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Victoria Walker to complete family dynasty at Caius Boat Club and Cambridge University rowing

By Mark Taylormark.taylor@iliffemedia.co.uk

Three family members all rowers in the boat race, seen here at the Caius Bathouse on the River Cam, from left Peter Walker, Victoria Walker and Emma Walker. Picture: Keith Heppell
Three family members all rowers in the boat race, seen here at the Caius Bathouse on the River Cam, from left Peter Walker, Victoria Walker and Emma Walker. Picture: Keith Heppell

Light Blues lighweight emulates brother and sister

Caius Boat Club, rowing for Cambridge University and the Walker family, you would struggle to get a cigarette paper between the three.

The three are intrinsically linked, and Victoria Walker will seal the family dynasty when she rows in the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club lightweights’ crew at the Henley Boat Races this Sunday.

It all started in 2007 when Peter Walker arrived to study natural sciences at Gonville & Caius. A keen and successful rower from King’s School, Chester, he made an aim to represent Cambridge University Boat Club.

It was when studying a PhD in material sciences that Peter finally fulfilled his objective, rowing for reserve crew Goldie against Isis on Boat Race day in 2014.

Peter, 29, who is a metallurgist in Germany, said: “When I was rowing at school, rowing in the Boat Race was a dream. When you do it, it suddenly all comes true.”

In the meantime, Emma Walker matriculated in 2010 at Gonville & Caius to study medicine.

She was coerced into taking up the sport by her brother, who by this point was overall men’s captain at the college.

“I learnt to row here when Peter was captain as they needed more girls,” said 26-year-old Emma, who is a junior doctor. “I had never really expected to be in the Boat Race and never thought I would – I thought I would get a Blue in lacrosse!”

But the bug had bitten and Emma became Caius’ women’s rowing captain in 2012-13, trialling with the Light Blues in 2013-14, only to be the spare that year. But she came back with a vengeance to get into the lightweights’ boat in 2015 as they beat Oxford by three feet at Henley.

So now it is the time for Victoria to carry on the Walker legacy.

Youngest sibling Victoria, who is in her third year studying medicine at Caius, learnt to row at King’s School, Chester and was the college’s women’s captain last year. And in her first year trialling with CUWBC, has made the lightweight crew.

“I spent most of last year trying to be big enough to be a lightweight,” said Victoria, who like her sister, was a ballet dancer at school.

“There wasn’t really any outward pressure; I put a lot of pressure on myself though.

“I always knew it was something I could do, it was achievable I just had to put in the effort to do it.”

All the family will be at Henley on Sunday to watch Victoria, and it will be a proud moment for their parents, who have become rowing fans.

“I had been rowing for so long before mum and dad came and watched – even the stuff at school, Henley and the Coupe de la Jeunesse,” said Peter.

“They have had three kids at Cambridge so they now talk about it, ask about it and understand it a lot more. I think they felt relieved when Victoria got in the boat.

“There isn’t so much pressure as we were brought up in an encouraging environment.”

Peter also played a role in plans for the the new Caius Boat Club – which opened last year – a place that the three hold in high regard.

“Being part of Caius Boat Club is so very important to us all and we have all been captains there at some point across the past decade and been rowing for the first VIII in every May Bumps that we could,” said Emma.


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