Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in rowing.
I started my journey at UCD in 2017 when I began my undergraduate degree, BA in Economics and French. I was also recovering from a knee injury, and I was researching different treatments that would help the healing process. My Dad suggested I join the UCD rowing team as he heard that this was excellent for muscle rehabilitation. I liked this idea as it would help with my recovery but I also thought it would be a great way to meet people and make friends. My course was so large that it was difficult to make friends so joining a society was a great way to meet new people with similar interests. I immediately bonded with the girls once I joined. I really enjoyed the environment and how the training made me feel. I was surprised by how much I loved the sport and I knew this was something I wanted to continue doing throughout my college experience. I started as a novice and quickly moved up the ranks.
When was the rowing club established?
The Ladies Boat Club was established in 1975, so we are approaching the 50th anniversary in a couple of years. Last February, we had a lovely alumni dinner. I found it amazing that so many previous members were so connected to the Club and that the bond is still so strong. It was also great to see some of our current teammates bring their family members who used to be members of the Club to the dinner. Our alumni were so excited to see our Coach Tom again as he had trained many of them previously. Tom has been coaching rowing for the last 60 years and we are so grateful to have him as our coach.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I train every day, and have a 7am weights session once a week. Then I go to college and attend my lectures. I usually allocate a couple of hours to discuss Club-related matters with the captain and check in with my teammates to make sure they feel ok, as our schedule can be very demanding. I’ll work on my assignments in the evening and I usually finish my day with a training session on the gym rowing machines. I typically spend all of Saturday and Sunday in the water training for upcoming competitions. At the moment, we are training heavily for the Henley Women’s Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta.
What life skills have you learned from being a member of the Ladies Boat Club?
I’ve learned so many life skills from being a team member. Rowing has made me an extremely focused person, and it has taught me to be resilient, dedicated and determined. My work on the rowing committee has allowed me to learn budgeting, management and organisation skills. It has also hugely benefited my college work as it is an excellent form of stress relief. I am currently undertaking my Masters in Smurfit, and it can be highly stressful, but rowing is great for mental health as well as physical. My teammates have also inspired me as I see how they balance part-time jobs, college work and training. I feel that surrounding myself with such hardworking people has hugely benefited me. It has also given me a group of girls to whom I am incredibly close. The friendships that I have made will always be one of the greatest things I have gained from the Club.
Could you please tell us about your participation in the Henley Rowing Regatta 2022?
Henley is our main focus of the year and it’s extremely important to everyone on the team. We have entered the Henley Women’s Regatta and the Henley Royal Regatta, which are specifically for women’s academic eights categories. Back in 2021, we won the Senior 8+’s at the University Championships. We entered in April 2022 to defend our title and we won again, which was fantastic. There has been a huge improvement in our performance over the past few years. Our recent wins have resulted in the team being promoted to the Championship 8+ Division at Henley Women’s Regatta. We weren’t expecting this, but we are so excited to race against some of the best varsity crews, including Brown and Berkeley. It will be competitive, but we’re up for the challenge!
I know that any financial support you receive is very much appreciated. What impact do these gifts have on the Club?
Financial aid is crucial to the success of the Club. We are going up against some of the best universities worldwide, so we must have the resources to match our training. We would also love to name our new boat after Tom to celebrate his 60th year of coaching and to be able to assist the team with their expenses for Henley, as it is entirely self-funded and can be very expensive. We are so appreciative of any support and all donations, no matter the amount, it makes a huge difference to the team.