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Sarah Marcella Springman, CBE, FREng (born 26 December 1956) is a British triathlete, civil engineer, and academic. She was educated in England and spent most of her recent career in Switzerland. She is currently the rector of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.


Early life, education and familyEdit

Born in 1956 in London, Springman was educated at Wycombe Abbey, where she was later a Governor from 1993 to 1996[1][2]. She studied soil mechanics at Cambridge University from 1975 to 1979[3]. She then worked as an engineer on geotechnical projects in England, Australia and Fiji, and became a chartered engineer in 1983.[4]

Sporting careerEdit

In addition to being an engineer, she represented Great Britain at the elite level in triathlon from 1983 to 1993, competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games Triathlon in Auckland, New Zealand and winning twenty elite European Triathlon Union (ETU) Championship medals in triathlon and duathlon.[4] Springman served as Vice-President of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) from 1992 to 1996, during which she played an important role in getting triathlon into the Olympics. She stepped down as President of British Triathlon on 31 December 2012 after celebrating Team GB's first triathlon medals won at an Olympic Games and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards in London in 2013.[5] She has again served as ITU's Vice-President since 2008 and is a member of the International Olympic Committee's Sustainability and Legacy Commission. On 18 August 2016 she was chosen as a presentation official at the Olympic triathlon medal ceremony, at which brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee received gold and silver medals for Team GB in Rio de Janeiro.[6][7]

Academic careerEdit

Springman has been professor of geotechnical engineering at ETH Zürich since 1997, and the Deputy Head of the Institute for Geotechnical Engineering since 2007.[1][3] She became Rector of ETH Zürich on 1 January 2015.[8]

The emphasis of Springman's research is on geotechnical modelling of soil structure interaction problems. Including design and construction of abutments, pile foundations, reinforced soil and oil drilling structures, Springman combines physical modelling in a geotechnical centrifuge with numerical modelling so that the data may be used to develop, calibrate or validate new design methods. At ETH Zürich her group uses a 2.2-metre (7 ft) drum geotechnical centrifuge to carry out practical studies on a range of geotechnical problems.[3]

Springman was appointed the rector of ETH Zürich in 2015.



  • Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (Proc. 7th Int. Conference, ICPMG, Zürich), CRC Press 2010, ISBN .
  • P. W. Mayne, M. R. Coop, Sarah Springman, A. B. Huang, J. Zornman State of the Art Paper: GeoMaterial Behavior and Testing, Proc. 17. ICSMGE, Volume 4, Mill Press/IOS Press, Rotterdam 2009, ISBN .
  • Sarah Springman, Phillips, Arenson: Permafrost, Swets und Zeitlinger 2003, ISBN .
  • Constitutive and Centrifuge Modelling – two Extremes, Taylor and Francis 2002, ISBN .


  1. ^ a b "Neue ETH-Rektorin: Sarah Springman" (in German). 10vor10. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Sarah Marcella Springman". Debretts People of Today online. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Ms Prof. Dr. Sarah M. Springman". ETH Zurich. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Professor Sarah Springman CBE, FREng". University of Bath. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  5. ^ a b "ITU Vice President Sarah Springman wins Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  6. ^ "SUSTAINABILITY AND LEGACY COMMISSION". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  7. ^ Powell, Jonathan. "Alistair Brownlee takes gold in the men's triathlon, brother Jonathan wins silver". Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  8. ^ a b c Franziska Schmid (11 July 2014). "Sarah Springman to become Rector of ETH Zurich". ETH Zurich. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  9. ^ "Culture Secretary announces new UK Sport board members" (in German). Department for Culture, Media & Sport. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2014.

External linksEdit