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Oarsome Rower with Olympic Silver talks to Tribesports!

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Posted by Rose K under Rowing on 7 April 2012 at 7:00 AM

If you could have any celebrity cox, who would it be and and why?

Michael Douglas (celebrity hairdresser from the One Show). Met him the other day and he’s loudmouthed, cheeky and small enough to give any of the current coxes a run for their money!

What is your favourite post-workout food?

Although not strictly the right food… chicken kievs, spicy wedges, peas with reggae reggae sauce! Then an entire strawberry trifle (packing a nicely refuelling 3000 calories.)

Did you have any superstitions/rituals before a race?

I think I’m quite OCD. Will do things in my head like having to turn the lights on and off in my bedroom 5 times before leaving for a training session. I also have a lucky visor. Its camouflage with my regimental badge on the front and I wore it for every rowing session I ever did till the Olympics. The only 2 times I rowed without it were the semi final and the final of the Olympics (maybe that’s why we only won a silver!)

Where do you keep your medals, do you ever out them on and pretend you are back on the podium?!

I keep all rowing medals etc. in my loo at home. The Olympic one is in an old gym sock in my drawer.

What is your most disgusting rowing-related story? 

I was having a pee in the urinals in the Olympic village and one of the most famous sportsmen in the world went straight from the urinal to the hand dryer without washing his hands…

In your opinion, is the army a good entry route into sport? Would you have taken up rowing in such a big way if you hadn't been in the forces?

The whole story of how I got into serious rowing is all army related. It’s a very long story! If you’re a good sportsperson I wouldn’t suggest joining the army in order to pursue sporting goals. The army is far too busy these days to spare people for long periods of time. I was just very lucky and had the backing of my regiment which was fairly unusual.

If you hadn't taken up rowing, what would you have done and why?

If I hadn’t taken up rowing I would have probably ended up being arty and alternative! I was rubbish at most other sports so would have avoided rugby or football and would have spent my time in the art studio or listening to heavy metal and dyeing my hair black. Probably…

Lycra: needs-must or guilty pleasure?

Guilty pleasure?! Being such an innocent young man I hadn’t realised that all the girls in the university rowing team 10 years ago would be checking out our packages and never knew that they had such a one track mind…. (fully expecting a backlash on that comment!) Lycra, unfortunately is a necessity in rowing. You get super hot and sweaty (especially in a hot climate) and need as much skin exposed to keep you cool. There are also a lot of moving parts in rowing and you can’t risk getting something caught in the seat or round the oar handle (and for all you girls out there I am referring to loose clothing – get your minds out of the gutter!)  

You have to spend a lot of time with your crew. What's the secret to getting along in a team?

I would say I’m not necessarily best friends with everyone I rowed with. Doing sport at that level is a job and you need to get on with everyone you work with to a degree. I have some guys in the crew I’ll be extremely good friends with for life however, and I think the team works when everyone respects each other’s ability and drive to put in their very best performance. I knew there were 7 other guys willing to break themselves to achieve exactly the same things I wanted to.

How would you describe how you got on in the team, are you a leader or a follower?

Never been much of a sheep so I would say leader (only mentioned in case ex-army bosses are reading this and would expect me to say so!). I had a bit of a reputation for never being satisfied with a training session or the technical performance or little details, in other words, moaning and whingeing! Although I’d always argue that I was being a perfectionist…

If you were a Tribe leader, what would your tribe be and why?

All I know is that I’d choose a hot country to locate it in. Am bored of the years and years of rowing in the British wind and rain (no wonder the kids I teach when asked how old I am said 40!) Maybe a hot country with a good reputation for skin care products…Australia?

Can you set a Challenge to the Tribesports users?

Ok. The challenge… Set yourself a sporting goal for 2012/13. Choose something far beyond what you think you can do. If you’ve only ever run 2 miles before aim for a marathon. If you like swimming and cycling, aim for an ironman. If you aim for it and achieve it, the resulting effects will shape your life forever! You will realise that most things are possible if you set your mind to it. I used to do some personal training and you see it far too often: people setting their sights so low and convincing themselves that they can’t do it. The best way to do this is sign up for something big, pay your enormous entry fee and then you’re forced to commit! The biggest hurdle is signing up in the first place. The rest will just happen… believe me!

So in training for your BIG Challenge for the year, why not take some of our rowing Challenges:

Boat Race Distance - Challenge yourself with the gruelling 6.8K distance of the Oxford and Cambridge annual Boat Race.

Row 500m in 2 minutes - Get your split time down to a respectable sub-2 minutes.

Row 2000m in under 8 minutes - 2000m is an excellent test of your cardio-vascular endurance and to achieve a sub-8 minutes is pretty impressive!

Rowing Intervals 10 x 300m in 1 minute 20 - Practising your rowing sprint and recovery will improve your fitness across the board.

50 rowing strokes a day for a week (without the machine) - if you don't have access to an ergo than work your core with these static crunches.

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