RNZ Elite Athlete Update – Men’s Eight, Tom Mackintosh

Tom entered the Rowing NZ system in 2014 where he earned a bronze medal at the Junior World Rowing Championships. He later represented NZ at the Under 23 level to a bronze and silver medal in 2018 and 2019. Tom has been a recipient of the Foundation as an Under 23 athlete so we're grateful that he has given us an update on his year. Tom was recently named in the men’s elite eight who are looking to qualify for Tokyo. We wish Tom all the best for the future!

Kia Ora,

My name is Tom Mackintosh - a newly named member of the Kiwi Eight.

For the first time in our lifetime the COVID 19 lockdown put everyone in the same boat, lockdown for 4 weeks to eliminate the virus. For us athletes it meant borrowing ergs, scraping together Dads old free weight set and setting up a chin up bar in the garage!

I spent lockdown in Hawke’s Bay with my Mum, Dad, two sisters and girlfriend at our family home. We made the decision to continue our training programme as usual until restrictions lifted around the country. This looks like 12-14 sessions a week, consisting of ergs, bike rides, weights and core. Honestly, I started off strong. I was crushing the training and excelling on the ergs. I was hitting some unforeseen splits and genuinely thought I was unstoppable, this lasted for about 3 weeks until the physiologists gave us a seemingly impossible erg - 4 x 9 min @ 380 Watts. I blew completely in the second piece and was there was no way I could meet the numbers. This really threw me and created this huge mental barrier between myself and the erg. 

Lockdown training from this point was hard. Instead of battling through the ergo sessions, I took to running them instead. As rowers we spend A LOT of our time going backwards, running gave me the sensation of moving forwards for once. I could still push the limits of training and get benefit from it. I think this small shift in training really helped with my motivation, I managed a PB in my 5km and was equal to my 2km PB. The best part about training was watching all my team mates push themselves, everyone is at different stages of their career but everyone still trained when it was needed – I found this very inspirational.

I’m back in the Summer Squad now and am really enjoying the training. We spent the first 12 weeks in singles. A great learning exercise which I thoroughly enjoyed!

Did the postponement of the games impact my motivation? Not in the slightest! I’m still young, (23) and have a lot to learn in the sport. Our eight was newly formed and we were only just finding each other as a crew. The way I see it one more year is another opportunity for us to get fitter, better, faster stronger! Who knows what we can achieve with an extra year. 

Tom Mackintosh