When I was 17 I realized I had the potential to be pretty good at rowing so I focused solely on training for this sport. At 18 I won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships after a successful years training. After some thought I decided to move to Henley and train as a full time athlete, and luckily I was fortunate enough to get funding from the lottery through British Rowing to able to do this. I set a new British Junior record that November and also became British Champion in the lightweight double sculls. I have won a silver medal at the U23 World Championships and came 4th at the World Championships.
I can’t remember a period in my life where I wasn’t being active. Humans are born to do exercise and it forms part of a healthy lifestyle. There is a sport for everyone so no excuse to be doing nothing!
I’ve always been interested in sport, whether it be watching or playing, as there is nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment when all that hard work and sacrifice pays off in competition or by getting a PB.
Coming to university, whether it be straight from sixth form, after a gap year, or as a mature student is a daunting experience. Durham is different to most Uni’s as it uses a collegiate system. I think the college system works so well as it gives you the sense of community within Durham and provides you with a large group of friends from the offset.
At school sport is part of the education and so to take it seriously you have to train outside of normal hours to be competitive but most people don’t have the freedom or resources available they need in order to reach their full potential. In British Universities sport is a big deal, and at Durham, although academic work is put first of course, a lot goes into supporting every sport here. I study engineering which takes up quite a bit of time and so to fit in 12 sessions of rowing training a week whilst still trying to have a social life can be sometimes quite a difficult task. If you want to succeed at any part of life time management is key and it is highly important to have that skill coming into University as a Student Athlete. To do well you need goals to motivate yourself, I like to set small goals every few weeks or so as sometimes the bigger picture can be quite hard to process. When I say goals, I mean anything, for example; Setting yourself a goal of getting certain amount of sleep, or getting a 2:1 on the next formative, or improving on a fitness test. I find when you have the goal in mind, and think about the feeling of accomplishment, it makes the boring training sessions or early nights easier to maintain. It is much easier at University to stray from you goals because you are the most independent you’ve been, you don’t have your parents telling you what to do, or compulsory lectures to attend so being disciplined with it from the start will get you into a good habit.
Team Durham have the S&C staff, doctors, coaches, and equipment for any athlete to flourish. It’s up to you in the end to make the decision.