Name: Sam Balcombe

Sport: Rowing

How did you become involved in your sport?

My mum was involved in rowing at university and encouraged me to get involved at what was Portora Boat Club at that time, now Enniskillen Royal Boat Club

What is it that you love about your sport?

I love the feeling of your commitment paying off, when you put hours into the sport throughout the cold winter months and get to see it pay off in summer racing it is a huge sense of achievement.

What are your earliest sporting memories?

I have early memories of playing Gaelic football in primary school and rugby in first year, and not being very good at them, but when I started rowing I remember it feeling natural and the feeling of making a boat move fast even at a young age was incredible.

Who was, or is, your biggest influence?

Mum was a huge influence in starting rowing, but in sport I feel Tyson Fury is a huge influence due to his recovery from mental illness to be the best heavyweight boxer in the world.

Who do you look up to in your chosen sport?

I look up to the athletes Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand, who had a period of complete dominance in the men’s pair, as their dedication to the sport and sheer ability to move the boat smoothly with almost no visible effort is something I strive to achieve in my own rowing.

Could you give us an example of what a typical week involves for yourself?

A typical week involves 2/3 sessions in the gym in the morning before school, and 4/5 afternoons spread between gym work and water work. We then train Saturday and sometimes Sunday on the water either doing long technical sessions or shorter, more strenuous sessions.

What do you think are the key to being successful in sport?

I think the biggest key is dedication. If you aren’t dedicated to your sport and willing to put in the hours you are unlikely to succeed.

What have been your biggest successes to date?

My biggest successes have been rowing for Ireland and winning a bronze medal at the Coupe De La Jeunesse in 2018, and winning the Irish Junior Men’s 8 in 2019.

What are your goals for the future?

I hope to represent Ireland again at U23 level and hopefully go to a World Championship.

What bit of advice would you offer to anybody starting out in your chosen sport?

Give it a go - you never know if a sport will be for you until you try it so don’t hesitate to try it out!