Tell us about yourself and your involvement in rowing
I have been involved in rowing for 30 years. I started as a cox before trying out rowing and rowed in a coxed 4. From City of Cardiff Rowing Club, I moved to Llandaff Rowing Club and continued to row as a senior. Being only 5ft 2”, I found myself spending more time coxing than rowing, and through coxing I started to coach novices from the coxes seat. This lead me to becoming a full time coach, coaching adult beginners. I enrolled on numerous coaching course held by Welsh Rowing and British Rowing. As a qualified coach, I coached for 20 years. During this time, I was also elected as a Novice Vice Captain, which I enjoyed and stayed in this position for 8 years then Master's Vice Captain.
I joined the General Management Committee as the club's Communications Officer. Being in the field of Marketing in my day job, I thought it would be good to help the club with communication both internally and externally and I help run the club's website.
In 2017, I took the plunge and put myself forward as Club Captain and ran that post for 2 years. During my time with Llandaff Rowing Club, my services to the club was well recognised and I was elected as a life member. I am now one of the Vice President of Llandaff Rowing Club.
I am also a Welsh Umpire of 23 years and continue to do my duties whether it be local events or Home Countries.
How did you start rowing, what made you want to start?
Out one night with friends I was introduced to a chap by the name of Creswell Wiggins. A long standing member of Llandaff Rowing Club, who set up a new club City of Cardiff Rowing Club. He asked if I would like to travel around the country and shout at men...this sounded interesting, so we exchanged numbers and a week later I was sat in the coxes seat.
A few months later, I was coxing a women's crew for Llandaff's annual fun regatta 'Pubs and Clubs – now known as 'Splash n Dash'. 10 days before the event the bow girl injured herself and stepped down. I had a rough idea what to do, so was put into the bow seat and had a major crash course on how to row. At the weekend's event, I was not blessed with the draw and didn't have that important 'bye' and so had to row 5 times to win. We got to the finals and was up against a hockey club with girls almost twice my size. Hence little chance of winning, nevertheless, I was proud to take home my 'runner up' tankard. Soon after that, I asked my coach if I could row instead of coxing, and that's how I ended up rowing.
What do you enjoy about rowing?
Meeting people with similar interest, having fun and keeping fit. Its nice to go away to regattas and meet like-minded people from other clubs in this and other countries with the same interest.
Winning your novice status is also an experience you will never forget. I won mine at Leicester Regatta 26 years ago, and I still remember every stroke for stroke. And after coaching novices, the thrill you get seeing your crew pass the finish line first in the finals, is equally a buzz you get inside.
How has rowing impacted on your life?
Its been my life for 30 years. Coaching others on how to row has been rewarding. As a child I was a very shy girl, and being part of a rowing community has made me grow in strength and confidence.
Keeping fit is something that didn't come naturally to me, but being rowing fit is on another level - but totally worth it. After years of coaching and coxing, 7 years ago I decided it was time to get back into a boat, and started to single scull as a Master. Very wobbly and scary at times, it a thrill to be able to sit and move a boat on your own. Persevering with single sculling, I was then put into a double with Rosa who was the same stature as me. Working well together after 5 weeks we entered the British Masters Championships as novices, and to our surprise we came home with Silver. Today, I have given up competing in competitions and enjoy recreational rowing with a few other Masters at my club.
Any advice to someone considering learning to row?
Regardless of age, its one sport I thought I would never end up doing. The camaraderie amongst your fellow rowers is amazing, the buzz you get from competing or relax paddling its the type of sport that keeps you mentally and physically fit and healthy. I'm nearly 60 and I feel I can continue for another 20 more...