My rowing journey began here in Windsor at our local rowing club, Eton Excelsior Rowing Club.
My Dad, who stumbled across the club while out on a run, decided to take up the sport in his early 40s, and I think as a form of cheap babysitting, he used to take me with him. At the time there wasn’t any junior rowing at the club, so Dad set one up embarking on a bronze level coaching course, and I became the club’s first junior rower as a twelve-year-old. Initially there was only a handful of us, but the junior part of the club quickly grew, and today Eton Excelsior has one of the biggest junior rowing programs in the country.
My first rowing race was local near Staines. I caught a ‘crab’ (this is where the oar gets stuck in the water, usually upside down), I lost balance and fell in! Safe to say I lost the race, but I absolutely loved it! In fact, I fell in so many times (and occasionally still do!), that I was awarded the now inaugural ‘swimmer’ award for the most capsizes in one season. I continued to row at Eton Excelsior until I started secondary school at Abingdon School. Whilst I rowed at school, then at my undergraduate university LSE, it wasn’t really until I was in my last year at university that I started to take rowing more seriously. I was captain of the University of London Boat Club (ULBC), and I was trialling for the GB u23 team – the stepping stone to the senior Olympic team. The season went really well, and I was selected in the GB u23 team, and had my first senior race at the European Championships in the summer of 2012, after the London Olympics.