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Volleyballer turned Indoor Rowing Champion

Nadia Guillaumier has been playing volleyball for the past 28 years, representing University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and playing in the Sydney Volleyball League. Recently Nadia has been training at Oxygen Fitness in Kiama. During her time there, she has been participating in some of their indoor rowing classes, and with the help of the instructors has learned the correct technique for using the ergo which in turn has helped her improve consistently on the machine.

Nadia was encouraged by her coaches who told her that she could do well in competing in competitive indoor rowing events and has since realised herself how good she is at indoor rowing, and how much she enjoys it, so has been starting to compete and challenge herself.

Keep reading this short interview with Nadia to see how she took the transition into indoor rowing as well as why she enjoys it, and some goals she has set herself for the 2020 Australian Indoor Rowing Championships (#AIRC20).

Q. How did you get into indoor rowing?
I initially started on the rowing machine at the gym I go to as they run rowing classes and coaching as part of their programs. They told me I was pretty good and now I hold the gym records over 500m, 1000m and 2000m.
I have always been someone who likes a challenge and am competitive within myself, so when the COVID-19 restrictions were enforced I used the indoor rower as a means to stay fit for when sport and my gym recommenced. I was doing five kilometres per day until someone pointed out the Rowing Australia Indoor Interstate Regatta and I saw it as an opportunity to put my metres to good use and being competitive, wanted New South Wales to win.


Q. Does rowing help with your primary sport of volleyball?
Absolutely it does on a few fronts. I have been rowing longer distances of 5000 metres and of course 250,003 m during the Interstate Indoor Interstate Regatta was a big part of that. Now we are back playing volleyball, shorter distances help me with no impact aerobic fitness and quick recovery that you need between points and sets in volleyball.


Q. Biggest tip to find ‘free speed?’ Technique, equipment, damper setting.
Definitely damper setting and its related drag factor. So, lower the damper setting and get your technique right, remember to push rather than pull, relax to the front and use your legs. That is more than one tip however combined, they make huge difference.


Q. Favourite rowing workout.
I was just doing 5000 metres however with the shorter distances it would have to be two minutes full pressure, one minute light pressure and trying to maintain consistency. Pace yourself rather than going out too hard and struggling to maintain strength and power.
My philosophy towards training is that you need to train in the way you want to compete. If you aren’t training to 90% of your race level you won’t get it on race day either as you haven’t trained the mind games, fatigue and push through you know will need to happen in racing.
Other aspect is that you can’t out train a bad diet.


Q. You are starting to race and entered the RNSW Indoor Series, what are your goals?
I am always competing within myself to improve myself and my best time. I competed in the Rowing NSW Series 2 and surprised myself at how competitive I was and how close I was to my previous times.
Now on the Concept2 logbook and rankings my goal is to be the fastest 40-49-year open weight female in Australia over 500m. For the C2 rankings this is 1:39.6. For the Australian record this is 1:34.1. At the Rowing NSW Series, I rowed 1:40.8 and have set 1:38 in the past.


Q. What do you enjoy the most about rowing?
It’s a low impact full body workout I can do at home. I have just purchased a rower I can use at home so I can use it at any time. If it is raining, I don’t need to go outside to get to the gym or train.


Q. Ever want to row on water?
No, I don’t actually like the water. Friends have tried to get me to get involved in water sports however so far I am quite attached to land that doesn’t move.


Q. What’s the best tip you have been given about indoor rowing?
Damper setting/ drag factor


Q. Who inspires you?
Anyone who is willing to give something a go and trying to achieve something to improve themselves.


Q. How often do you train?
Six days a week


Q. What do you wear for racing?
Cycling pants and a singlet. I find bike pants give some padding in the right places, don’t have seams in challenging places and are comfortable. A singlet as I overheat.


Q. What do you tell yourself in the last 30 seconds of a test?
It is a mind game and I try not to chase the finish, leaving a little in the tank to bring it home. I try to talk myself into rather than out of it and convince myself that I am not tired until I am past the finish.


Image Credit: Andrew Lyell