Rowan McKellar is a member of the GB Women’s Rowing Team, having made her senior debut in 2017 at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota.

A University of California, Berkeley graduate, Rowan has also won a silver medal at the U23 World Rowing Championships and silver and bronze medals at Rowing World Cups.

But, it wasn’t long ago that Rowan was learning the ropes as a junior rower and facing the now familiar race day nerves, at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC).

Racing at NJIRC for the first time in 2010, Rowan said of the event:

“It was one of the biggest events I’d been to and there were loads of people who had rowed on the water and loads that hadn’t. Everyone just joined in together which was really nice.”

She came back to race in 2011 and eventually came away with a bronze medal in 2012. When thinking about how much NJIRC influenced her desire to pursue rowing, she said:

“I think my progression each year, doing slightly better each time I tried and eventually winning a medal was definitely motivating for me.”

Above: Rowan with her NJIRC medal

Rowan believes that NJIRC is both a fun event, and one that pushes young people out of their comfort zone thanks to London Youth Rowing (LYR).

“LYR is so important for the rowing community, because it helps it become possible for kids from all background to give rowing a go. Loads of people would miss out on this amazing sport if it wasn’t for LYR.”

Rowan has a big year ahead, with Olympic qualification just around the corner. Her advice for racing: “Pace yourself right and do some practice before the day so you know what split is sensible for you.”

Learn to row or join a boat club near you ready to enter next year's NJIRC. 

(Banner photo credit: Nick Middleton)