School: Yarm School
International rowing record: Represented GB at 2018 Coupe de la Jeunesse, winning gold in the eight and bronze in the pair
Year started rowing: 2013
How have you coped this year?
It has been more important than ever this year to have supportive teammates. Being able to talk about how training is going and how hard lockdown can be with teammates that are not only going through a similar situation but are also great friends has been really helpful.
Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?
Thankfully we spent the first two months of the season training in person which was really important in enabling us to get to know new teammates and come together as a team. Spending time apart during the lockdowns in November and the start of this year made it more difficult, but we still met over Zoom for training and socials.
Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?
If you had told me this time last year that I would only be training on the water for three of the next twelve months I would have dreaded the isolated land training. But it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be, and I have definitely got more used to it. It has also provided the opportunity to do more cross training than we’d usually get to do, and it’s been fun to discover some great runs and cycles round Oxford.
What was your lockdown training set up?
I’ve been very lucky that my college have allowed me to use a spare college room to erg in. It has been great to have some separation between training and studying and relaxing. When I’m in my “erg room” I know I’m training and when I’m in my bedroom I can focus on my degree.
How do you cope with race day nerves?
I try to remember all the work I’ve put into the season to prepare for the race. I think especially in a club like OUWBC where the whole season is focused on winning the Boat Race, when it gets to race day, we’re all well-prepared, we’ve done the long ergs, the weights sessions and discussed our team tactics. It’s just about putting into place what we have been practising all season.
The biggest challenge?
Probably the uncertainty – being told we weren’t going to get to race two weeks before the Boat Race last year was really hard and there was always the possibility that we might not get to race this year either.
And the toughest session you do?
The toughest sessions have to be the erg tests. Although they’re rarely fun at the time, I can now sit on the start line knowing that I have pushed myself in training, have seen improvement and am ready to race hard.
The best day, so far?
The first day back after each lockdown. Everyone is in high spirits and excited to be on the water after weeks of erging alone. I always expect the rowing to take a long time to get back to where we were, but the boats come together so quickly.
Only the Blue Boat races on the 4th April 2021: What’s it like splitting the squad?
It’s been really hard knowing that half the team aren’t able to train on the water and are on the erg for another few weeks. They are my friends as well as my teammates and I miss training as a whole squad.
Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?
Definitely. At this point in the season we’d usually have both eights training alongside each other and cheering each other on in hard pieces.
How did it feel getting back on the water?
I was so excited to be back on the water and thankful that British Rowing have supported our return to rowing. Being on the water is so much better than erging.
Why do you want to beat Cambridge?
I want to beat Cambridge as much for my teammates as for myself. I know how hard we have worked towards this race, and to win alongside these incredible teammates would mean so much.