An Interview with Lucy Kelly: One Stroke at a Time

UKC rowing

Image courtesy of UKC Rowing

Lucy Kelly, University of Kent History and French student, only took up rowing when she started university in 2017. However, her recent successes reflect more than an individual who has only been rowing for three years.

Kelly started this academic year as a sports scholar, due to her impressive rowing test results, which have landed her on the Great Britain Performance Talent Pathway. With weekly scholarship sessions, Kelly told me in an interview they encompass learning about the different parts of the body and how to move them. “I realise now that I need to improve my whole body, so I have been trying to work on core, arms, shoulders,” Kelly says. As she increases her weights each week, Kelly has a more constructive approach and stamina out on the water. During her childhood, Kelly played rugby and always had a passion for being active. Despite those dark dank mornings “it is all about improving. When you get there and you see the water and you actually get rowing”, Kelly says, highlighting her overwhelming sense of energy. In response to who influences Kelly: “Dame Catherine Granger. It is just amazing that she is the most decorated female Olympian and she is a rower.”

Alternatively, Kelly adds Simone Biles to her list of motivators. “It is a completely different sport, gymnastics. I think she is really dedicated, and she pushes it out of the box to try new things and I think especially with rowing you have got to, to try new techniques and coaches will have different options.” She highlights Biles’s ability to improve, but also have fun in parallel to her progression.

Kelly has recently bought her first single. “It has been helping me as a rower individually,” she says. Moreover, she came first in 2km at the BUCS Indoor competition at Surrey Sports Park in November 2019, an excellent step up from her third-place last season. Kelly expresses: “I am very happy because I know it does not sound like much, but I beat my PB by a second.”

She adds: “When you do a piece that is so heavy and really high power, taking a second off is good.”

On Sunday 8 December 2019, Kelly went to a women’s training day at Bewl Water which is part of a series to help those who fit the requirements in height and strength for GB rowing and improve aspects of their performance. “We were doing hip hinge, core workouts, testing from last time where I beat my own scores. My personal aim is to always try and beat myself,” Kelly articulates. Kelly currently sits with a time of 7:22 from her BUCS Indoor 2km, and from this she has been invited to the GB training camp in Caversham, which takes place this month, and hopes to be selected for the U23’s squad.