Athlete of the Month – July 2020
Spanish rower Aina Cid is a reigning European Champion in the women's pair. The 25-year-old has her fingers crossed she can defend that title this year if the 2020 championship goes ahead. Either way, the focus remains Tokyo and she's delighted to be training again.
World Rowing: How is 2020 going and how is it different than you expected?
Aina Cid: It has been an unpredictable year. It was mid-March when everyone went into lockdown. We all had to leave our training centres to go home. Luckily the Spanish team equipped us with all the equipment possible to keep training for the Olympic Games. Then the games were postponed which evoked mixed feelings. On one side, everything I worked for during four years suddenly started vanishing and it felt very hard to mentally process everything around me. On the other side I was relieved that we didn’t have to worry about the most important race while living in a very unpredictable time frame. To be honest, living this pandemic has forced me to live day to day and not to worry about the unexpected, which I used to do a lot.
WR: Where are you training and are there any restrictions that affect your training?
AC: I am training in the training centre in Banyoles. Currently there are no restrictions that affect my training. We went out of lockdown by the end of June and at the moment we can freely move. However, there are hygiene measures that we have to follow for prevention like wearing a mask until the start of training, taking temperature before entering the training centre, hand washing often or disinfecting all the equipment before and after their use.
WR: What was it like the first time you got into a boat?
AC: Since I started, I had never spent that much time without rowing in a boat and when I got back it felt like a dream come true. I must say that my technique was not the best and I felt pretty clumsy, but I loved every minute of it.
WR: Why do you keep rowing?
AC: It fulfils my life. Rowing has been a building block in my life. I started rowing when I was ten years old, so it has been part of all those crazy teenage years. It has taught me so much and moreover it has shaped me into who I am today. I consider rowing my job, and I will continue to row as long as I enjoy it.
WR: What is your next rowing goal?
AC: The main goal is still the Tokyo 2020 (+1) Olympic Games however this season we still have the chance to compete at the European Championships. It is the only international race left, yet it is, pending confirmation, July 31. We expect it to be confirmed so we are already working towards the goal to compete at the European Championships - always with Tokyo Olympics in mind though.
WR: What is your long-term rowing goal?
AC: For now my long-term goal is to get in the best possible shape for the Tokyo Olympics. After the Games, I will decide whether I will stay on for another cycle.
WR: Where is your favourite course?
AC: Rotsee, Lucerne. It deserves the given name of the lake of the gods. Firstly, I love the scenery, the perfect water conditions, I like that the wind hardly ever blows, and there is little or no lane differences. Secondly, in that racing course I have had the best rowing moments. I qualified for my first games there and I won a historical gold medal for the Spanish team at the European Championships.
WR: What is your role in your crew and how do you get on with your crewmate, Virgina Diaz Rivas?
AC: We get along very well, in fact I think we complement each other perfectly. I am pure energy and a nervous wreck all the time and Virginia is a very calm person. We are both perfectionists and we understand each other’s needs which helps to get good quality training.
WR: What is your feeling about ergs?
AC: Honestly, it is my least favourite of all the training options. However, I am well aware how necessary it is to have good speed on the water. I guess I hate the fact that it tells you how hard you are pulling each stroke and never gives you a break, it’s like a non-stop judging machine. I must say that I have grown to appreciate it during the lockdown since it kept me from going insane at home.
WR: What do you do when you are not rowing?
AC: When I am not rowing, and I am not too tired I focus on my master’s degree in children’s motor development. I was lucky enough to find a programme that I really enjoy and adapts to my training sessions. I like having something else apart from rowing because it helps me disconnect from training, but I am nearly finished so soon I will have to find something new to fill my time.
WR: What do you do for fun or to relax?
AC: I like to go to the movies, mostly because I love to eat good quality popcorn. But what I really enjoy are escape rooms. I like how these rooms challenge my reasoning abilities. I know it is not the most relaxing activity, but I find it very entertaining.
WR: Which sports person do you most admire?
AC: I don’t have a person that I most admire because honestly, I admire everyone who trains at the elite level. However, I have always valued Nuria Dominguez as a role model, she was for so many years the only woman in the team but that did not stop her to dream big.