Marlow Depeza, our junior boys vice-captain, recalls his lockdown memories in this blog
This last year has certainly been a strange one. Hearing that we’d possibly go into another lockdown after the first one wasn’t the best news. I felt a sort of ‘burst of hope’ at the start of each lockdown, convincing myself I’d do things better than the last time. That died down abruptly and went back to how it was! Almost like a fixed lockdown state of demotivation and no clarity as to when it’d all be over.
By the announcement of the third lockdown, around Christmas 2020, I knew I had to do something drastically different. To my rescue my team mate Sam O’Connor suggested we train in his back garden erging side by side, which I accepted as I needed this sort of change to help keep up my motivation. Our first session in bitter cold, in negative temperatures, was an hour of UT2 (long endurance training). Sounds horrible but it was probably the most motivated I had felt in six months. There was somebody else going through the same challenges, and going through them together seemed a lot less daunting.
Weeks went by and we kept erging together, until Sam’s family all got covid-19. This obviously meant we had to stop training together for 10 days until both our isolations were completed. Apart from that hiccup, we trained almost as hard as we would usually train at the club with not much equipment. The reason I say almost is because, although it was still a huge challenge pushing ourselves to the max, in normal times we would usually have the boys squad erging next to us as well, with our coach urging us to pull a few splits faster. There really is nothing like group training, and these lockdowns have made me realise that, and appreciate the effort that goes into organising training sessions, both on and off the water, creating an atmosphere I just don’t feel anywhere else.
The next sign of progression was hearing we’d be back on the water around 29 March. As you’d expect the squad and I were excited by this news. It felt like I had a date in my head to work towards, which was new as none of us knew when the government would allow club sport again. As of writing this, I have only been back to rowing for a few weeks but my thrill for racing is building up again as we have dates for HRR (Henley Royal Regatta) from 10-15 August, and the National Schools regatta two months before. It’s not been an easy year, but I like to think I’ve done well keeping up with my rowing and fitness, which I hope will mean I can train through any period of difficulty which I may be faced with in the future.
There are certainly things I wish I would’ve done differently, for example not doing so much long-distance running and not eating enough in the first lockdown, which meant I lost around 10kg. Fortunately I’m back up to normal weight, but a dip in performance resulted from it, which I certainly would have preferred to have gone without. Nobody could predict what we were going to go through, which meant we all approached and executed things differently, there was no correct way to go about it. We all sometimes did what made us feel good in the moment, which isn’t necessarily bad, it just helped us through. All that matters is that we can pick things back up, train hard and race hard.