School: St Joseph’s College, Trent Vale
International rowing record: n/a
Year you first started rowing: 2008
How have you coped this year?
I have coped with the adversity, uncertainty and pressures of the year because my teammates have had my back every step of the way. I am accountable to the team every day, and this gives me a purpose. If I am having a bad day, someone immediately has my back, and this works both ways. I also have to remind myself to focus on one step at a time, no matter how small that step may be.
Could you build a strong team culture while training virtually?
This is my fourth year on the team, and I can say without a doubt that the team culture this year is the strongest it has ever been. The adversities we have faced have meant that we have learnt to be more open and honest with one another, and we are all now incredibly close. On a practical level, we do this over the phone, on Zoom and activities range from writing groups to Sunday night socials.
Were the isolated ergs better or worse than expected?
In the lockdowns before Christmas, I found the isolated training in lockdown manageable, and I even managed to get a 5k PB. However, I found the most recent period of isolated training very difficult. Ergs felt like they took forever, and I just desperately wanted to be on the water.
What was your lockdown training set up?
I had an erg, a spin bike that looks like it was straight out of the 90’s, and a pretty decent set of Olympic weights, so I felt pretty lucky in this sense. The majority of my training was done in my family garage, I think the neighbours found it interesting/entertaining at the very least.
How do you cope with race day nerves?
I have some fairly industrial noise cancelling headphones, and these go on about 40 minutes before I put my hands on the boat. I have a pretty specific set of songs that I listen to in this time.
The biggest challenge?
When the squad was split and only the top 12 were allowed back on the water, I found this pretty challenging. The squad is such a tight knit group, and I took a lot of time to process this.
The toughest session?
Our Fartlek sessions are pretty hard, we build a lot of lactate up in this session and its never surprising when I feel like I might vomit by the end.
The best day, so far?
Our first day back on the water last week was pretty incredible. I also loved Trial VIIIs this season.
Only the Blue Boat races on the 4th April 2021: What’s it like splitting the squad?
I found this pretty heart-breaking. We are one squad, so to be split down the middle is obviously not what anyone wanted. But ultimately, we all have a job to do, and the 12 athletes that have returned to the water need to create the fastest eight possible, so we can win come the 4th of April.
Is it strange to train without the reserve eight?
Yes, it is very strange. Normally by this point in the season we would be doing a lot of side-by-side paddling, practising blade clashes etc. So to not be doing this and having the friendly rivalry is very odd.
How did it feel getting back on the water?
Why do you want to beat Oxford?
I just don’t like losing – regardless of the opposition. But after last year’s race cancellation, this year’s race feels long overdue, so I am hungrier than ever for a win.