Athlete of the Month - February 2011
This month World Rowing moves to the east coast of Brazil to talk to adaptive rower Josiane Lima from the sunny coastal city of Florianopolis. Josiane talks openly to World Rowing about how she went from able bodied sport to become a competitive adaptive rower. In a short space of time Lima reached the pinnacle of her sport and she shows no signs of slowing down. For that Josiane is our February Athlete of the Month.
World Rowing: Tell us a bit about your rowing background.
Josiane Lima: I had an accident on my motorcycle in 2004 and this caused atrophy of my leg and then a year later I broke the same leg again, this time while body surfing here in Florianopolis city. The second accident aggravated the muscle atrophy. I wanted to do a physical activity for rehabilitation and thought about swimming. Then I was introduced to rowing and soon started competing in 2006 when I went to the World Rowing Championship and rowed with Rafael da Luz in the double.
Curiously, having the accident has subsequently provided me with the joys that I have received through rowing. So, in principle, what has been a disaster has turned out to be an opportunity.
WR: Had you ever tried rowing before your accident?
JL: No, I was not even familiar with rowing before the accident. Here in Brazil rowing is not a popular sport. Brazil is a country of football and football receives huge investments while other sports do not have the same opportunities.
WR: What made you decide to become a competitive rower?
JL: I've always been passionate about sport, and have always participated in competitions at school and then after school I competed in volleyball, judo, soccer, athletics and swimming until I had the accident.
WR: You first raced internationally at the World Rowing Championships in Eton, 2006. What was your impression?
JL: I was amazed. I noticed that despite my little experience with rowing I realised that I may be able to get a medal. I confirmed that the following year in Munich (at the World Rowing Championships) when I became World Champion with my partner Lucas Pagani of Sao Paulo.
WR: You have rowed first with Rafael Luz, then Lucas Pagani. How did you come to partner with your current doubles partner, Elton Santana
JL: Here in Brazil, to make a national team we hold an internal competition. In 2008 and 2009 Elton was selected nationally and won the seat in the double sculls with me. Despite the difficulties of the distance we live, I live in the south and Elton lives in northern Brazil, a country that is very large, we train together every 10 days and we spent 30 days training together in Sao Paulo. Then we go back to our own towns (I’m in Florianopolis and Elton’s in Salvador) and we continue to practice alone until we next meet. .
WR: What do you do for training when Elton’s not around? What about in your spare time?
JL: Here in Florianopolis I train every day and right now I do not have a partner to train with. Sometimes I bike to my workout as I live near the rowing club. Despite the loss of movement in my left leg I can still ride a bike.
I love going to the beach and the cinema once in a while and we like to have friends come to visit at home. I also go and visit my parents. And I like to read magazines about politics, etc. We sometimes take walks to the nearby towns.
WR: Are you a full-time athlete?
JL: I devote myself entirely to rowing. When I'm not rowing or coaching, I’m working on projects related to rowing. When I'm not focused on rowing I like to be at home with my family.
WR: What is your typical training day like at present
JL: The training varies according to the schedule of competitions. When I’m approaching a competition I do two workouts per day, alternating aerobic and anaerobic workouts. I also do muscle strength and endurance workouts. To complement the rowing I also swim.
WR: Do you have any races this month?
JL: I'm training for the Indoor Rowing Championships, the 2011 CRASH-B sprints. It is on Sunday 20th February. On the 5th of February I participated in the Brazilian Championship Indoor Rowing competition and won a scholarship to compete in the CRASH Bs in Boston, USA.
Josiane Lima headed to the CRASH-B Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston, USA in February. This is just the second year that CRASH-Bs has had racing for adaptive rowers and this year saw twice as many adaptive athletes competing. Josiane raced for the first time this year.
World Rowing: Was this your first time at CRASH-Bs?
Josiane Lima: Yes this was the first time I attended. My impression was very good. I found it a great event, very well organised and we felt valued. I also found the event important for me as it was the first race of the year and the physical preparation will help me for the international events later in the year.
WR: Would you like to go to CRASH-Bs again?
JL: Yes I hope to do it again and I hope to take care of myself to keep me in competition condition for as long as possible. Rowing a double scull of 37 kg, just using the trunk and arms is very stressful and it takes special care to avoid repetitive injuries.
WR: What do you plan to do with your winner’s prize hammer?
JL: This is the first time that the CRASH-B hammer has been won by a Brazilian and few people know the importance of it. I intend to eventually use my achievements as a way to motivate people from different ages, gender and socio-cultural class to practice this sport that brought me so much joy and I love it.
WR: What was your tactic when you raced on the ergometer?
JL: I wanted to control the pace every 500m and keep the stroke rate close to what I do on the water.
WR: What is your best time for 1000m on the ergometer?
JL: Interestingly my best time on the rowing ergometer was in late 2010, when I started training for the Indoor Rowing Championships in Brazil and the CRASH-Bs. I had never practiced over the 1000m distance with the intention of making the best time, but I have used the ergometer to help with training on the water.
WR: What is next for you in terms of rowing competitions?
JL: The Brazilian Rowing Federation plans to participate in the international rowing regatta in Gavirate, Italy and also the Munich Rowing World Cup in May and the World Rowing Championships in Bled.
WR: What is your aim in rowing for this year? And for the future?
JL: I intend to be well-prepared for the competitions that I mentioned. I also hope to build the recognition of Paralympic sport with the public.