Erica Bodman (Homerton 2006)
Subject: Education with English
Team: Great Britain
Hoping to qualify for: Single, double or quad sculling events
Sporting hero: “Paula Radcliffe. She had to train for years before she achieved success, and I find that really inspirational"
“I only began rowing in my second year. I got my high-jump Blue in my first year but then got injured, so I switched to rowing. I’m six feet, and all the rowers had been telling me: ‘You’re so tall – come and row!’ It seemed the ideal opportunity – and everyone says that you have to do at least one term of rowing at Cambridge!
The Bumps were my favourite bit at Cambridge. Homerton wasn’t famed for being the best College at rowing – we were nicknamed the “fit boat”, but unfortunately it wasn’t for our rowing ability! Nevertheless, we managed to go the whole four days without getting bumped or bumping, and that was great. When you finish at Cambridge, I don’t think you ever come across anything quite like the Bumps again.
I did two terms with Homerton College Boat Club and wanted to try out for the University boat, but their trials clashed with my month in a school placement. I was looking on the GB Rowing website and I saw that they have a thing called the World Class Start scheme, a talent scheme for people who haven’t rowed that much, to get them straight into top-level competition.
Training is pretty different now. When you row at a higher level, it becomes your life – not just when you’re on the water, but also on the days you have off: you have to eat properly and go to bed early. You have to take on a whole different mentality.
I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics. When I was younger, I thought maybe I’d go for athletics, but that didn’t work out. Now I feel that I’ve got a second chance to make it in rowing, and sculling is my preferred discipline. I originally rowed in an eight at College, but when I began at World Class Start in the summer of 2008, I was put straight into singles. Sculling feels more symmetrical – it’s not working one side all the time – and I seemed to be excelling at it, which helps!
This year’s Games are going to be really exciting. I feel really privileged to be a part of it. Even if I don’t make the team this time, I’ll still be involved in the trials and the preparations. I’m just hoping that I make it through the next four years without illness or injury – and I’ll be hoping for a medal at Rio in 2016!”
Erica is supported by the Guernsey Sports Commission’s Rising Stars initiative and sponsored by Man Group plc and J W Rihoy.