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australian rowers profiles and history

Freya Willis

Oxford University Women's Boat Club, Magdalen College Boat Club (2021-), City of Oxford Rowing Club (2021-2022)

Freya commenced her rowing at Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne racing in the Victorian premier schoolgirls rowing event the Head of the Schoolgirls in 2011 and 2013.

Upon leaving MLC in 2014, Freya continued her studies at Australian National University graduating with first class honours in both Arts and Law. Sadly Freya's rowing went on hold until 2021 when she continued her studies at Oxford University.

The award of a Rhodes scholarship in 2021 enabled her to continue her history studies and re-commence her rowing at Magdalen College, Oxford University.

Her racing with the City of Oxford Rowing Club enabled her to qualify for Henley Women's Regatta in 2022, and her rowing with the Magdalen College Boat Club led to a seat in The Boat Race blue boat in 2023.

This interest in the sport is continuing with Freya racing at 2023 Henley Royal Regatta in the Island Challenge Cup at the time this profile was written. 

Freya provided some interesting sporting insights into her rowing in the rower biography for The Boat Race.

In response to the question on how does being an athlete make you a better person, her response was insightful:

It teaches you a lot of skills that are broadly applicable to all areas of life: teamwork, discipline, determination, resilience. Sport has helped me to grow my confidence and self-esteem and to challenge myself to do things I would have never thought possible.

Equally interesting was her response to the question - Why do you think someone outside of the sport can relate to your career as an athlete so far? Freya responded that:

My sporting career is, in many ways, incredibly ordinary. I was never a star athlete; I haven’t been doing the same sport since a young age. I just kept working at it and trying new things until I found something I really liked, and anybody can do that.

Known rowing history

2011 – Head of Schoolgirls, 4X+ Division 2, 2 seat, 2nd place
2013 – Head of Schoolgirls, Open 4X+ Division 3, 3 seat, 3rd place
2013 - National Championships, Schoolgirl Quad - unplaced
2022 – Henley Women's Regatta, Club 4, quarter finalist. 
2023 – The Boat Race, Oxford University, 4 seat - Second

Flynn Snowden and Andrew Guerin
June 2023


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