Nia and Monique – Keeping the Olympic dream alive in lockdown

On the 12th of March Monique and I were in Palma, Spain two days out from the start of our World Championships and final selection event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. We were in the middle of a training session stretching in our new sails when our coach Ruslana motored up and said the regatta had been postponed. It was difficult to get our heads around as we went from preparing for measurement to packing up the boat, booking flights and organising logistics for our equipment. It was a rush to get home as flights were being cancelled and the borders would be closing soon. We eventually got home to Perth and started our self-isolation. Those first few days back home were really hard; we were stuck inside with nothing much to do but worry over logistics, plans, event cancelations and the money we had just invested and lost on our trip to Europe. Thankfully we had plenty of support from our families, coaches and our team at WAIS and we were able to start resetting our goals and adapting to the new situation.

Monique and I were off the water for a month due to the social distancing laws and double handed restrictions. I got out windsurfing and struck a deal with my dad to crew for him on the flying fifteen if he came out on the water with me on the 470. We are both skippers so the crewing in each scenario was interesting at the least but it got us back out doing what we love. Monique kept busy on her kite board improving her balance skills and enjoying the pure pleasure of going really really fast. We have both been using the time at home to build up our fitness and strength by getting out on the bike or running, using the equipment we happened to have at home and by making equipment such as rope ladders and hiking benches.

Monique and I have been on a steep trajectory climbing up through the 470 Womens fleet, the news that the Olympic Games is now in 2021 is a huge opportunity for us to push and try to continue to improve at a faster pace than our competitors putting us in a strong position to perform at the Olympics next year. Unfortunately, as the final selection event hasn’t occurred the announcement of the Australian 470 Womens representative for the Games has also been postponed. Currently Monique and I are back out on the water off Freo working on our speed and techniques so that when we can return to competition, we will be in great condition to perform at our best.

We are extremely grateful to be supported by the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation this year and in previous years. Racing the 470 is a highly equipment orientated sport and to be at the front of the fleet it is imperative to maintain, test and develop high quality equipment. The financial support we have received from the foundation has aided us in this endeavour and has allowed Monique and I to be competitive in the Women’s 470. We are looking forward to returning to competition whenever that might be and getting back to what we enjoy most, competing on the international stage.