Our Squad

Jessica Johnson

Jessica Johnson

Chief of Staff
Head of Cakes & Baking

  • Age: 27
  • Club: Imperial College
  • Height: 158cm
  • Hometown: Cambridge
  • Occupation: Nuclear Medicine Physicist
  • Rowing standard: Mediocre. More used to the coxing seat
  • K18 goal: To support the team to the finish line however I can, to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes, and to embrace the amazing adventure
  • 3 skills you bring to the team: Enthusiasm, organisation and a smile, always
  • Biggest fear for the expedition: Letting the team down, animals in my tent, and sunburn!

Having spent the previous 18 years bossing my four tall brothers around, it seemed only natural to start coxing as a fresher at Imperial. I quickly learnt there was a lot more to coxing, and was absolutely hooked. Whilst it wasn’t necessarily beneficial to my Physics degree, I owe a lot to the sport and the boat club for how it helped me to develop into the person I am now.

Nine years later and I’m still yet to fully master the rowing part of the sport. Every attempt to train in a single has ended up with someone swimming or paddling out to me, too fast for me to escape, and capsizing me. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen on the Kafue! Since my university days I’ve found myself travelling the world as much as I can and dabbling in a variety of other sports (ones where I don’t just sit still) such as cycling, running and open water swimming – another thing which won’t be happening in the Kafue!

Nowadays I work as a Nuclear Medicine Physicist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, working primarily in cancer care. The expedition will be my fourth visit to Africa – a continent which stole my heart when I first visited Cape Town ten years ago, and Uganda a few years later. My last visit to Africa a couple of years ago involved driving over 2000km between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg, so I’m under no illusions about the kind of roads I’ll be travelling along in support vehicles!

What is motivating me this year:
My visits to Africa and my work at Addenbrooke’s Hospital have fuelled my passion for helping others and supporting worthy causes, and this expedition provides the perfect opportunity to do this. Without clean water my job would be infinitely harder and some aspects would be impossible, and without traits instilled in me when actively part of a rowing team, I might not have been empowered enough to stick out all the years of training to qualify as a Clinical Scientist. So, whilst I hope I won’t need any of my specialist Nuclear Physics knowledge, I hope I can use some of my other skills and qualities to help to make K18 a success and I’ll do all I can to support the team members who are going to be doing the physical hard work on the water.

Fun fact about me:
I’ve played the trumpet since I was 8, and have found myself on stage in London a few times. I could also be found on YouTube – but don’t search for it! I certainly won’t be bringing my trumpet to Zambia for wake-up calls.

our squad

Zoe De Toledo
Zoƫ De Toledo

Olympic Silver Medallist
European Rowing Championships Gold Medallist

Mouse Thornycroft
Micheen (Mouse) Thornycroft

2 time Zimbabwean Olympic Rower
2017 Filippi Spirit Award Winner

Desmond Nanchengwa

Top Single Male Sculler In Zambia
Competed In 3 World Championship Events

See the whole squad

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