A talented teenage rower from Dorset has been handpicked to attend a weekend training camp run by the renowned Olympic winning GB squad.
Fifteen year-old Lizzie Lander is on the first steps of achieving her Olympic dreams by being just one of 18 girls from across the UK to be chosen to attend the GB Rowing Team – J16 Crew Sculling camp, which took place at the weekend (April 5/6).
And this achievement for Lizzie, who attends the LeAF Studio School for elite athletes in Bournemouth, is the more impressive because she only attended trials for the camp in preparation for next year.
She said: “The trials for the GB camp were held in February and I decided to go along to get a taste for it and not be so nervous for next year, when I expected to be in with more of shot of joining the camp.
“So I was completely taken by surprise when I received the letter to say I had been selected.”
Lizzie has taken the junior rowing world by storm since she took up the sport just 18 months ago.
Then aged 13, Lizzie decided to give rowing a go when she walked past her local Christchurch Rowing Club and became a member.
And almost from the first time she picked up a pair of oars, Lizzie was hooked on the sport.
Excelling in the single skulls, Lizzie has won the Weybridge rowing regatta and the Thames Valley Trail Head national event.
After training with the GB rowing squad, which was held at the national water sport centre in Nottingham, Lizzie will next be setting her sights on the National Schools Junior Inter-regional championships at the end of April.
She said: “I’m definitely aiming for a podium finish at that event and am hoping training with the GB squad will be great preparation for it.
“I absolutely love rowing, I definitely caught the bug when I first picked up my oars. My sights are set on the Olympics and my dream is to one day compete for a gold medal.”
At the LeAF Studio, Lizzie receives expert strength, conditioning and sports mentoring alongside her everyday studies.
In addition, she trains on the river four times a week with Christchurch Rowing Club.
Executive principal for the LeAF Studio, Dr Annetta Minard, said: “Everyone who knows Lizzie is not at all surprised that her talent, hard work and dedication have come to the attention of the GB rowing squad.
“We are immensely proud of her and I am sure this is the first of many successes for Lizzie.”