Laura Macro, British U23 Lightweight Indoor Rowing Champion and Matrix Scholar on her journey so far…

Laura Macro, currently studying at the University of Bath is Matrix Fitness’ first scholar and current British Indoor Rowing Champion. She gives us an insight into her journey so far…

I first took up Rowing in my hometown at ‘Plymouth Amateur Rowing Club’, originally just looking at trying a different sport, having previously run cross country competitively. Despite being a relatively small club, and entirely self-funded, the fun and welcoming atmosphere combined with the club’s pride and consistent determination to help us progress ensured I remained hooked 5 years later.

My parents (to my surprise!) then generously bought me a second hand lightweight single to set me on my way. Upon applying to University- my top choice being Bath- I was beginning to consider whether this sport might become less of a competitive hobby –  as my sights began to move towards the idea of making team GB in the future.

Upon arriving at the University of Bath for my first year studying Biology, and unfortunately failing my attempt at testing for the GB Rowing Team Start programme, my motivation took a massive knock. However, I was determined and carried on working towards my objective. After a few months of sticking at the training, Bath GB Start Coach Dan Harris gave me a huge helping hand by letting me come and train in my single with the Start and High Performance athletes each morning. There I received the crucial coaching I needed to really begin to progress.

A Gold medal in the lightweight Intermediate Singles at BUCS Regatta a few months later was just the ticket I needed to propel myself into training even harder, and more solid results continued through the ensuing summer including making the quarter finals at Women’s Henley in the single.

At the end of this university year I made the decision to change to a course more suited to my interests, ‘Sport and Exercise Science’, tying in perfectly with my outside sporting commitments too. Being informed that I had also been added to the university’s High Performance Rowing squad by Dan left me feeling extremely optimistic about the coming year, and after discussion it was decided I would attend the GB rowing trials in November.

I applied for the Dual Career Programme to try and get as much help as possible in balancing both my degree and sport. After successfully being accepted onto the programme, it was suggested to me to try to apply for a scholarship to help with the expenses that would inevitably come with the step up in sport commitment. I was definitely not expecting to be awarded one – and was wondering just how I would manage financially, so I was over the moon and felt so honoured to be informed that I had been awarded the Matrix Scholarship! A couple of events since being awarded my scholarship – In December I competed at the British U23 Lightweight Rowing Indoor Championships winning Gold in both the 2000m and the 500m races.

Then early January saw an invitation to attend a ten day British Rowing development training camp in Cardiff. I was able to afford to go due to my Matrix scholarship. Whilst, as expected, it was incredibly hard work, it has certainly been a fundamental aid to my training.

I have been totally blown away by Matrix’s generosity and friendly support, they have made me feel part of their team, also giving me a well needed guiding hand within social media circles, and providing links with high-level athletes who can provide key tips for successfully juggling high-performance sport with everyday life!

Matrix will provide essential backing as I train and compete this season with the goal of making it as far through the GB trialling process as possible this year- and hopefully gaining a GB vest in time to come!

Thank you Matrix for enabling me in my endeavours to achieve my goals.