Two Enniskillen Royal Boat Club (ERBC) rowers have secured rowing scholarships in the United States where they will look to continue their studies and sporting excellence.
Multiple Irish champions Zoe McCutcheon and Maeve Donnelly will in the coming weeks travel to the University of Southern California and Oregon State University respectively.
Both Zoe and Maeve have played large parts in the successes of the Boat Club throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom in recent years and are looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
Zoe commented: “I hope to enjoy rowing at the University in California as much as I have at Enniskillen and row internationally. 
“I also hope to help contribute to success with my new team while making individual improvements.”
Maeve hopes also that the move will improve her international rowing prospects.
“I want to enjoy the experience of being in a completely new environment, improve and reach goals I set for myself and the team. Hopefully, someday I will row internationally. I hope I can bring something new to my team and that we can be successful.”
Zoe, a student at Enniskillen Royal Grammar and Maeve, a student at Mount Lourdes Grammar had their final years cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
But their successes for ERBC had already attracted the attention of the colleges in the United States.
Zoe added: “I started rowing in 2014 when I was in Year Nine and was fortunate enough to enjoy success at regattas in Ireland and the United Kingdom which led to attention from recruiting coaches in the United States. 
“I visited a few different Universities last year and then opted for the University of Southern California.”
It was a similar story for Maeve who visited Oregon state last year before making her decision.
“Following success over the last four years with the club, I contacted a few universities and coaches in the United States and after visiting Oregon in November, I decided to commit to Oregon State for the next four years.”
Both were thankful to Enniskillen Royal Boat Club and head coach Derek Holland for the support and encouragement they have received.
Zoe explained: “Our coach here at ERBC, Derek Holland has always been very supportive in making sure we reach our full potential and encouraged me to consider a scholarship like many past rowers at the club. 
“The rowing community in Enniskillen has opened many doors for me and I am thankful I have been given the opportunity which will allow me to reach my full potential. 
“I have family in California which will be comforting to have familiar faces nearby while the opportunity to experience the world class facilities at USC and live somewhere new is very exciting.”
Maeve agreed: “Coach Derek Holland again encouraged us to apply for scholarships. I am thankful to ERBC for helping me develop over the last four years to be the best rower I could be and for the opportunities it has given to me. 
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity at Oregon State with its tremendous resources that I am really excited to take up.”