• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

Student-Athlete Profile: Ollie Holmes

Ollie Holmes

Ollie is one of the most promising rowers currently at The University of Edinburgh, having represented Scotland earlier in the year and is currently a Team Great Britain hopeful. On top of all this, Ollie is a third-year student studying history and is the secretary of our boat club. 

How did you get into rowing? 

“I grew up in London, and started rowing at school. I live in Putney, which is right next to the river, which is where a lot of rowing takes place, like the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race. That’s what happens in Putney, so it was always something that I’d been aware of.”

How do you balance your training and school work?

“It’s usually between 12 and 14 sessions a week. We train six days a week, and it’s usually twice a day, so it’ll be one in the morning, one in the afternoon.”

“For me personally, I do actually find that the structured nature of rowing training does help me to do work sometimes. Because if you have these times in the day where you know, I can’t be working then, because I’ve got to be doing this, it sort of nudges you to do your work a bit faster and build a routine”

“It can be quite nice if you’ve been stuck in the library all afternoon to then actually do an erg on the rowing machine and just relax”

What have been some of the highlights of rowing recently?

“I did rowing for Scotland over the Summer, which was quite a highlight. It was the Home International Regatta. And we raced over in Ireland. I raced with three other guys from Edinburgh, and then a bunch of other guys from other Scottish Universities, so that was a good race, getting to represent the Scotland team.” 

“And now a few of us are doing GB trials. It’s definitely one of my goals. I feel like I’ve got a slight sort of chip on my shoulder from not, of not being able to do it when I was a junior because of COVID so I want to try and make the team.”

How do you keep going?

“All the time, all the training you’re doing, you’re not alone. It’s a good team sport, and I think a lot of people don’t think of it as a team sport. But, when you’re racing together in a crew, you’re training together, you spend so much time together. And you just become really close, and it makes the training a lot easier when you’ve got to do 90 minutes on the rowing machine. You think, oh that’s so horrible – but when you sit down with your mates, you get some music on the speakers, you’re singing along to some good songs, that 90 minutes absolutely flies by because you’re just having fun with your friends.”

Any advice to potential new rowers?

“I suppose If anyone is sort of reading this and thinking about whether they would want to try rowing, I’d say It’s definitely worth it. You obviously have to make sacrifices. And that comes with dedicating a lot of time – there are often days you have to say to your friends, I can’t do this, I can’t go to this party, I’ve got training in the morning.”

“It sounds odd to say, but not a lot of people could dedicate that much time and put all that effort in for a reward of racing at the end of the year, which seems so far away. I think it is a privilege to be able to to say you can do that and to be able to represent the university and Scotland”

“Even if you haven’t ever rowed before, we have a beginner team where they teach people who’ve never rowed before, and it is one of the most successful beginner programs in the country. I think the beginner women won pretty much every event they did last year.”

Final word and any advice to potential rowers?

“I suppose If anyone is sort of reading this and thinking about whether they would want to try rowing, I’d say It’s definitely worth it. You obviously have to make sacrifices. And that comes with dedicating a lot of time – there are often days you have to say to your friends, I can’t do this, I can’t go to this party, I’ve got training in the morning. It can be a bit demoralising in the moment, but you’ve got to remember that all this training that you’re leaning towards is a big deal.” 

“It sounds odd to say, but not a lot of people could dedicate that much time and put all that effort in for a reward of racing at the end of the year, which seems so far away. I think it is a privilege to be able to say you can do that and to be able to represent the university and Scotland and it is a cool thing to be able to do.”

“Even if you haven’t ever rowed before, we have a beginner team where they teach people who’ve never rowed before, and it is one of the most successful beginner programs in the country. I think the beginner women won pretty much every event they did last year.”

“All the time, all the training you’re doing, you’re not alone. It’s a good team sport, and I think a lot of people don’t think of it as a team sport. But, when you’re racing together in a crew, you’re training together, you spend so much time together. And you just become really close, and it makes the training a lot easier when you’ve got to do 90 minutes on the rowing machine. You think, oh that’s so horrible – but when you sit down with your mates, you get some music on the speakers, you’re singing along to some good songs, that 90 minutes absolutely flies by because you’re just having fun with your friends.”

Photo via Lewis McCue