NAME: Nikki Kernaghan

Sport: Rowing

How did you become involved in your sport?

After Collegiate and Portora amalgamated we were offered the chance to try out a Saturday taster session which I went along to with my best friend, and I fell in love with rowing ever since.

What are your earliest sporting memories?

My earliest sporting memories are from ballet, with Miss Mary Hill School of Ballet.

I remember performing my first ballet exam at the age of four. I continued ballet until the age of 10.

I then became involved in Enniskillen Lakelanders and Enniskillen Ladies hockey team.

Who was, or is, your biggest influence?

My Dad is my biggest influence as he was a great sportsman and even when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he never let it get in the way of his goals.

His determination and strength has inspired me every day within rowing and outside of it to be the best I can be, and have no excuses.

My biggest influence in rowing is my coaches at Enniskillen Royal Boat Club.

Our Head Coach, Mr. Holland, inspires us to be the best we can be, and that when we put the training and effort in the results will pay off.

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

My typical week involves training nine sessions a week.

We have weights training three mornings before school, followed by three sessions a week on the rowing machine after school.

During the day, I attended my online classes for Health and Social Care Level 3 through South West College. On the weekends, we have two sessions on a Saturday morning.

These are both on Lough Erne, which is a lovely opportunity to get every week. Early Sunday mornings, we have a session out on the water as well, to get in the miles.

I also have two part-time jobs alongside of my college and rowing.

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

To be successful in rowing, you definitely need to be focused, determined and motivated.

You must have a desire and want to train regularly. You need to be independently skilful and also be a team player.

What have been your biggest successes, to date?

My biggest success, to date, is winning J16 Coxed Four in 2019 at the British National Schools Regatta.

We set a new course record for this race in our age category.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal for the future is to study Children’s Nursing at university.

I would also love to have the opportunity to row for the university. In terms of this year’s race season, I would love to have the opportunity to race at Henley Royal Regatta in 2021.

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

A bit of advice I would give to someone starting out in rowing is to stay at it.

The long hours of training and dedication you put into this sport is so worth it when you hear that buzzer crossing the finish line.

You will make the best of friends through rowing, as well.