Durham University rowing cox selected for the Paralympics
(5 July 2012)
Durham University student and rowing cox Lily van den Broecke has been selected to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Lily’s selection comes only a couple of weeks after winning Gold at the Munich World Cup with her crew.
Lily, who is 20 years old and a first year student at Durham University, started rowing at secondary school. After four years of sculling, she tried out as a cox and found it suited her.
Lily said: "I'm beyond excited to be part of the Paralympic Games. Not only is it an honour to be coxing some top athletes but the experience will be made even more special when shared with our home nation.
In the Paralympic Squad, Lily is a cox for the LTAMix4+, which stands for Legs, Trunk and Arms mixed coxed four, and means that the rowers use at least one leg, their trunk and arms, with four rowers and one cox in the boat.
Lily, who is a member of University College, combines her sporting career with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, something she is able to do at Durham, which prides itself on academic excellence combined with opportunities in sport, the arts and volunteering.
Although Lily has been selected for the Paralympics, she is able-bodied. The rules do not preclude able-bodied athletes to compete as rowing coxes in the Paralympics.
She said: “I have coxed as part of the Junior GB squad as well as for the senior team. I feel that as an able-bodied cox working with the Paralympic Rowing Squad is one of the most humbling and incredible experiences that anyone without a disability could have, and we would of course love to win a medal at the games.”
In 2011, Lily won Gold in the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia as part of the LTA mixed coxed four with crewmates Pamela Relph, Naomi Riches, David Smith and James Roe.
In Munich, at the first World Cup of 2011, Lily raced in one of two GB LTAMix4+ boats to take gold, with Germany in second and the other GB boat taking bronze. In 2010, she coxed the Junior Women’s 8+ (JW8+) to a gold medal at the World Rowing Junior Championships in the Czech Republic.
Earlier in Lily’s rowing career, she secured a gold medal as cox of the JW8+ at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in France and won the ‘Triple’ at school level by winning the School’s Head, National Schools and Henley Women’s race with Headington School.
In February 2012, the University opened a new £6.7m world-class sports facility, including a £1m powered indoor rowing tank, one of only three in the UK and the first in the North of England.
The tank, used to teach the art of sculling and crew skills, is designed to simulate the movement and feel of a boat through water. The speed flow of the water can be adjusted electronically to give any speeds up to three metres per second.
Durham University has a global reputation for producing and nurturing world-class sporting talent, counting several Olympic athletes and well-known sporting stars amongst its alumni. They include Olympic gold medallist and triple jumper, Jonathan Edwards; rower and Olympic bronze medallist, Steve Rowbotham; current England cricket captain Andrew Strauss and former captain Nasser Hussain; and Will Carling, who was the youngest England rugby captain at 22.
The London Paralympics will take place from 29th August until 9th September 2012.
To read Lily's biography click here.