Joining the boat club when I got to University was an easy decision. Rowing since I was in Year 9, my main two questions attending University open days were “how good is the boat club” and “how good is Sports Science”. It goes without saying that Exeter came out number one.
Rowing in my first year was a great way to make friends. The girls you row with become your social circle and cheesy though it is, will be your friends all through university and way beyond graduation. It’s not uncommon for rowers that graduated two years ago to come back and pay the squad a visit, with the same being said for those that quit rowing at some point throughout university life holding onto the social ties they’ve made during their time at EUBC (Exeter University Boat Club).
Not only does sport at university boast one of the best ways to meet new people, it also aids significantly in organising my life to keep my studies on track. A lot of people perceive rowing to be a hindrance to my studies, not understanding how I can train twice a day and still have the time and energy to attend lectures and do the extra reading. The secret is that actually, having a morning training session means I’m up and out of bed, having finished training before most people are rolling over to the sound of their alarm clock. This puts me one step ahead of the game, as were I not training my motivation to get out of bed in the morning to write up lecture notes would be limited. Weekend water sessions are also a great stress relief. To have that period of time blocked out to focus on something other than my course can be really beneficial and refreshing. It clears your head, satisfies a need to socialise and prepares you to take on the following week. Being a sports science student training in a high performance environment also allows me to apply knowledge from my lectures to situations within my sport, whether that be nutrition, strength and conditioning or sport psychology. The two complement each other perfectly, as having insider knowledge also means I can train smarter too!
Although it can be tough at times, the rewards definitely outweigh the benefits. There’s no feeling much like crossing that finish line in first place, knowing all the hard graft and dedication you’ve put in has been worth it. The moment is often made better when you turn in the boat to see your crew mates faces lit with joy, a sense of solidarity between all the girls that together you have achieved something fantastic. One particular memory shines bright in my mind from 2016 BUCS Regatta in Nottingham. The EUBC girls had put in months and months of hard work, training night and day, and we’d finally made it to last day of the event after torturous winds, torrential rain and freezing cold temperatures. Over the weekend we had won numerous medals, (claiming two BUCS gold medals myself) and were proving ourselves to be a strong squad. Little did we know that we’d actually topped the points table, meaning we were the best women’s rowing program in the UK alongside the University of London. Exeter University Boat Club, tiny in comparison to most programs, had shown ourselves to be mighty, and we’d shown ourselves to be the best.
Now in my third year at Exeter, and EUBC’s senior women’s captain I’m looking to help push the squad further on in the hope of reclaiming our BUCS title and snatching a top 10 finish at Women’s Head of the River in March. This year will certainly be a challenge as I aim towards graduating with a first class honours degree, and look further ahead to my career in exercise physiology, but with the rowing squad by my side I’m sure it will be a fun year regardless.