Scott Meenagh Q&A
In advance of the Scottish Championships this weekend where Scott Meenagh will be competing, British Rowing caught up with him to get the low-down on the Para-Rowing squad.
Q. How did you hear about the Para-Rowing squad and what convinced you to give rowing a go?
A. I was introduced to the sport at a Development Camp at the Royal Docks in 2012. I was hooked straight away because of how physically demanding the sport is; I had to work hard for every gain.
Q. What is so great about rowing?
A. For me, it’s about freedom and independence. It’s great to spend time out on the water. Rowing also provides a level playing field compared to other sports I have tried. When you compete, there’s nowhere to hide. You have to be willing to give it everything you’ve got.
Q. How different is training in the Para-Rowing squad compared to the army?
A. The squad dynamics are fairly similar as we spend a lot of time together, on camps abroad and often living in close confinement.
The life of soldiers and rowers also have their similarities. We grow stronger as a group and when we achieve together it’s great. We also experience the highs and the lows together.
On the other hand, the training is very different. In the army you have to endure walking for long distances carrying extremely heavy and uneven weights, over undulating ground, with little food and water for extensive periods of time. In rowing everything is calculated and done for a specific reason. If I went for more than three hours without a meal now I’d feel like I was going to faint! The army turns you into a bit of a Land Rover. Rowing prefers finely-tuned Formula1 cars.
Quick Fire Five!
Thinking about the Para-Rowing squad….
- You are stuck on a desert island, who would you want with you? Pam Relph (survival expert!)
- Whose music collection would you most like to have? Laurence Whiteley
- Who makes you laugh the most? James Fox
- Who trains the hardest? Tom Aggar
- Who is the worst singer? Probably me (but I think I'm brilliant)!
Q. What has been your biggest challenge since taking up rowing?
A. My biggest challenge is managing my limitations and accepting that things won’t always happen quickly. Small gains are hard won and there’s a lot of “one step forward, two steps back” when managing my body and health around training. You do soon build resilience though, and understand how to regulate yourself.
Q. And what has been your biggest success?
A. My race at Gavirate International was my greatest success. I had to put everything on the line to get a medal and it was so satisfying to stand beside some top international rowers on the podium.
Q. You’ve only been training with the team for three years. What’s your ambition for rowing?
A. My aim is to reach the highest levels in rowing by qualifying for a Paralympic Games and winning. I’m very proud to be part of a team which is constantly moving forward and achieving new levels.
Q. What advice would you give to up and coming rowers?
A. Be patient, it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s no short cut to reaching the top of the sport. Be diligent and do the small things well – they become the big things.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration?
A. My Grandfather. He taught me that I should always be humble, to never give up, or to feel too big to do the small things.
Q. What is on your playlist when you train?
A. All sorts!! I’m actually a bit of a Country fan, and Folk music. It tells a story and often has a good beat. It helps me get through the big miles in training.
Scott Meenagh was serving in the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED losing both of his legs. Following multiple surgeries and intensive rehabilitation, Scott is now a full time member of the GB Rowing Team’s Paralympic Programme. His above knee amputations mean he uses prosthetics to continue leading his adventurous lifestyle, making him eligible for the Trunk and Arms (TA) class of Para-Rowing.
If you’d like to be part of this great team, and think you have what it takes, why not have a look at the Para-Rowing Talent ID page for more information.