Argentina’s Victoria Aguirregomezcorta is an international rowing umpire making her a pioneer in Central and South America. She is a board member for the Argentine Rowing Federation, a rowing events organiser, a former rower, a teacher, a technical delegate for the World Rowing Federation and a leader.

World Rowing: From your own experience what major barriers did you face to manage your profession with your family and rowing?
Victoria Aguirregomezcorta: As a teacher in a system that is mainly female, I found it very easy to move up and establish myself in a leading position. My family has always been very supportive in all my new projects. But I must say that keeping my achievements in rowing in a place for other women to follow has not been simple. For this, every decision and action requires careful consideration. 

WR: What message would you like to leave to other women rowing coaches, umpires, leaders, athletes that may be going through similar situations?
VA: It is always productive to talk to somebody else in order to decide what you want to do. Ask for help. Set goals and feel convinced you have the power to deliver your best.

WR: One good way to promote women in the world of sport is mentoring. How did you find the Women’s Sport Leadership Academy (WSLA) opportunity in 2015?
Having attended WSLA was a benchmark in my career. Not only did I feel more confident about my position, but I also learned how to make the most out of tools and resources. After this experience I gained a growth mindset and positively focus on team work.

WR: With the WSLA there came an opportunity to umpire and network at the Henley women´s regatta (in Great Britain). How did you find this experience?
It was more than just umpiring and networking. It was the hospitality of GB Rowing, the opportunity they gave us to put forward our ideas which made me feel honoured to be there.

WR: What have you done differently since the WSLA opportunity?
I have seen things from a wider range of perspectives. I have tried to encourage people and projects with more solid arguments. I have been able to see how much I was progressing.

WR: How did the WSLA enable you to follow further opportunities?
I discovered new tools and reassured many aspects of my character and personality that provide more confidence in the planning and implementation of opportunities I choose to take.

WR: Buenos Aires can be translated to ‘fair winds. Surely this is a good sign for the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) rowing regatta in October. How is planning going? 
VA: As in every multisport event, there are some aspects of the organisation the Event Manager does not have to plan alone. Having officially started my duties on January 2, I have to say I´m very happy with the development and enthusiasm my colleagues are putting into the YOG.

WR: How do you feel the Argentinian Youth will respond to The YOG and rowing specifically?
Both educational and sports organisations have closely planned cultural programmes which involve youth participation and interaction. It is the biggest rowing event ever held in Argentina, so expectations are very high also in terms of workforce legacy.

WR: Argentina is a role model for rowing in South America. Do you feel the YOG is an opportunity to grow the sport for both men and women?
Absolutely. Along with the preparation to stage the event, rowing had to follow talent identification and progress assessment systems which once established may provide a gender balanced number of athletes.