Fifth Form Dinner and Coxing Masterclass

On Saturday 13th January, pupils benefited from a visit by 2016 British Olympic silver-medal winning cox, Zoe de Toledo, twice over: first, in a coxing masterclass for the Boat Club, and second as a special guest speaker at the Fifth Form Dinner. Pupils Oliver Meredith and Georgia Thomas report on an excellent day.

The St Edwards Boat Club coxes had the chance to take some guidance from British Olympic silver-medalist Zoe de Toledo.  For me, the key message was that you need to keep taking advice from a variety of sources, and that you never stop learning, if you keep your mind open and receptive.  No two crews are the same and what works in motivating and getting the best from one might not work as well for another; varying the approach is critical to drawing out the best from the boat. 

In gauging what works, it is important to listen to the crew to find what makes them tick, individually and collectively, so that you as the cox can make the calls that work for them.  Her other big-ticket piece of advice was to take every opportunity to broaden your experience, to cox as much and with as many crews as you can, both in training and in competition.  This will better prepare you for the time when you may only get limited training opportunities before a regatta or even cox a crew for the first time on the day of the race.  All told, it was a great opportunity to chat and draw on the extensive experience of such an accomplished athlete, sportswoman and cox. Oliver Meredith

The Fifth Form enjoyed a year-group dinner along with an inspiring speech from Zoe de Toledo, GB Olympic silver-medalist cox. As we ate our delicious three-course meal, prepared for us by our School Chefs, Zoe circulated the tables, allowing us to ask her any questions we had on the physical and mental challenges of being a cox, along with how she was finding life now after rowing. After having eaten, and answered all our questions, Zoe then gave us a speech elaborating on her journey, which included many hurdles, to becoming a GB cox at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She joked about how rowing sucks you in and once you start you realise your whole life revolves around it – something all of us who row could relate to. However, she said that it was rowing that gave her resilience, and now that she is studying Medicine at Oxford, she is grateful that she has learnt how to persevere. This led her to give the comforting message that we have time to make mistakes and that determination will get you where you want to go. Georgia Thomas

Main image kindly provided by Peter Spurrier – ©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images

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