Meet the Team: Oliver Dominique
This week World Class Start rower Oliver Dominique answers our questions
World Class Start rower Oliver Dominique first started rowing in 2016 at the National Junior Indoor Championships (NJIRC). We caught up with him to talk about the Start programme, lockdown motivation and guitar skills….
What do you love most about rowing?
Racing. The adrenaline, excitement, and enjoyment you get when you are sat with your crew, pushing yourselves to gain those extra few centimetres over your opponents are unparalleled. It honestly is the greatest feeling ever.
How did you first start rowing?
I started indoor rowing in 2016 by competing at the National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships (NJIRC) with my school, Northampton School for Boys. A teacher approached me after basketball practice and told me that I had the right build for rowing and I then began to train with him once a week. I have entered every NJIRC since.
How did you find the World Class Start pathway?
I joined the World Class Start Programme in 2019 following an invitation to trial at NJIRC. I had just come 3rd in the Year 12 Boys 2000m race and was talking to the athlete who had come first. He spoke about how he was on the WCS programme and introduced me to his coach. After completing the testing process in Nottingham with WCS coach Nicola Benavente, I joined the programme.
What is the best thing about being part of World Class Start?
Being on camp has to be the best thing about being a part of World Class Start. Not only do I get access to loads of amazing coaching and facilities, but I am also surrounded by many elite athletes whom I can learn from. Everyone motivates each other, and I have made many friends from all over the country. I would encourage anyone interested in pursuing a career in rowing to look on the British rowing website for information on the World Class Start Programme.
What is the biggest challenge?
The training. Every single day we face something which will challenge our bodies either physically or mentally, but the feeling of overcoming that is unmatched. Whether I am completing longer UT2 ergs, interval training or a 2000m piece, I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I have finished.
What are your rowing highlights?
I am relatively new to the sport and feel like the majority of my highlights are still to come. However, some of my most memorable moments so far have been: winning the 2020 National Junior Indoor Rowing Competition, my first ever experience racing at my local head race, and finally recording one of the fastest male 250m times in World Class Start history.
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?
I am still fairly young but if I could send one message to my younger self it would be to always have self-belief and aim to be the best that I can be. Lockdown has taught me the importance of staying motivated when things get tough and this is something I am hoping to apply to my training in the future.
How are you finding training in lockdown?
Overall, it has been quite enjoyable. It was hard at the beginning because all I wanted to do was sleep and play on my Xbox like most of my friends so finding the motivation to join Zoom sessions at 7:30 AM was tough. Within World Class Start we had the Quarantine Games which were great fun as all the athletes were competing against each other in a variety of training related challenges. Also, as a start centre in Nottingham, we had weekly quizzes and participated in the Tideway Scullers fitness challenges.
Other than training, how else have you been spending your time during lockdown?
Other than training, I have spent a lot of time reading and trying to learn new skills. I even picked up my guitar again for the first time in 5 years and have been trying to teach myself a few songs. More recently, I have been going to my local park to play basketball and do some outdoor circuit training with my friends.
What would you be doing if you were not a rower?
Sport is a massive part of my life and if I were not a rower then I would probably still be playing competitive basketball.