Meet the Team: Sam Courty
We caught up with Sam Courty for this week’s team interview
After joining Bath’s World Class Start programme at university, Sam Courty has competed for Great Britain at U23 and senior level. At the 2019 World Rowing Championships she and Annie Withers secured an Olympic qualification spot for the women’s pair in one of the most exciting races of the Championships. We caught up with Sam to talk about TikTok, injuries and lockdown training.
What do you love most about rowing?
Quite simply the racing. Everything from the nerves beforehand, the pre race chat, adrenaline rush on the start line and then the battle with other crews for 2000m.
When did you first start rowing?
I started rowing at when I joined Bath University in Oct 2011. My Mum had a dream I broke a rowing world record before I left for uni so asked me to at least give it ago and then my housemate wanted someone to go to the welcome BBQ with so I went along with him and got hooked.
How did you get into rowing for GB?
I represented GB at U23 level but my first GB all in one came when I raced in the Windermere Cup in 2014 in Seattle. It was whirlwind of a week, where I went from doing my first Final Trials and a week later was on a plane to America with senior rowers that I looked up as idols.
What’s the best thing about being part of the GB team?
The team environment that we have is great. On test days when everyone is shouting for each other and pushing each other on you really feel like you can achieve things you didn’t think possible and everyone is behind you.
View this post on Instagram
What’s the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I have faced over the past few years have been my injuries. Not necessarily the injury itself but more the mental challenges that come with them. It’s really tough being on the sidelines and watching your team mates out on the water and completing the training. We all love what we do and when we can’t do it it can really get you down. It’s been something I’ve tried to be really open about as unfortunately, at some point, nearly everyone will spend time unable to row and I want to get the message out there that it’s normal to feel these things and talking about it can really help.
What are your career highlights?
Three points that really stick out are making the A final at my first final trials in 2014 as that kick started my international racing. Secondly, racing at final trials in 2019 with Annie and getting back into the team. We went to it with a point to prove and really enjoyed racing that weekend. Finally, I have to mention qualifying the women’s pair for the Tokyo Olympics again with Annie. It was some of the toughest and closest racing I’ve ever been involved in but that feeling when we crossed the line was amazing.
What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?
I‘d say to stop comparing myself to other people and what they have achieved. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and by focussing on other people you miss the opportunity to be the best version of yourself. Also to make sure that I’m having fun and enjoying it, as soon as the fun is lot I won’t reach my true potential.
How did you react to the Olympic and Paralympic postponement?
My initial reaction was very level headed and I completely understood why the decision had to be made. The next day I found myself feeling more frustrated and disappointed that timed my season well and I’d got myself to my best level at the right time and now it had been taken all away. Now I’ve processed that, I’m now have a feeling excitement about how much better can I be next year.
How are you finding training in lockdown?
I’m actually enjoying it. I love training and have always had a ‘get your head down and get it done’ attitude which is very helpful in these circumstances. I am looking forward to having a training partner though and getting back out on the water with Annie.
Other than training, how else have you been spending your time during lockdown?
I think me and my housemate have tried nearly every lockdown activity going! We’ve been painting, cross stitching, reading, tie dying, baking, gardening, candle making, attempted TikTok dances, completed charity challenges, school talks, video podcasts and way too many zoom quizzes! I must note some were more successful than others!
View this post on Instagram
What would you be doing if you weren’t a rower?
My dream has always been to go to the Olympics so I hope I would be training full time in another sport aiming for Tokyo.