Zoe Lee relishing her return to racing at GB Rowing Team’s first winter assessment

Olympic silver medallist Zoe Lee is set return to racing at the GB Rowing Team winter assessment on Saturday, following knee surgery in the spring


Olympic silver medallist Zoe Lee at the BRIC16 (c) Naomi Baker

Time spent out with injury can be the most frustrating time in an athlete’s career, but Olympic silver medallist Zoe Lee was determined to see her time away from racing in a positive light.

The 31-year-old, who was part of the women’s eight at Rio 2016, underwent major knee surgery in early 2017, meaning she missed the first racing season of the new Olympiad.

But Lee is set to make her comeback at this weekend’s first winter assessment for the GB Rowing Team; heading up to Boston, Lincolnshire, with her single scull to see the progress she’s made over the past seven months.

“It has been a rewarding process in many respects,” she said. “I’m quite a positive person, and certainly having an opportunity to focus more on myself, how I train and how I move the boat has been really quite enjoyable.

“I really miss racing and I miss being in a big boat and being part of the actual squad. But I feel I’ve found a lot of peace!”

She added: “I know a lot of my crewmates from Rio have decided to take some time out of competing and I can understand why.

“I’m trying to treat [last season] as having had all of the advantages of having an emotional break but without actually excluding myself, meaning I still feel part of the team. By the time they got to the World Championships I was really proud to watch this new, young team go out there and race their hearts out.”

Lee is one of nearly 370 seniors and U23s competing at the first of four assessments this winter – a process that culminates in final Trials at Caversham in April, where the squads for the new season will be decided.

Having been in crew boats for the vast majority of her time in the GB Rowing Team, racing in a single scull is something of a new experience for Lee, but one she’s looking forward to as she attempts to make the team for 2018.

“It’s quite daunting – it feels like an awfully long time since I last raced. I just want to go out and hopefully put together all of the good training I’ve done over the last seven weeks and see where that takes me,” Lee said.

“Any athlete always puts big expectations on themselves. I know what numbers I’d like to be pulling and what I could be capable of.

“But ultimately I’ve not raced the single in a really, really long time, and it’s about a year since I did a 2k on an ergo, so I want to make sure I do the processes right and put together everything I’ve done in the past few weeks.”


If you dream about rowing for Great Britain, why not put yourself forward for one of our Women’s Training Days happening this November and December. Click here for more information. 

A report from the first winter assessment will be published on the British Rowing website on Monday.