10:41AM, Wednesday 23 March 2016
A rower who took his first steps towards sporting stardom at The Windsor Boys’ School is preparing to compete in one of the world’s oldest sporting events.
James White, 19, has been selected in the Oxford University crew for this year’s Cancer Research UK Boat Race which takes place on Sunday (March, 27).
His appearance in the race marks a rapid progression in the sport as only a few years ago the oarsman was selling programmes alongside his former TWBS team-mates at the historic event.
James said: “I remember when I was a member of The Windsor Boys’ School Boat Club we used to go and watch the race every year and sell programmes but I never expected to be involved in it.
“But for me, there’s not much difference between doing this and competing in events like the National Championships.
“I owe it to the club and my schools to make the most of the opportunity.”
James, who grew up in Peel Close, only started rowing when he joined the Maidenhead Road school back in 2009.
And he paid tribute to both his former team-mates and former coach Mark Wilkinson for helping him at the start of his career.
James added: “Mark really did help me in a lot of different ways. He told me that I had natural ability but I needed to work. He installed a sense of pride.
“Without Mark I don’t think I can say I would have achieved what I have done.”
At just 19-years-old, the second-year geography student is the youngest member from both crews at this year’s race.
But the former Henley Royal Regatta finalist told the Express he had no fears about his age
“I don’t feel like I’m the baby, I feel like I’m an equal member of the squad,” he said.
“I’ve got a lot of trust with the guys that I row with and I know how good we are.”
Henry Smith, another former member of TWBS Boat Club, also competed for Oxford in the Lightweight race against Cambridge in Henley on Saturday (March, 19).