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An interview with Amelia Carpenter- an upcoming Rower

I have had the opurtunity to interview Amelia Carpenter- an upcoming rower and former classmate, who is aiming to compete and win a gold medal at the Olympics. I asked Amelia a wide range of questions from how she has dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic, her top tips for other upcoming athletes, how she prepares herself mentally before an event and how she juggles schoolwork and training.

Amelia has been rowing since she was 14 and already has a long list of achievements including winning the National Schools Regatta, The British Rowing Championships, The Oarsport Rowing Regatta, The Oarsport HEAD and The Junior Interregional Regatta. When I interviewed her she stated 'One of my proudest achievements in the time I have been rowing, is making the ergo times of the J18 GB trials and training at the age of 15. I came 27th out of 125 who were 18 when I was 15'. She also shared: ' When I was in J16 I rowed with my doubles partner Olivia Hall and we won the British Junior Championships by 9.7 seconds – it was the best feeling! As well as this, I have also won the Pairs head which is a 6km race along the Tideway course in London and we won this by 12 seconds!'

What is your best tip for other upcoming athletes?

'My main tip would be to stick at the sport you love – yes it will become difficult as you become older and training sessions increase, but these sessions increase to allow you the satisfaction of winning or being first in the country.'

She also advises other upcoming athletes 'to keep hydrated... I read in an article some time ago, that a 2% decrease in dehydration= a 20% decrease in performance!'

How do you balance schoolwork and training for rowing?

'It takes really good time management to be able to juggle it all. I find sitting down on the Sunday evening before the new week and writing out everything I’ve got to and everything that is coming up in the week approaching down in a table, so I know exactly what I’ve got to do and when.'

How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically before an event?

'Preparing myself physically for an event is the easy part – follow the training plan, finish the sessions and get on with it.'

'However, preparing your self mentally is more of a challenge. To be able to breath properly and slowly before the race sounds stupid, but it works. It helps to calm the nerves meaning you row smoother as your muscles are less tense and it also helps the lactic acid to move on. I also vision myself winning and standing on the podium with a medal around my neck.'

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your sport and training?

'For many people, Corona has stopped them from being able to train at all. Thankfully for me, moving from Maidenhead rowing club to Reading Bluecoat School has meant that I have been able to continue my training throughout these hard times as government guidelines have allowed schools to stay open. This has mean that during the time we have been at school, I have been completing my training and carrying on with the physically challenging weight and ergo sessions. Of course during lockdown, we have had to complete ergos at home, but I quite enjoyed this. It was more mentally challenging to motivate myself through longer ergs such as 50 minutes. '

'The hardest bit for me during these times is not being able to race or being able to attend GB training camps. Covid-19 has meant that all competitions and events have been cancelled which did challenge us rowers mentally. We train up to 9 times a week, and having to get up early before school in the dark and cold mornings and train with no races pending was very mentally challenging. Occasionally there was a lack of motivation, but we pushed through and now finally we are coming to see the end of the pandemic.'

It was a great priviledge to interview Amelia Carpenter and find out more about her sport. I wish her all the best in achieving her future aspirations as a rower.

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