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NEWS > Alumnae News > King Twins go Head to Head

King Twins go Head to Head

Alumnae rowers Catherine and Gemma King, Class of 2018, will be competing in the Oxbridge Boat Race on opposing teams for the first time, on 30th March 2024.

The identical twins, who first started rowing at LEH aged 12, are studying PhDs at the top-ranking universities.They’ve rowed for Cambridge since 2018, but Catherine has now moved to Oxford to undertake her PhD, so they’ll be wearing different colours as they compete in the 78th women’s race at the end of the month.

The pair, who are now in the final stages of preparation for one of the world’s most famous annual sporting events, say: “Looking back over our rowing career, we’ve almost always been in the same boat as each other or in races that aren’t against each other. We’ve always been very competitive, and really pushed each other on in training. We both really want to win, but at the end of the day we’re best friends and we can’t see anything affecting that.”

This year the British Heart Foundation has become the official partner for the Gemini Boat Race (for the Oxbridge women’s teams), which has special resonance for the twins who are both research scientists.

Specialising in regenerative medicine, Catherine’s PhD research project at Oxford focuses on how to minimise the damage to the heart tissue following a heart attack. Her research could help the 270 people that suffer a heart attack each day in the UK and reduce the chances of them developing heart failure.

Catherine, whose four-year PhD in cardiovascular science at the University of Oxford is being funded by the BHF, says: “It’s really exciting that the BHF is going to be the charity partner for the Boat Race. It combines the two great loves of my life! Rowing is such a big aspect of my life and now the sport will be helping to raise vital funds for research into heart and circulatory disease.” 

She adds: “I can’t wait to race; the Boat Race is the culmination of a lot of hard work and commitment from the whole squad and it’s just a great opportunity to enjoy the challenge. This year I’m really enjoying every session on the water, especially having been out of the sport for nearly two years due to injury. Obviously, there’s a bit of pressure with every race as we want to try and win, but in all honesty I’m confident in the training we’ve done as a team, and I’m just going to enjoy every moment.”

Gemma adds: “At the end of the day we just want our crews to put out the best race that they can, and hopefully Cambridge comes out on top! Everyone wants an exciting race and, no matter what happens, I’ll be proud to be racing for Cambridge and proud of Catherine racing for Oxford. But out on the water itself, in the race, then the gloves are off, and we’ll do anything in our power to win!”

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