To celebrate International Women’s Day, Rowing Ireland interviewed three inspirational women involved in the sport of rowing to celebrate ‘women on the water’. Here at Blu Angel we are immensely proud that our own Alicia Winter was one of those three ladies. While it’s been a short two years since Alicia took her first spin on the Corrib, her commitment to her training and her dedication to her practice has been absolutely inspirational.
And Alicia met the river Corrib
Alicia, who is a 17-year-old leaving certificate student in Galway, began rowing when Peter Cassidy (Blu Angel’s founder and rowing coach) was canvassing for women who were interested in taking up rowing as part of CrewBlu. Alicia, who would be classified as a PR1 rower (arms and shoulders only) bravely took up the call and is now a regular rower on the Corrib, battling the flow with the best of them. We were delighted to hear Alicia talk about her rowing practice on the Rowing Ireland Podcast.
Mind that duck
For those of you not familiar with the Corrib in Galway, I want you to imagine a cold wet Saturday morning with grey spitting skies, a biting wind and fast flowing water. Crews are carrying their boats down and deftly managing to step in, securing blades and foot straps, while their coach shouts instruction to get a move on from the club house. There is a general air of confusion and morning sleepiness as the training day gets off to a start. Coming on to the slipway is a striking young lady with a big smile, Alicia, who like the rest of the Saturday morning crews is preparing to get into her boat. While her companions hardly see the state of the slip, she does as she transfers from the slip to the boat: the sharpness of gravel and small stones, the problem of sitting in puddles and the gooeyness of duck poop.
Before she slips, Alicia checks her chest and lap straps, ensures her fixed seat and her floats are secure and when her launch is up and ready to accompany her she is pushed off by her ground crew for her morning row. Once she is out, Alicia is keen to improve her technique and her speed. Using arms only, she can battle with the wind and the flow but she has a fighting spirit and the elements often lose. Alicia is competitive and she has already been known to enjoy an unplanned sprint race with World champion medal winner Katie O’Brien when the opportunity arises.
Alicia relies on her upper body strength to row and to get about during the day. To develop her strength she lifts weights and she keeps her brothers on their toes with the weights she pushes. Whether it’s on the water or in the gym, Alicia wins with a smile.
Up for the next challenge
When she is not on the water, Alicia has her own Concept 2 ergometer at home and she has participated in many of Concept 2 motivational challenges under her CrewBlu affiliation. Here at Blu Angel we were blown away by her performance in the Holiday Challenge when she achieved 202,000 meters and completed her first half marathon. Alicia is proud of the 500,000 meters she has rowed at home and along with getting back on the water, is looking forward to competing again in the indoor rowing championships when we get back to a post COVID life.
The Galway rowing community are so very proud of all that Alicia has achieved and continues to achieve. We are delighted to join with Rowing Ireland in acknowledging Alicia as a role model in her rowing ability, her dedication and her determination. With her smile, she makes us smile with her, even on those cold, damp, wet, Saturday mornings.
Well done, Alicia! We look forward to following your sporting career.