Nicole Dunn Athlete Ambassador
Nicole is a competitive rower who aspires to win a world title. She talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
Yes, both my parents are very athletic and encouraged me to participate in sport from a young age. When I was a child, my dad owned and ran leisure centres, taking me swimming everyday from the age of three. I have always loved to be active and have found great enjoyment from participating in sports.
What made you decide to enter the world of rowing?
My former swimming coach, Robin Brew, a former GB swimmer who won International Triathlon competitions encouraged me to take my modern biathlon to the next level and try triathlons instead which then led on to rowing.
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
Sculler’s Head, a National single scull competition, in December 2019. Everything that day went perfectly. The course was 8km long which was an advantage for me over other athletes, as I thrive over longer distances. The weather was warm and the water was relatively flat for the Thames. I had my head in the right mindset and I experienced the ultimate intrinsic experience, with my performance in peak flow. As a result, I won my age group category by over 22 seconds, coming third female overall. This was a very exciting result for my third rowing race.
And your proudest achievement?
I have lots of British Champion achievements which I will forever be proud of however my favourite was at GB trials, my first major rowing competition after only rowing on the water for two months before hand I qualified myself onto a GB training camp in Spain.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?
English Schools Cross Country Championships 2018. The weather conditions were horrendously cold and I had previously suffered from a sickness bug the week before. I was not feeling very fit or well. I got knocked over in the first kilometre and everything seemed to go wrong. I struggled mentally more than physically to finish the race.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I think about what has gone wrong and look for the reason why. Once I know the cause, I will talk it through with my mum to help me find a solution to fix the issue and for her to give me some hard love telling me to just get on with it which usually works.
What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?
Focus on your performance rather than the results. When you first start competing you are bound to make mistakes which is part of the learning curve to success. Not every race is going to go well so don’t get disappointed when it doesn’t go to plan. Use the failure as motivation and a learning curve to achieve your goals next time. Most importantly don’t get disappointed when you don’t win; Instead look at the positives of the race and celebrate the small wins e.g a PB or better performance or the face you completed the race when you really didn’t want to.
What are your goals?
I want to win the World Championships in my single scull and qualify for the Olympics to go on and win a medal. I want to be the best person I can be to reach my true potential and beat more world records.
Who do you take your inspiration from?
My mother. She inspires me to take all the opportunities given to me and make the most of them by giving 110%. She got me into sports from a young age taking me for runs and to swimming lessons where I met my dad who got me into competitive swimming leading me into rowing. If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have met Robin Brew getting me into triathlons and rowing which has taken me to Shiplake College where I have found my talent and love for rowing. Everyday I wake up and know to give it my all in life and training to take these opportunities and become the best and fastest person I can be.