‘I didn’t lie in my hospital bed dreaming of training – it’s these moments you dream of’

Zoe Lee expects a competitive women’s quadruple sculls final on Saturday, with all six crews in with a shout of winning a medal


Zoe Lee in the women's quadruple sculls at the 2018 World Rowing Championships (Naomi Baker)

Zoe Lee is expecting a ‘bunfight’ in the final of the women’s quadruple sculls on Saturday but believes the GB crew has what it takes to be right among the medal hunt.

GB won bronze in this event last season, with two of that crew – Jess Leyden and Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne – joining Lee and Melissa Wilson in the boat in Plovdiv.

Having spent the 2017 season out recovering from knee surgery, Lee is enjoying being back at the heart of the action at a major championships.

“It’s incredibly exciting. I used to think that eights racing was the pinnacle of excitement because it was so loud with six shouting coxes as well as the noise of the rowing,” she said.

“[The quad] is just so competitive, when you’ve got crews who have medalled earlier in the season not even making the A final. It shows you the depth in the event and how everyone is fighting for it.

“I didn’t lie in my hospital bed dreaming of training – it’s these moments you dream of. You don’t dream of the heats, the repechages or the semi-finals, you dream of the World Championships and Olympic finals.

“That is why I put so much in when I was coming back and worked so hard on my rehab. It was terrifying that I might never see that again.

“It has been an emotional journey and I’m sure it will culminate tomorrow in some tears, and hopefully they’ll be tears on the podium.”

Lee turned her attentions to sculling in 2017 during her rehabilitation from injury, having won silver with the women’s eight at Rio 2016.

A successful winter in the GB Rowing Team Assessments, finishing first and third, was followed by third place at Senior Trials in April.

And a full year on from the start of her season, Lee is relishing the challenge faced by her quad in Saturday’s final.

“My season started 52 weeks ago and I did six weeks without any of the team [at Caversham],” she said.

“I felt apart from the team – I wasn’t a part of the team last year so it was my job to work my way back in. The sculling thing happened by accident – it wasn’t something that I ever excelled at but was something that I really enjoyed.

“It has been an exciting new challenge, especially given the disruptive year last year. The whole squad really works together and I know that in my seat I am the pendulum, I’m setting the tempo – that’s the thing that I know that I’m good at and that’s the thing that isn’t any different to where I’ve sat before.”

The women’s quadruple sculls final gets underway at 11.01 BST – one of four GB crews in medal races on Saturday. You can watch all of the racing on the BBC Red Button and on the BBC Sport website and follow along on the British Rowing social media channels.