Anna was introduced to rowing through one of our Sport England funded indoor rowing clubs, hosted by LYR in over 75 schools across London.

Rowing machines are loaned to schools so that they might run their own land based clubs, and are then given the opportunity to progress to on-water rowing for free. Over the past four years, LYR have engaged 10,000 young people through the Programme. The 2017 relaunch is taking place in September.

Rowing is a brilliant community sport. Boat clubs are often more cost effective to join in comparison to local gyms. And, they offer a unique and social way to stay active. Competitions and regattas are offered all year round, attracting elite athletes through to those seeking a fun family day out.

Shortly after she started rowing in 2013, Anna raced at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships with The Green School, Hounslow. And, took it upon herself to join Walbrook Rowing Club, to compete on the water too.

‘I enjoyed rowing at school and also had some friends who rowed,’ said Anna. ‘So, I thought I would give it a go on the water too. I was also told by a family-friend that because I was tall it was a good sport to go and try!’

LYR attest to rowing being a sport that helps build important life skills in young people and adults alike. Our Life Skills Programme, ‘Breaking Barriers’ actively encourages better teamwork, cooperation, organisation and confidence.

‘Rowing really helped me through my exams especially in year 13, as it was a major stress reliever and helped me to concentrate on my studies. I am a more focused person because of rowing,' said Anna. 

She has since used rowing to strengthen her university application, and continued to row on the Durham University rowing team while becoming a Level 2 Qualified Coach.

Anna said: ‘I am unsure whether I am going to continue rowing at a high level next year but I am hoping to continue with the sport, even if it is only a couple of training sessions a week. I am also hoping to do some coaching for my college boat club.’

‘I have learnt through rowing that if I put my mind to something and I work hard at it, I will see the improvements and the rewards too.'

As an involved member of the rowing community, Anna has made some astute observations about the stereotypes surrounding the sport; that there is a feeling of overall wealth within the community and a lack of ethnic diversity.

‘Lack of ethnic diversity in the rowing community is a problem. More work does need to be done to get rid of the stereotypes surrounding the sport so that more people get involved.’

LYR continues to try and break down these barriers.