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Arianna Forde – My Rowing Story

Arianna was recently elected elected by her peers to the post of Junior Vice Captain for Girls, for 2019–2020. She shares her rowing story below.

I was born in Leytonstone and have always lived there. I attended Davies Lane Primary and Buxton Secondary Schools in Leytonstone, within the Borough of Waltham Forest. I am currently studying an Extended Level 3 Diploma in Sports Development, Coaching and Fitness and would like to have a career in Sports Physio. My aspiration at the moment is to study at Oxford Brooks University, although recognise that this may change.

My Auntie was a rower and took part in three World Championships. She won lightweight single gold at Lucerne World Cup 1 in 2002 and silver at Hazewinkle World Cup 2 in 2002. She was 10th in the world at one stage – something to aspire to! She continually nagged me to try rowing, and thought with my height and long legs that I had the physique!

I used to play basketball at school and was a competitive swimmer, training multiple times a week. But, on one of my Auntie’s visits to London, there was another conversation about taking up rowing. To keep her quiet, I completed the online interest form on the Lea Rowing Club website.

I got a reply and attended the Club on a Monday evening in a silly looking t-shirt covered with pineapples! I thought I was just there for a visit and to look around, however before I could protest, Dick, the Head Coach, had me on a run followed by an erg. From that day, I never looked back!

Following my initial visit, I joined Lea R.C. in April 2017 and started training two times a week and at weekends and adapted well to the regime and expectations.

I have been fortunate enough to have been on three Henley training camps, competed in multiple regattas and head races, and been coached at a high level. Of course, there have been many highs, lows and disappointments, but these have made me stronger both individually and from a team perspective.

The latter part of last season was frustrating for me, however, and I was determined to finish on a ‘high’. With my team, I won a bronze medal at the National Schools Regatta and two silver medals at the Junior British Rowing Championships in Nottingham in a coxed 4 and 8. I also took part in Henley Women’s Regatta where we reached the quarter final.

With the new season I have moved from sweep to sculling and I’m concentrating my efforts on learning this skill. I have been fortunate to have been selected to take part in the potential British Junior Trials process this month, and with my training six days per week I’m determined to maximise my potential.

During my time at Lea R.C. I have met some great friends, become physically fit and have learnt a skill and sport that I love. Yes, it is challenging, demanding and at times unpleasant if the weather is not great, but under the skills of my new coach, Harry, I am confident I will progress.

I think it is important that the junior squads are seen as an integral part of Lea R.C. and need their voice to be heard, so my priorities as Junior Vice Captain are to ensure that I become a spokesperson for the junior girls listening to their ideas and concerns and raising them at the monthly meetings. I also think it is also important to act as a role model for the whole group whether at the Club or at an external event.

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to take an inclusive and high-potential London club to the next level At Lea RC we believe it is possible to prioritise inclusion and broadening access alongside performance rowing at the highest leve


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