Q&A with Lily, U19 Australian Rowing Team

Q&A with Lily, U19 Australian Rowing Team

We’re extremely proud to share with the community the outstanding achievement of Lily Gavan, Year 12. During the holidays, Lily went to Canberra to trial for the Junior Under 19 Australian Rowing Team. Ultimately, Lily and her Pair partner, also named Lily, were selected as the Junior Pair for Australia.

We were thrilled to be able to hear from Lily, who shared humbly and eloquently about her experience and what rowing means to her. Please enjoy the following Q&A with Lily and join us in cheering her on!


How do you feel about your selection to the Australian team? What does the selection involve?

Obviously I am really proud to be representing our great country, even if it is an underage level. To be selected is not only an amazing opportunity but more importantly a privilege to be able to represent my country and I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family, rowing coach and the ongoing support from the Loreto community.

Wearing our national colours is a big responsibility, so all I am focusing on now is working hard in training so that I can perform at my very best at the World Cup in June. The selection regatta at National Trials was a daunting process to be honest, but all part of the experience, I have been told!

What does it entail to row at such a high level?

I really don’t spend much time thinking about ‘what it takes.’ Like anything you want to be successful at, the key is to really try to enjoy every aspect of the process and make sure that what you are doing is ‘your’ dream, not anybody else’s. Obviously training is hard. Five mornings a week I am on the water by 5:30am, followed by an hour of Cross Training every afternoon, as well as Core Stability and Mobility exercises. This season I have loved transitioning into ‘crew boats’ and nothing beats competing as a team…it is shared torture and misery…

What does rowing mean to you?

Rowing really has been a way for me to challenge myself and keep myself fit. The discipline that it has developed in me has helped in many areas of my life. I have been lucky to travel to different parts of the world and of our great country and we have had some great family adventures along the way with it all. The friendships I have developed are far more important than any achievement I have been lucky enough to secure.

Are there any key moments from rowing that stand out for you?

My favourite memories of Rowing are not actually of any great victories at State or Nationals Championships. They are actually things like a road trip to Grafton with my dad and brother, summer camps in Perisher, getting dressed up for the Henley Regatta or an acai bowl and coffee with my mum after training on a Saturday.

Why is sport important to you? What does ‘sportswomanship’ mean to you?

I love the challenges and routine that sport brings to my life. Above this, the life-long connections and relationships that are built are important reasons why I love sport so much. ‘Sportswomanship’ is perhaps one of the most critical aspects of being involved in sport. While it is important to be a strong competitor, it is equally important to be humble, gracious and have perspective on who you are and what you are doing. Achievements in sport, at any level, will come and go very quickly but who you are as a person lasts forever. People will forget what you achieved very quickly if you are not a kind, caring and considerate person. We should celebrate these qualities more than anything else!

How do you strike a balance between sport and your other commitments?

I can’t ‘sugar coat’ it and say it is easy and that I have always been able to have a perfect balance. I can get overwhelmed at times, but communicating clearly with my parents, coaches and teachers about where I am at and how I am feeling allows me to get the support I need.

Do you have any plans or aspirations beyond school?

I try not to look too far ahead because it stops me from enjoying where I am at. My ‘rowing’ aspirations lie in being well-prepared, training hard, being a great team mate and someone others want to row with and trying my best. I am not sure where that will take or where this part of my life will end, but when it does, I know that I will have given it everything I have. Beyond rowing, I am really looking forward to doing further study at university, travelling where I can and spending time with my family and friends.

Lily Gavan, Year 12