Tuesday Meet-the-Rower: Matilda Slater-Phillips

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Whoops! We missed our regular Monday meet-the-rower, so let us make it up to you with a Tuesday special.  Today we’re introducing para-rower and DragonBoater Matilda Slater-Phillips, one of the program’s rising stars powerful female rowers!

About Matilda

Matilda at the 2014 Sports NSW Awards
Matilda at the 2014 Sports NSW Awards

I am a 18 year old indigenous student at Marist Sisters College Woolwich from Gladesville, I have always been an avid sportsman and love the opportunity to play and compete in a number of sports, both able-bodied and para.

I was born with a limb deficiency. My left hand has only 2 fingers and less than a quarter of the actual palm, this also affects the strength and length of my arm.

Dragon Boating

I compete in Dragon Boat racing and Rowing. I have been competing in DragonBoating for the past 5 years starting the sport through my high school. I have been competing with Sydney Zodiacs Dragon Boat Club for the past 4 years.

I was invited to attend a ‘Learn to Row Day’ with Balmain Para-Rowing and I haven’t looked back.

Matilda with the BRC Head of the Charles Representative Crew
Matilda with the BRC Head of the Charles Representative Crew

I have also been a member of the NSW U18 DB team for the past 3 years. I was fortunate enough to compete and represent Australia in August of 2015 at the DB World Championships in Toronto, Canada in the U16 Dragon Boat Aurora Team. Through my continual growth and advancement in this sport my Australian coaches felt to compete to the best of my ability in this able-bodied sport I would need some type of prosthesis and this in turn lead to my involvement in Para-Rowing.

Learning to Row

Through my prosthetic supplier, Cameron Ward at APC I was invited to attend a ‘Learn to Row Day’ with Balmain Para-Rowing and I haven’t looked back. They were aware of my Dragon Boating history and keen to allow me the opportunity to give rowing a try. As another water sport with boats I was very eager to give it a go. Especially as I had my first prosthetic to play with.

New Opportunities

Training at the Sydney International Regatta Centre
Training at the Sydney International Regatta Centre

Through Balmain I started training and within my first 3 months I was fortunate enough to be asked to attend the ‘2014 Head of the Charles’ regatta in Boston, MA. This was an amazing experience and one I would definitely be willing to do again. I have been given excellent opportunities to improve myself such as a training camp at The AIS in January of 2015. I was also successful at the Australian Rowing Championships winning a silver medal in the LTA 4+.

Its a sport I’m really enjoying and so excited to be part of. Being the youngest member of the squad I still have a lot to learn but am grateful for all those who support me. My sporting dream is to become a dual national athlete in 2 sports at 2 levels, able and para, with my aim to go to the Tokyo 2020 games with Rowing and China 2018 for Dragon Boating.

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