15-year-old Patti Mullin makes Ireland Rowing squad ahead of the Home International Regatta
BELFAST teenager Patti Mullin is trying to get her head around being picked to represent Ireland at the upcoming Home International Regatta.
The Home International Regatta is an annual home countries competition involving Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.
This year’s competition will be held in Strathclyde, Glasgow, on July 27.
15-year-old Patti has been rowing with the Ireland development squad since September and has quickly risen through the ranks thanks to her impressive performances on the water.
René, Patti’s mother, said the family were “absolutely delighted” at Patti’s quick ascent in rowing.
Patti trains out of the Belfast Boat Club, where she is coached by John Armstrong who is the Rowing Ireland coach for the north of Ireland.
René spoke to the Irish News about the stellar résumé Patti has been creating for herself so early into her rowing career.
“She won a gold in the Athlone regatta a few weeks ago and two golds at the Belfast sprint regatta in May,” revealed a proud René.
“Then she went Cork this weekend for the Irish National Championships where she was put into an under 18’s boat, despite being only 15. In the doubles she won a silver medal alongside her boat mate Lucy McCoy, who will also be representing Ireland and is also from the Belfast Boat Club.”
In the same weekend, the indefatigable Patti also partook in trials for the Ireland team ahead of the Home International Regatta, coming away with the fastest time in the trials.
Balancing school work with rowing, whilst maintaining a social life, can be a tough task but one that Patti is more than up to.
“She is just really super dedicated, she is very focused on her progression, both in school and in rowing,” said René of Patti.
“She rows every weekend for four hours, and she trains every day after school, bar Friday, for two hours. She trains on a Wednesday before school also, so she is up and down the Lagan all the time and they train right through the year.
“There is no time off and it is a big commitment she has made but she has been happy to make it. The progression has been pretty rapid and her dedication has paid off this year.”
René also revealed that Patti “hasn’t been able to comprehend what has happened because it has all been so quick”.
“She is really just trying to let it all sink in. We have been trying to help her understand the honour that it is to represent your country and she has been just blown away.”
However, funding elite-level rowing isn’t all plain sailing, and Patti has started up a ‘gofundme’ page to help with the costs.
“Rowing is quite underfunded and we realised that when we were down in Cork at the National Centre,” René said.
“All the boats and equipment are shared from boat clubs. There is no designated Irish rowing boats or equipment, so at the minute they are trying to gather up the boats which will be going to Scotland.
“Someone will actually have to drive around the country picking up the boats. It is not a very heavily funded sport so she is trying to raise some funds to cover the costs of now travelling as an international athlete.”
Patti’s gofundme link can be found at: www.gofundme.com/patti-mullin-rowing-for-ireland
Donations to Rowing Ireland can also be made at: www.greenblades.ie