Ollie Parish

Club: CUBC

Height: 184cm

School: St. Paul’s School

International rowing record: Junior Worlds gold and silver (8+ 2018, 4- 2019)

Year you first started rowing: 2013/2014

How have you coped this year?

It has been difficult to keep motivation up without the on-water social component of the rowing. Staying in touch with the squad was important to try to recreate the squad feeling as much as possible during lockdown.

Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?

We used regular Zoom calls with the whole squad, meetings with the squads and coaches, occasionally erging live through Zoom and less structured social calls to try to keep the squad atmosphere and motivation.

Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?

It has been a good opportunity for the squad as a whole to get very fit, making the most of this unusual period of focused land training. Looking on the lockdowns as opportunities was important for keeping morale up.

What was your lockdown training set up?

I did ergs outside in the garden when the weather permitted. At the start of the lockdown I bought a small gym fan from Amazon which was extremely helpful.

How do you cope with race day nerves?

If I’m nervous I will try to visualise the start and the race plan and go through the race in my head. This helps a lot, and it builds an internal confidence that whatever happens I’m prepared. Otherwise listening to music and taking my mind off the race.

The biggest challenge?

Building up the crews after not being on the water for three months to racing four weeks later. This is going to be difficult but there is a lot of experience within our squad so I am confident we will get it right.

The toughest session?

The 5k test on the C2 is a difficult one, possibly the hardest piece we do. Its clear impact on selection always heightens the pressure and nerves around this piece.

The best day, so far?

Trial VIIIs was a lot of fun, we had a great race. As a dry run for the Boat Race too, it was exciting, making the race feel much more real.

Only the Blue Boat races on the 4th April 2021: What’s it like splitting the squad?

It’s really tough to have to train without so many key squad members. With less of the squad there is less of the squad atmosphere but ensuring the Blue Boat can race is the most important thing this year.

Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?

It’s a very different atmosphere from the whole squad training we are used to but every day it reminds us how lucky we are to be able to train. We need to make the most of the time and do it for the guys stuck at home.

How did it feel getting back on the water?

It’s amazing to able to train on the water again. We are all extremely grateful for the opportunity. Being able to train on the water, after months of indoor training is a very welcome change.

Why do you want to beat Oxford?

This year we’ve got to defend our water. It’s exciting to bring the world to where we train day in day out and race on home water. It would be even better if we could come away with a win.