Alex Lambe met a local Olympic hero passing on her experience and tips to aspiring sailors.
London’s Olympic Nacra 17 sailor Nicola Groves returned to Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club, where she began her career, aiming to pass on her knowledge and share her experiences with sailing’s next generation.
The 26-year-old competed at the Olympic games in Rio this year alongside her crew partner Ben Saxton and shared her experiences of the games, while passing on tip for success.
Nicola spoke enthusiastically about how proud she was to represent her country and compete at her first ever Olympic games, emphasising in particular the moment when she walked out into the stadium for the opening ceremony.
At the games itself Groves and Saxton started off the series of races promisingly, and half way through were in line to take home a medal. However, a frustrating second half led to the pair dropping out of the medal standings.
She offered encouragement and shared stories of her road to Rio and spoke about how she also fitted in time to obtain a degree and a full-time job, which she then gave up two years ago to pursue her Olympic ambitions.
Following a day of racing in which Nicola took part, a dinner was held at Island Barn Sailing Club on Saturday evening to celebrate Nicola’s success in reaching Rio, with the sailor giving a short presentation to a rapt audience of over 60 guests, including a group of up and coming young sailors who are part of the club’s current sailing school.
It was a very successful evening, with over £300 raised for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation by auctioning some of Nicola’s Olympic kit, and everyone left with smiles on their faces and the desire to pursue their own sailing dreams.
For more details of junior and adult sailing schools at Island Barn see http://www.islandbarn.org.uk/