In our new series, ‘Showcase your Sport’, in association with the Irish Federation of Sport, we will be giving you a thorough insight into some of the most fascinating sports we have in Ireland.
This week, we’re focusing on Rowing and answering our questions is Fintan McCarthy who won a gold medal in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the World Rowing Championships last year alongside Skibbereen clubmate Paul O’Donovan.
When did you first take up rowing?
I rowed on and off for a month or two here and there in primary school but I started rowing properly when I was 15.
Which athlete inspired you growing up?
I wasn’t really into sport until I started rowing and even then, I didn’t have much knowledge of the rowing world until a few years in. So I mainly just looked up to all the senior athletes at my club in Skibbereen and was inspired by their successes.
What does a normal training week look like for you?
It probably averages around 12 sessions a week on the water or rowing machine and in the gym lifting weights. Sometimes it’s more than that during training camps or less during recovery weeks and in the couple of weeks after our main championships of the year.
What is your favourite memory from the sport?
Hard to pick a favourite but some that stand out are winning my first national title in 2016, surprising people by making the European championship final last year with my brother, Jake, and of course winning the World Championships last year with Paul.
Best and worst thing about rowing in Ireland?
Best thing is the people and the rowing community. I think because training and racing is quite hard it just automatically creates a weird sort of family environment where everyone’s putting in the work together and supporting each other without even realizing it most of the time.
Even outside of individual clubs, the friends you make at regattas at home and abroad and the support from people within the whole community is unreal.
The worst thing is definitely the weather.
Favourite competition to take part in?
National Championships – we often have to miss it due to clashes with international racing so it’s great fun to represent our home clubs and race with our club mates when we get the chance.
Do you believe the sport has grown in Ireland?
Definitely, participation at the national trials and regattas throughout the country is getting bigger all the time.
What would you like to see done to grow the sport even more in Ireland?
Not sure if it would necessarily grow the sport but I think maybe if there was a podium for 1st 2nd and 3rd at the championships rather than just a ‘pot’ for the winners, it might encourage more clubs to enter different events and not just focus on what they think they might win, which would probably give more people a chance at participating as well.
What would you like to achieve in the sport?
Reach my full potential in the sport which will hopefully result in a gold medal at the Olympics.
Why should people get involved in rowing?
It’s a great way to get fit and strong, form lifelong friendships and have fun travelling around to regattas across the country to compete!