There must be something in the water at the Relph family home because rower Monica has followed in the illustrious oar strokes of her Paralympic gold medallist sister Pam to earn a World Cup call-up for Great Britain.
After a hard winter of training and a career-best performance in the GB Rowing trials at Boston in early February, Weston Turville’s Monica was rewarded with a seat in the GB Women’s Quadruple Scull which will compete at the first of the World Cup regattas in Sydney later this month.
The GB squad have flown out to Australia for a fortnight’s acclimatisation and intensive training prior to the World Cup event, between March 22-24.
This first ‘post-Olympics’ squad features a number of new faces, following the retirement and sabbaticals of some familiar faces from Dorney 2012.
And Monica has been quick to seize the opportunity to establish her place in a GB boat and to perform on a world stage for the first time at a senior level.
“It’s the biggest cliché in sport to say ‘take it one race at a time’ but that’s genuinely the way I feel about things,” Monica said.
“My focus is solely on doing well in Sydney – after that, then of course it would be great to compete on home water at Dorney.”
Monica has moved from ‘sweeping’ (where the athlete controls only one oar) to sculling (using two oars) and is very positive about the development.
“In the past, I have been very flexible regarding which side – bow or stroke – I rowed in a sweep boat, which worked against me to a certain extent.
“I’ve really enjoyed training in the boat and we are really coming together as a crew too, which can only be positive.”
Just like her sister Pam, Monica was quick to give thanks to the local support she has received from individuals, businesses and public bodies in Aylesbury Vale.
“Aylesbury Vale District Council have been very generous in the support they have given both Pam and myself, and also the Aylesbury Vale Charitable Trust,” she said.
“World class performances can only come with this kind of backing and that, plus the kind thoughts that get passed onto me by my family from people in and around Aylesbury, are really welcome.
“I also want to say a major thanks to everyone who has taken time to wish me well,” Relph added.