Tim Koch: Tell me about your French heritage.
Alec Dent: My Mother is French and my Father is British, I moved to Paris when I was one and lived there until I was ten. I have a large French family and go back there often for holidays.
TK: How did your rowing career start?
AD: When I was 10 I was at the Dragon School in Oxford where they had a sculling club. Later I went to Harrow School and they had a very small boat club but it was quite low level so really the only time I have rowed properly is at Oxford in the last three years.
TK: You are the elected President of Oxford University Boat Club. Can you explain what this means?
AD: On paper, the President can choose crews, coaches and so on but really he hands over power to the coach…. (because) while OUBC is still a student organization, it has got really big today……
TK: You resigned the Presidency for a time. Why was this?
AD: Because of an injury I had, I felt that I could not do a good job…..traditionally the President rows, he does not have to, but I do not think that you can be a particularly good President if you do not….
TK: Very noble. What qualities do you think you have that got you elected President by the various college boat clubs?
AD: (Embarrassed) I think I am seen as determined and always pushing myself (and sometimes that has been detrimental to my performance) …. but also I think I am pretty approachable and am the sort of guy who gets on with everyone in the club, so I feel that I can help bring people together.
TK: I asked your mother what ‘French qualities’ and what ‘English qualities’ helped get you where you are today. What do you think they might be?
AD: I really am a mix of the two…. my French qualities, let me think……?
TK: Perhaps I am unfair, perhaps I should say the qualities that you get from your Father and the qualities you get from your Mother….she said that your sporty side was her and your stubbornness was from your father.
AD: Father would say ‘anything is possible, just go for it’, Mother’s influence has helped me to get on and make really good friends with people in the club – which helps your performance, you enjoy it a lot more…. The first Frenchman to row in the race was Bastien Ripoll who stroked Oxford in 2006 but my French friends and cousins do not really ‘get it’, it’s a strange concept to them…. the idea of doing sport at school or university is not a priority for most people in France…… but now they will see the Boat Race on TV… they will still think I’m mad, but perhaps they will come to understand that it was worth it.
TK: Thank you for the interview.