West Cork rower Lydia Heaphy taking a leap of faith in bid to make Olympics

Renowned coach Dominic Casey has overseen her progress since she was 11
West Cork rower Lydia Heaphy taking a leap of faith in bid to make Olympics

Ireland's Lydia Heaphy finishes sixth in the Lightweight Women's Single Scull A final. Picture: INPHO/Detlev Seyb

LYDIA Heaphy declared herself ‘hungry for more’ after she finished sixth in the lightweight single final at the 2021 European Rowing Championships which were held in Italy recently.

The Cork rower felt she learned a lot following her very positive performances at Varese. 

“The Irish team did really well. We are starting to have a really strong presence on the podium at international races. It gives the whole team a boost even if you’re not the one on the podium. It gives you confidence that what we do in training works,” she said.

The Leap native, who is a member of Skibbereen Rowing Club said she benefitted immensely from her training regime during the lockdown. 

“It has definitely been a year of challenges, but I think it has made me a lot stronger athlete. We all faced challenges with the Covid pandemic. 

During the first lockdown in March, we were all sent home for 12 weeks to train on rowing machines. This was certainly not something any of us enjoyed, but it was necessary for everybody’s health and safety. 

I definitely benefitted from the training. The coaches do everything they can to support us as much as possible.” 

Lydia is full of praise for the role renowned coach Dominic Casey has played in her development. 

“Dominic has coached me since I was 11 so he knows me better than I would know myself at this stage. This has its positives and negatives. 

"He is a simple man with simple words but they have great meaning. They provide the best results that sometimes I am surprised I have and can achieve.” 

The Cork athlete is currently in her final year studying at UCC and admits it can be tough at times to balance her academic and sporting requirements. 

“I am in the final year of my law degree in UCC. It is tough sometimes to balance the two, but I have seemed to manage it so far. The college being closed and all lectures being issued online actually suits me better as I can work lectures around my training schedule. This saves me a lot of time.

"Thankfully the law school let me split my final year over two years because of my sporting commitments, which really took the pressure off me. I can apply more time to both rowing and college. 

"The law school has been so accommodating.” 

The ambitious rower has very specific goals she hopes to achieve in the future. 

“I have learned a lot in the last year. I am really motivated to push on in terms of my rowing development. My immediate hopes and dreams would obviously be to go to the Olympic Games. 

"It will be a very exciting and nerve-racking few months ahead. I can’t wait.”

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