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Alumna Olympic rower Imogen Grant: ‘Your river needs you’

Alumna Imogen Grant, a medical doctor and veteran of three winning Boat Race crews, is currently preparing for her second Olympics. She is an Ambassador for the Rivers Trust and at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Rowing Regatta this weekend she will encourage students to participate in the Big River Watch. 

Why do you support the Rivers Trust?

As a rower, my days revolve around water. Britain’s rivers are a vital part of our ecosystem, and if we don’t support them they can’t support us in the future. I became an Ambassador for the Rivers Trust to speak up about sustainability in the UK, and to campaign for healthier rivers.

What is the Big River Watch?

We don’t know enough about the state of our local rivers to accurately report their health, and the Big River Watch collects that information through citizen science.

The spring Big River Watch takes place 3-6 May and is one of the most important campaigns that The Rivers Trust runs. More than 5000 people took part in the first Big River Watch last year and we want to more people to participate.

What will you be doing this weekend?

I will be at BUCS Rowing Regatta over the Big River Watch Weekend, encouraging student rowers to download the app, and watch their local river once they are home from the regatta. Every rower has a special connection to the place they row, so taking part means we have some control over our local rivers.

We download the Big River Watch app, and spend 15 minutes watching our local river, recording what we see on the app and taking a photo of the scene. This information is collected and analysed and used to report on national river health

What is your latest rowing achievement?

My doubles partner Emily and I started the season with a Gold Medal at the World Cup I, a great way to start the season. We will be racing at World Cup II in a few weeks’ time, hoping to defend our wins.

 What are you focused on rowing wise at the moment?

The main goal for the year is the Paris Olympics in July. It’s really exciting that we are almost there, and I want to enjoy the next few months as we complete our final preparations.

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