Bill LucasBill Lucas (l) & Sam Townsend (r)
Bill Lucas - Olympian & Proud Son of Kingswear
“My day starts at 7.30: we have breakfast, train, have a second breakfast, train, have lunch, then train and maybe work in the gym. The hardest thing when you’re training is to stay at the same weight rather than losing it,” says rower Bill Lucas, the Kingswear boy who is about to step onto the truly world stage at the 2012 Olympics.
Beginning the final phase of his training before the big event, Bill is based at the National Rowing Centre just outside Reading, and is now working incredibly hard every day to be absolutely ready for the London Olympics.
Monks have more fun it seems – with three rowing sessions a day plus weight training and the constant eating. But Bill is absolutely at home with his regime – as he keenly wants the gold medal for the double sculls at this year’s London Olympic Games.
Bill first rowed on the river Dart with Kingswear Rowing Club – working with Chris and Wendy Ryan. Chris suggested that Bill look for more coaching to capitalise on his obvious talent.
He rowed for Dart Totnes and developed under his coach Will Hawkyard.
Bill was first spotted as a potential international rower as a 17 year old thanks to the GB Rowing Team’s Start Programme – which aims to find the brightest and the best of British talent in rowing, helping them to develop by being coached under the National Coaching programme.
Bill, has progressed well over the last few years and is now coming into full maturity as a rower. He and his rowing partner Sam Townsend are one of the top double sculls teams in the world , winning silver at one recent meeting. Both are now training hard to bring home a medal at London 2012.
The first few years in the national set up were, said Bill, a lot of fun.
“I was 17 and at that time you still have a lot of developing to do but can look up to the older rowers and see what the standards are. You are just constantly getting better and better with lots of role models around. I just got my head down and tried not to muck up!”
Bill did well at Junior Level Championships, then made the step up to Under 23s and now the seniors. He said he is always learning new things about himself.
“Rowing is an attritional sport – you have to be able to put the hammer down and maintain it for as long as possible,” he tells me. “It helps if you don’t mind pain! It is a total body workout – you are using your whole body at its maximum potential for as long as possible. The person, who can keep going no matter how much pain they are in, will win.”
Bill has spent the years after he left University – he went to Reading and studied Politics and International Relations – working towards his goal of making it to and doing well in the 2012 olympitcs.
With only two weeks off a year, I ask how people treat him when he does get the chance to come home.
“Exactly the same way they always did!” he laughs. “It’s one of the wonderful things about this area, the community is so close-knit and it just feels brilliant to be home. I hope after the Olympics I might get a little longer off and get the chance to spend a bit longer there with my family and friends - who have all been so supportive.”
I ask him how he deals with the pressure of an Olympic Games in your home country.
“It’s best if you don’t think about it,” he said. “Logically you are rowing in the same boat, against the same people over the same distance. Obviously it’s amazing that we are having an Olympics here and it provides a once in a lifetime opportunity – but we have to separate ourselves from that to make sure we are mentally and physically in the right place. It’s quite easy to get carried away with this and get distracted – but I have spent eight years working incredibly hard to get here and I want to do my best.
“In every single race you learn about yourself and what you can do if you are prepared correctly. You have to keep focused and concentrate on your job – which is to row as well as possible and get to the finishing line first.”
First Published July 2012 By The Dart