I am A Rower ...
LISTEN TO MARLOW’S STORY
“When you’ve been out in the cold and pushed yourself hard with your squad, you get into the changing rooms and there’s a euphoria – a sense of ‘I did that’.”
I needed to do a third sport for my PE GCSE and my teacher recommended rowing, so I applied for a place on a learn to row course at Eton College. There, I was put straight into a fine single and I learned to scull the hard way – I think I capsized every morning over six days. I caught the bug for it though, and when I came back, I realised that there was a rowing club at the bottom of my road at the Lea.
I was a high-performance swimmer at the time and when I transitioned to rowing, I thought it would be the same intensity or perhaps even a bit less, but it’s actually become quite a bit more intense with the mileage. At school, I probably did 10 training sessions at the club in a week; I now do 12 which I fit in between three jobs: my main job as a model, construction work and some coaching for the rowing club.
Looking back, when I was swimming what I was missing was a sense of community – it’s hard to talk underwater – and I’ve found that with rowing. There are people from 14 to 80 at the club, from all sorts of backgrounds, and we all have a common focus.
Now I’m 19 I’m in the men's high-performance squad which is aimed mainly at trying to win Henley. I would also love to represent GB in my rowing career at some point. I love racing and the pressure of rowing – the sport definitely gives you a psychological advantage, but it requires sacrifice. You’ll get invited to a party or someone’s birthday, and you’ve got training the next morning, so the answer is simply, ‘no I can’t go’. You feel like a party pooper, but at the end of the day that’s just the life of a performance athlete.
But when you’ve been out in the cold and pushed yourself hard with your squad you get into the changing rooms and there’s a euphoria. Your hands have frozen, and you’ve got blisters, but at the end of the day we’re all rowers. We’re all just going to grit our teeth and get on with it and when it’s done, there is a real sense of accomplishment.