Athlete in the Spotlight: Charlotte Taylor
GB Rowing Team news caught up recently with Charlotte Taylor in the latest of our series of spotlight features on squad members. We’ll add another each month so look out for future editions. Tweet us via @GBRowingTeam if there is an athlete you would like to see featured.
Education: Sharnbrook Upper School, University of St Andrews
Began rowing in: 2010
Clubs (past and present): Putney Town RC
Charlotte Taylor only took up rowing in 2010 to meet new friends – and within four years was standing on a World Cup podium for the GB Rowing Team.
Now she is set to partner Olympic champion Kat Copeland in the lightweight women’s double scull at the 2015 European Championships in Poznan, Poland later this month.
Charlotte joined Putney Town RC after relocating to London and – naturally sporty having previously tried gymnastics, running and cycling – immediately proved to be a natural on the water.
She really announced herself as one to watch in 2013 as she enjoyed tremendous success on the domestic stage.
Charlotte was victorious in the lightweight single scull at both the Henley Women’s Regatta and Home International Regatta, then won the quad at the latter event and the lightweight women’s double sculls at the British Championships.
She also finished fifth in her first attempt at the GB Rowing Team Senior & U23 Trials, impressing the selectors.
Charlotte pulled on a British vest for the first time at the 2014 European Championships, finishing just outside the medals in the lightweight single scull, and made a successful World Cup debut a few weeks later in Aiguebelette.
A thrilling single sculls final at the 2015 GB Rowing Team Senior Trials saw Charlotte pipped to victory by Imogen in a photo-finish.
As she prepares for her second season with the GB Rowing Team, we caught up with Charlotte to chat about her career to date and life outside the boat.
GBRT: How and why did you first start rowing?
CT: I started rowing when I moved to London in 2010. I had begun a new job and wanted a social sport to meet some new people. My dad has always rowed and suggested it could be the sport for me. The irony is, I told dad at the time that I didn’t want a sport that would take over my life, just one to settle me into London life!
GBRT: What has been your biggest success and your biggest disappointment in the sport so far?
CT: My biggest success would be the silver medal I won with Ellie Piggott in the double at the second World Cup in Aigubellette. However, I would also say that earning my first GB vest at the Europeans last year was also up there. Having not competed as junior or U23, my first senior vest was a very significant and proud moment. My biggest disappointment would be missing out on the medals at the Worlds last year. I feel that we underperformed but, again, my feelings are mixed with pride as this was also my first World Championships.
GBRT: What are some of your most memorable moments in your career so far?
CT: Winning Henley women’s in my single was one of my most memorable moments. So many people from my club, Putney Town, had come to support me so it was a really special moment. Going to the Europeans last year is also up there. For the first time I was surrounded by all these amazing athletes I had watched on TV and it felt amazing to be competing alongside them.
GBRT: What aspirations do you have within the sport?
CT: My immediate focus is on earning my seat in the double this season. However, I also aspire to compete at the Olympic Games, continue the legacy of 2012 and win gold.
GBRT: Who is your best friend within the rowing set-up and why?
CT: Ooo, that is a tricky one. I couldn’t say one individual. The team is full of amazing people who offer different friendship and support in different ways. Outside of the team I would have to say Tom Evens, who coached me into the team and then in my first international races last year. He gave up and dedicated so much of his time to help me succeed and still provides me with invaluable support and friendship.
GBRT: Who do you look up to?
CT: In rowing, the usual suspects have to be admired – Katherine Grainger, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, and all the lightweights past and present. Rich Chambers is a force to be reckoned with. Outside of rowing I have many sporting heroes and in life, our friend and fast-jet pilot Paul Beavers, A&E superheroes Tom and Julie-Anne Evens, and my brother who overcame having a stroke aged three and has brought my adorable niece into the world.
GBRT: What hobbies and hidden talents do you have?
CT: Hmm, I can’t really say rowing is a hobby anymore. I’m pretty awesome at making chocolate browies and made them every morning at university to help pay my way. I’m OK at drawing and painting, I love a good paint by numbers, and I can turn my hand to a bit of knitting (edgy!). I love hillwalking when we have time off and I learnt Farsi for a year but I can’t really remember much of that anymore…
GBRT: What are some of your favourite bands?
CT: I don’t really have a favourite. I like lots of things, particularly anything I can dance to.
GBRT: Favourite books?
CT: Danny the Champion of the World, Charlotte’s Web, Early One Morning, The Book Thief, The Shadow of The Wind, A Thousand Splendid Suns.
GBRT: Favourite films and TV shows?
CT: The Jungle Book. I love most BBC documentaries and I’m a sucker for Bake Off and Masterchef. Also most BBC dramas tend to get me hooked.
GBRT: What qualifications and job aspirations do you have outside of rowing?
CT: To be honest I don’t really have any aspirations at the moment apart from focusing on being an athlete – I did quite a lot of studying and working before I found rowing and have only just given that up to focus on my sport full-time. I’d love to be a chocolatier one day when I don’t have to be lightweight anymore.