18th September 2020 — Year 13 Shiplake College student and talented rower, Nicole Dunn secured herself a sponsor during lockdown to keep her hopes of competing for team GB alive.
During lockdown rowers were only able to continue training on the river, if they had their own boat.
So she came up with the idea of rowing virtually from Lands End to John O’Groats and to set up a Crowd Funding page to help raise funds to buy her own boat.
This endeavour came to the attention of PPE tracking company Maximedi Ltd, who very generously offered to buy her a £10,000 Hudson USP boat and equipment including roof racks so she could bring her boat from Devon to Shiplake and continue training on it at College.
Nicole only learned to row on the water in the Summer of 2018 on a week long learn to row course. From then she managed to row every two weeks if she was lucky and had time, while studying for her GCSEs. She was more used to rowing on her Concept 2 at home.
She said: “From a young age rowing always fascinated me, so I think I always had it in me to give it a go. However, when I started at Shiplake in 2019 I was keen to get on the water, but just kept falling in, it was so different to rowing on the ergo. But I knew I wanted to do it so much that I kept trying hard to get used to it and increased the amount of training I was doing.”
And the hard work paid off, by November 2019 Nicole went to the GB trials, coming 18th and qualifying for the GB camp in Spain. She then went on to win the Single Sculls race for her age group at Scullers Head and was the 3rd woman overall in the competition.
Nicole continued: “I’m incredibly grateful to Maximedi for their generosity and belief in me. It has meant I have been able to train throughout lockdown which has been hugely beneficial to me.”
Nicole is very pleased to be back on the water at Shiplake and hopes to take her rowing to the next level at university next year. She is currently in the process of looking at universities to study Medicine. However, her ultimate goal is to go to the 2024 Olympics or compete on an international level.