Meet the Team: Beccy Muzerie

This week’s feature is on GB sweep rower and social worker Beccy Muzerie (nee Girling)

Sweep rower Beccy Muzerie (nee Girling) joined the senior GB Rowing Team in 2017, claiming both World Cup and European medals since then. We caught up with her about the lessons she’s learned, her social work career and how she’s spending her lockdown.
Beccy Girling. Credit Nick Middleton

What do you love most about rowing?

I love the feeling of gliding on top of the water – especially when the boat is going well and you feel that you are moving almost effortlessly as a crew, whilst at the same time knowing that every muscle in your body is working hard. I love that the sport allows me to be outside, training and racing in beautiful places with a group of great hardworking individuals. The friendships that come from the rowing community are like no other.

When did you first start rowing?

I started rowing in my second year at Cardiff University, after a girl who later became my best friend told me that I had the right build to be a rower (which I was initially offended by). I had never been good at any other sport and had never set foot in a gym, so the whole experience of doing training sessions and being part of a sports team was new to me, and I quickly worked out that I loved it.

How did you get into rowing for GB?

Cardiff Uni boat club kept their boats in the same place as the Welsh Development Squad, so when I finished University the Welsh coach agreed to let me train with them. I started attending GB trials not because I had any intention of being a full time athlete, but that was just what everyone else was doing. My first experience rowing for GB was FISU – World Universities Championships in Poznan 2016, where I raced a double. Shortly after that I was invited to join the team.

What’s the best thing about being part of the GB team?

I have always given so much of my free time and energy into rowing around work or study, and being part of the team enables me to do the thing I love all day every day, and really test the limits of my body, rather than trying to squeeze sessions around other commitments. I love that being part of the GB team means you get to work with so many people who are ‘world-class’ at what they do, be that other athletes, coaches, support staff, and train in an environment where everyone is so motivated to be the best they can. One of the other big highlights is getting to travel and row in places like Varese – a beautiful sunny Italian lake with the snow-capped alps as a backdrop.

 

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What’s the biggest challenge?

I think managing your own mental state is one of the hardest challenges. As athletes, we are constantly exhausted which means can be harder to think rationally and manage the emotions associated with spending many months competing for seats against the very people we train alongside day by day. We are also constantly looking for self-improvement, and this can easily turn into a negative spiral if we don’t keep also remembering our strengths.

 

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What are your career highlights?

One of the highlights of my career is still winning academic eights for Cardiff University at Henley Women’s Regatta. This was a first for Cardiff Uni, and gave me a taste of that incredible feeling that comes from achieving something you worked so hard for, with a great group of people. Another highlight would be getting a silver medal in the W8+ at the European Championships in Glasgow, with my family watching in the stands.

What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

I would tell myself a lesson I feel I have only learnt recently – don’t underestimate yourself and overestimate others. You are capable of more than you know. But at the same time, don’t overestimate yourself and underestimate others – that risks you not giving it your all and doesn’t give others the respect they deserve. Rather, stay focused to doing your best in the present moment and not giving to much space to worrying about the future.

How did you react to the Olympic postponement?

I have never questioned that it was the right decision to postpone the Olympics. I think it will be an incredible worldwide celebration when it does happen and I will be so proud to be part of it. At the same time, I felt quite exhausted when the announcement came because it had been such an intense season up to that moment. Personally, I had been injured and fighting my way back for the majority of the season, my mentality for so many months being ‘One day at a time’. We had just finished some high stakes testing as we went into lockdown, and the pressure coming off needing to perform any time soon meant I needed to take some time to physically and mentally process what was happening.

 

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How are you finding training in lockdown?

Training has its good and bad days. I am so thankful to have done all but three sessions outside in my backyard, but I really miss being on the water and training with other people. My motivation also fluctuates, but I find it helpful to be in a good routine so I don’t have to think about when to train, and remind myself of short term goals and reflect on why I row. We also have two weekly zoom calls with half of the sweep squad and it has been so good to have an opportunity to build relationships and discuss topics we do not usually have the time or energy to explore.

Other than training, how else have you been spending your time during lockdown?

Food has been a big part of my lockdown experience – I love to bake and Matt my husband loves to braai (South African BBQ) so our weekends are spent creating and consuming great food. We even created an Instagram account @bakeandbraai to document our experiments, my favourite has been Crème Egg doughnuts!

 

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I am also a trained Social Worker and have returned to virtually support one of my local social work teams. Social workers are key workers on the frontline continuing to protect vulnerable children, and I am thankful to be able to do my little bit to support them behind the scenes from my kitchen table.

Outside of that I have learnt to crochet to make a gift for my new niece (who I am yet to meet!), have joined the sourdough trend and started my own starter and just bought some herbs for the garden which I am trying to keep alive!

What would you be doing if you weren’t a rower?

As mentioned above, I would probably be a Child Protection Social Worker. My sister and I also have a long term dream to open a café, and we are already testing various recipes so that when the day comes we know that we will have the best baked goods to offer!

 

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Follow Beccy on Instagram @beccygirling or on her blog www.beccyrows.com

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