School: Crofton House School
International rowing record: n/a
Year started rowing: 2011
How have you coped this year?
Focusing on the silver linings. Even if we couldn’t race, I was grateful to be on the team because I knew it was good for my mental health to have a community, a training programme and goals to work towards. I was also able to spend extra time with my family this year and that really helped my mental wellbeing.
Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?
I think it has definitely been harder to build a community than in past years. Lots of time on Zoom helped, from erg sessions to nutrition and sports psych to social calls. Also, Trial VIIIs week was really fun, especially for me because it was my first time meeting the squad in person.
Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?
I used to truly hate erging alone. Although many sessions this year were mentally (and physically) challenging, I definitely got better at training alone and it’s less daunting to sit down by myself than it was a year ago.
What was your lockdown training set up?
In Oxford I live in a uni flat which is small but luckily has huge windows. There is literally an inch between the end of my erg and my bed, and a foot between my erg and my desk. Our cleaner asked one of my flatmates if the erg noises he heard every morning were my snores…
How do you cope with race day nerves?
Keeping myself busy so I don’t have time to get overwhelmed, and usually spending 10 to 15 minutes visualizing the race.
The biggest challenge?
The timeframe that we have to select an eight and get it going. I was in Canada when we got the news that we could return to training, and it was stressful to hurry back here as quickly as possible, take about a million Covid -19 tests and finish my quarantine so I could join selection.
The toughest session?
7+ by 90” intervals. Beyond seven pieces you can choose when to stop the workout which causes some mental anguish during the rest intervals.
The best day, so far?
We had a training day at Dorney which was not that enjoyable in the moment but looking back on it I was so happy to be rowing an eight and riding around in the minibuses with the team like it was a normal year.
Only the Blue Boat races on the 4th April 2021: What’s it like splitting the squad?
I understand why it happened, but it’s disheartening and strange, to be honest. Everyone has been giving it their all on the erg this winter, so I wish there were more opportunities to demonstrate the work they’ve put in. The announcement that we were cutting down the group was quite sudden, which didn’t help.
Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?
Yes, definitely, I think it makes the whole team weaker since we can’t train side by side in eights, as well as missing the energy of a larger group. Of course, the consolation is that Cambridge is in the same situation.
How did it feel getting back on the water?
I haven’t even been back on the water yet. I am writing this as I wait for test results that will (hopefully) release me from quarantine.
Why do you want to beat Cambridge?
Because they’ve had it coming for two years now.