A 20 year old rower from Blackawton has won the British Rowing Rising Star volunteer Coach Award at the British Rowing Awards which took place online on Thursday January 25.

Nadine Smith, who is doing a degree in Sports and Education Psychology at the University of Portsmouth was one of five to be shortlisted for the award.

She grew up in Blackawton and she and her brother Oliver were successful rowers with the Dartmouth Amateur Rowing Club. Nadine was a sculler and coxswain and took her skills and experience to the Portsmouth University Rowing Club.

Nadine explained: “I hadn’t realised that I had been nominated and only found out through reading some minutes.

‘’I think I was put forward by a regional council member.

‘’There was then an Instagram reveal which was very exciting.’’

After announcing Nadine’s win the judges said: ‘The panel was impressed with all of the young people who had been nominated for this award but after a long deliberation, they chose Nadine as the winner for the considerable leadership she has demonstrated at a young age.

Over the last year Nadine has been club captain of the University of Portsmouth Rowing Club, taking over at a very difficult time for the club without a stretch of water to use or much club organisation. She organised the club committee and formed a partnership with Itchen Imperial RC. Recently she has taken over as club president and has continued going above and beyond to organise events and the committee. With her support and time the club has come a long way.’

There were some choppy waters for Nadine to navigate as she explains:

‘’At the university we had to find a new place to row, as the existing place wasn’t considered safe enough.

‘’Eventually we found a new home at the Itchen Imperial in Southampton and as President of the club I worked to improve the training programme and crews.

‘’One of the challenges is the club runs on a yearly cycle with new members joining and others leaving so you have to spend every September to December teaching people how to row.

The club are entered in four of five races this year and the BUCS Regatta in May. As for the future, Nadine is hoping to graduate with an honours degree before going on to study a Masters Degree and would then like to work with British Rowing.