It has been a while since we last caught up, how have you been?
I’m good, I’m currently rehabbing out In New Zealand. Feeling extremely lucky and grateful to experience an incredible country with my fiancé. A lot of my thoughts are with everyone back home, my sister has just become a nurse and my mother is a teacher so front line work, it makes me rather nervous about the unknown back home.
2020 was a tough year for everyone. Having the games cancelled on top of everything must have been so upsetting. How did you manage this?
2020 was an extremely challenging year for everyone, my personal overall take on this global pandemic is such that I couldn’t and didn’t want to be selfish and full of pity, people are dying… and some things are just a lot bigger than sport. I feel lucky to be educated enough on everything going on, but I am still learning, mainly because my partner is a Doctor. Seeing things from a different perspective is always helpful when going through adversity.
There must have been significant changes to your training especially in lockdown one – how did you keep it going?
Big changes to training were certainly put in place that made training rather tedious and difficult at times. In the first lockdown training almost became a novelty, being away from the same training venues, and spending more time at home was kind of nice I hate to admit, however the novelty wears thin very quickly and is replaced with resentment and monotony when doing endless kilometres on a rowing machine in your shed.
I kept going because of the resilience that has helped me perform under adversity many times before. I’m lucky enough to be able to block things out and get on with the job in hand. The biggest issue became the ongoing of all of this, the light at the end of the tunnel is almost extinguished and the constant treading water because of the unknown.
How did you motivate yourself with no races to push you on?
Being able to push when under the pump kind of goes hand in hand with the game. Rowing is a very monotonous sport where we crunch an awful lot of kilometres in the constant pursuit of perfection, with very little exposure to racing. The experience of grinding through my second Olympic cycle has meant I’ve dug very deep and cracked on many times before, so you could say I’m almost conditioned to the situation of ‘pushing on’ with little motivation.
Who did you miss most in 2020?
My Mother, she’s an angel and I won’t have anything bad said about her! Jokes aside I really did miss / do miss her along with my sister. They are both amazing women doing incredible things in our society under high risk, I continuously worry about the pair of them..
The passing of our next door neighbours has hit pretty hard, we are a very small family and they pretty much became our grand parents for my sister and I growing up. Two wonderful people I miss very much.
Did you do / learn anything new in lockdown?
Lockdown taught me a lot of things. A big one was to LISTEN! I’m a very lively character and wear my heart on my sleeve. Sport creates a beast, and you become numb with selfish traits.
How precious certain friendships are, and how crucial they are too! A support network is vital especially in difficult situations as such. Not to take anything for granted and not to judge a book by its cover, something I was very unconscious of doing.
What are your top tips for staying positive?
Talk, one I’m now very conscious of, and something I didn’t think went hand in hand with my alfa male tendencies.
Don’t bottle things up until you explode. Work with people and show the people you love how special they are to you!
Staying positive isn’t sustainable if its enforced. Make your bed, get exercise and stroke dogs!
What was your most positive 2020 moment?
Getting engaged on New years eve!
How are you coping with the uncertainty of 2021?
Uncertainty is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with an obstacle I’m still overcoming.
How is training going now? Are you optimistic for the GB rowing team this summer?
Rehab is going well! I feel like I’ve made big gains after nursing various injuries.
There is life in the old dog yet!
What event, other than rowing will you be watching keenly this summer?
Well its summer in New Zealand and I’m finding the Americas’ cup very intriguing!
Ive always been fascinated by the 100m I think its because I don’t have a fast twitch fibre in my body and rather envious of the purity in that race. If the Olympics does go ahead I’ll be sure to be watching that one!
What are you most looking forward to once this pandemic is all over?
Being able to hug my mum! And getting back in the hydrotherapy pool of course!!