up to focus on her upcoming five A-Levels.

After obtaining a place at Cambridge, she threw herself into the world of medicine. When an opportunity came along to try her hand at rowing, however, she never looked back and it was clear that Imogen was all-in when she decided to commit to rowing at an elite level.

She fell in love with the sport instantly, explaining: ‘what’s better than seeing a flat lake in the early hours of the morning?’

What’s better than seeing a flat lake in the early hours of the morning?

Olympic rower Imogen Grant

After months of rigorous training and immense dedication, Imogen secured herself a spot in the winning 2017 Cambridge Woman’s Boat Race squad.

Her talent for the sport didn’t go unnoticed. Soon enough, she received the call up that every avid rower dreams of: a spot on the GB rowing team. From winning gold at the 2018 Under-23 World Championships to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics, Imogen’s sporting career went from strength to strength.

After speaking about this impressive journey, Imogen spoke in detail about the all-round benefits one can gain from rowing, and sports in general. She stated that she learned many life skills from her successful rowing career, such as the ability to hold open conversations and work effectively in a team.

Using her expert knowledge in the field of sport science, she explained that sport can increase the neuroplasticity of the brain, the ability to learn and adapt to new situations, and ultimately support strong mental health.

There were many excellent questions from the floor, as Imogen’s talk clearly resonated with the audience of pupils from Eton College and partner schools, who were all thrilled to have the chance to hear from her.