Rower Tara Rigney is never alone when she competes in her single scull . . .  the Tokyo Olympian takes to the water accompanied by so much courage to believe in herself it can be described as “scary.”

The 24-year-old – a dual world rowing championships medallist – said there was one particular aspect of her self-belief that could be described as a ‘big scary thing.’

“Courage in sport is being brave enough to try new things, even if you might be the only one who believes you can do it,” said Rigney, who is the latest athlete to feature in the NSWIS Lights Up documentary series.

“For me, that is a big scary thing to do. I think being able to back yourself and your ability to try new things and put yourself outside of that comfort zone knowing that if you have enough belief in yourself that’s enough. You don’t need someone else to believe in you.”

Tara Rigney

Rigney, who had aspirations of becoming a topflight netballer before her dream was cruelled by two ACL injuries, said she thrives on the challenges of competing in the single scull.

“The mental challenges of being in the single scull is different to when you’re in a crew boat because it’s just you out there, especially if it’s windy conditions. If I drop my oar in a quad we’re not going to capsize, but the chance is if you drop an oar – and I have – you fall out of the boat midrace which is a humbling experience.”

The Olympian said something she loved about her sport was that it allowed for those who do it an opportunity to constantly seek to improve.

“I’d say I’m a competitive person, not in a bad way,” she said. “So, I think I like to be the best version of myself every day. And I think the reason why I love rowing is because you train three times a day every day.

“It’s a lot more of a commitment than some other sports, but I like that you kind of get three chances to be the best version of yourself. You can have a great session on the water, you can try PB in gym, and then you can go out on the water again and work on something that maybe you didn’t nail in that first session.

“And it’s very rewarding getting to the end of the day and being like, wow, look how much I’ve achieved in one day.”

Rigney joins 2022 world high jump champion Eleanor Patterson, Olympic diver Sam Fricker, canoe slalom world champion, Noemie Fox, Olympic water polo star Tilly Kearns, Multi-Olympic medallist, Equestrian’s Shane Rose, sailing world championship bronzed Aussies Olivia Price & Evie Haseldine, as well as Para canoe sprint world champion Dylan Littlehales, in telling their remarkable NSWIS Lights Up stories over five episodes.

Daniel Lane, NSWIS

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