The UCLU Elite programme supports accomplished athletes on campus. This international rower touches on his career so far and on his year ahead with ULBC.
I started rowing aged 13 at Abingdon School, but for all the wrong reasons really. I wasn’t very sporty but had to choose a sport, so I chose rowing as it happened to be the easiest to skive! That first year I went to only a few training sessions and to only one regatta; but that one regatta changed everything. The J16 crew, two years above me, didn’t have a cox and I was put in at the last minute; from then on I was hooked. I became very competitive and always set myself goals that I felt I had to achieve: first to get the ‘Boat Club Tie’ by competing in three or more races for the school, then to get into the school’s 1st VIII, then to get into the British team. It took my whole five years at school, but I managed all of them.
I was selected in 2008 to compete at the Junior World Championships, where I won silver in the coxed four, and from this result was selected to cox the men’s eight at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival 2009, winning a gold medal.
After a less than satisfactory ninth place at the U23 World Championships in the summer of 2009, I started Geography at UCL. Surviving the Freshers’ Fortnight, I joined the University of London Boat Club – a club that has many Olympic and World Champions medallists to its name, some of them still coaching at the Club. A year in London juggling study, training, and socialising paid off this summer: bronze at the U23 World Championships in July, followed by gold at the World University Championships in August.
This year should be exciting for UL rowing. There is now a good balance in the squad, which has men and women who have competed for the British team already and also athletes who started as novices when they began university but are now on the cusp of breaking into the team. My aim for the year is for us to be the best university crew in the country, and to improve on our bronze at the U23 Worlds next summer. Winning Rio 2016 is my long-term goal.