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Girls' vice captain shares her lockdown memories

Arianna Forde, our junior girls' vice-captain, recalls her lockdown memories in this blog

During February 2020 I won Hampton with my doubles partner, I was still in the GB Junior Trials process and still optimistic to what I could achieve as a junior.

The planned GB trials event in Boston was cancelled at the end of February due to high winds and then three weeks later we were all faced with a national lockdown which immediately stopped any training and the planned race events.

I think we all learned to go from zero to zoom very quickly whether it was for college work or for training sessions with my group. I was lucky enough to have an erg machine at home and had to start “liking” it again very quickly!

For at least two months training was adapted to online sessions with a combination of erg training, cycling, running and stretch and core sessions in a group. Staying at home was difficult. I missed the buzz of being with my group but the training schedule kept me focussed in maintaining and building my strength and core. This was tested during lockdown with several virtual races with a number of clubs including racing against my Aunt’s club in Aberdeen – we won!

You can’t beat being on the water and so when we were allowed to go back in June 2020 the date couldn’t have come soon enough. The effort of washing blades and boats continuously was worth it and although we were only allowed in singles initially it wasn’t long before we were back in crew boats and I was glad I had maintained my home training through lockdown. I had a great training day with Bewl Bridge juniors and although the weather was shocking the training was great and certainly different from the river Lea.

I think everyone was very disheartened when we went back into lockdown at the end of December. However I learnt from the first lockdown the importance of maintaining my training schedule. The Junior coaches have been great at keeping that varied and fun but also covering important topics like nutrition and wellbeing. I am also part of the BR Women’s development programme and have been able to maintain that commitment virtually too.

Virtual race events have also been a big part of this lockdown and again our club had a number of successes, including many younger juniors who had very limited time on the water. It is great seeing their progression since we got back on the water at the end of March. The resumption of water sessions and the café's bacon rolls has not come soon enough for me either!

This will be my last few months at Lea Rowing Club before University, so I hope that when lockdown is lifted we can enjoy the rest of the season on the water training, racing and winning medals!

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