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Young Norfolk Sports Academy playing vital role in Cerys Maryan's path to rowing success

PUBLISHED: 06:30 11 February 2016

Young Norfolk Sports Academy, Cerys Maryan.
 Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Young Norfolk Sports Academy, Cerys Maryan. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

Promising rower Cerys Maryan is one of 19 young athletes receiving coaching from the Young Norfolk Sports Academy.

Cerys Maryan, right, in action for Norwich Rowing Club. Picture: Gordon LysterCerys Maryan, right, in action for Norwich Rowing Club. Picture: Gordon Lyster

The 16-year-old, from Poringland, is a member of Norwich Rowing Club who hopes to compete at international level in the future. In the latest of our monthly updates with YNSA athletes, the Framingham Earl High School pupil gives us an insight into her sporting development.

I started rowing in April 2012 thanks to influences from my PE teacher Mr Vanden Bergh and Sharon Allen from Norwich Rowing Club. Since then I caught the bug and have competed on the national stage from the age of 13.

My breakthrough season was undoubtedly 2014 when I won four national medals, including gold at Hampton Head in the Women’s Junior 15 single sculls and bronze at the prestigious National Schools Regatta in the WJ14 double sculls. 2015 saw me win the regional trials in the single, becoming the fastest J16 female in the east as an under 15. I then went on to medal at the British Rowing Championships racing up to WJ16 quadruple sculls and placing fourth in the WJ16 double sculls with my compatriot Sasha Dyke which took place at Strathclyde Park, Scotland in July.

Cerys Maryan, left, with some of her Norwich Rowing Club crew mates. Picture: Gordon LysterCerys Maryan, left, with some of her Norwich Rowing Club crew mates. Picture: Gordon Lyster

I have been a member of the YNSA programme since 2014 and they have supported me every step on the way to achieving these accolades, whether it has been giving me information obtained from the fantastic lectures or having the opportunity to discuss and share experiences with other athletes who have similar aspirations as myself. The academy is full of remarkable young athletes who are among the most dedicated individuals I have come across who will go onto incredible things within their disciplines in the not too distant future.

For me, the sports psychology lecture and the nutrition workshops were particularly useful to best prepare me with how to handle the pressure as well as appropriately fuelling myself before, during and after training. The injury prevention and physio lecture I have found to be indispensable and I would like to thank Lisa Hayward for her guidance and advice on reducing the malalignment I have within my physique which has greatly improved my performance. The YNSA has helped to shape me into the athlete that I am today.

Alongside the YNSA, the unsung heroes behind my success are certainly my long term coaches Alicia Grix, Graham Sparkes and Nigel Kippin and my S&C coach Paul Brice as well as my family and close friends who have been an incredible source of moral support over the years and, to these people, I would like to say thank you!

What is the YNSA?

The Young Norfolk Sports Academy (YNSA) is an initiative led by Norwich School, launched in November 2014 with an aim to nurture and develop Norfolk’s sporting stars of the future.

The academy is funded through a combination of contributions from Norwich School and the support of 10 local businesses.

YNSA offers the athletes support and mentoring on a one-to-one basis and group sessions. It also gives them the opportunity to meet others of a top standard and to share experiences, ideas and challenges.

Applicants for YNSA are between 15 and 18 years old and ranked in the top 10 of their chosen sport in their home country in their age group.

Such has been the success of the first year, that the University of East Anglia, a YNSA sponsor, is embarking on a similar programme for athletes aged between 18-23. The YNSA team will work closely with them on this development with the hope of some of the YNSA athletes being able to graduate through both programmes.

For more information, go to www.ynsa.org.uk.

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