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En-Route to the British Indoor Rowing Championships


24 Nov 2020 | Emma Benham

You might expect that Kingsley would be feeling a little low after his application to row on the water during Lockdown 2.0 was declined, however, that is far from the case. With just one week of lockdown left to go Kingsley is fresh out of an early morning gym session with his Strength and Conditioning coach Roddy, (don’t worry Kingsley and Roddy have bubbled and they use Roddy’s personal gym). Determined not to lose the strength and technique gains he made prior to lockdown Kingsley has been practicing meditative rowing on top of his regular sessions with Roddy.

“This lockdown has been a real mental challenge for me so I have worked with my coach to find ways to overcome this and meditative rowing has really helped.”

In the comfort of his home Kingsley covers the screen of his rowing machine and rows with his eyes closed. With each stroke he imagines the blades dipping into the water, pulling back, focusing on engaging the right muscles and propelling the boat forward. “When you row on a machine time and time again it’s easy to just focus on the screen and the numbers in front of you, as such, you end up sacrificing technique for speed or distance gains. Yes, you hit the numbers but bad habits form, technique weakens and you begin to use the wrong muscle groups. Meditative rowing focuses the mind. In my head I am on the water, I can feel the water beneath me and I can dictate to my body which muscles to use.” During these sessions Kingsley just sets a time limit for the session and then covers the screen, often achieving much greater distances than he expected.

 “Meditative rowing focuses the mind. In my head I am on the water, I can feel the water beneath me and I can dictate to my body which muscles to use.”

This training has been crucial for Kingsley as he works towards the British Indoor Rowing Championships on 7thDecember. Usually a well turned out event with 1000’s of rowers turning out to the Lee Valley Centre in London. “There is loud music and spectators cheering, rowing machines are arranged facing the audience, the atmosphere electrifying. It is always a chance to catch up with other athletes who leave indifferent parts of the country, make new rowing friends and get the adrenaline rushing.” This year rowers will be competing from their homes or clubs; not quite the atmosphere Kingsley was hoping for. However, technology lends a hand as all rower’s log into an app enabling them to visualise, on a laptop or tablet screen, where they are positioned against other competitors, they see a virtual representation of the competition and the competitors around them. Team mates also see the screen and join via audio to cheer each other on. “It won’t be the same but we are all in the same boat right now ha ha!”

As Kingsley gears up for this next big competition, he has one more imminent event that is counting down the days until.

“With the current announcements regarding lockdown lifting on 2nd December I already have my first water session booked in and I truly cannot wait to get back on the water.”

While we are all making sacrifices and getting used to the new challenges we face, Kingsley is remaining ever positive and continuing his journey towards Tokyo 2021 in true Kingsley style – smiling all the way!