As a European and World Championship medallist, canoeist Jenny Egan is one of Ireland’s most accomplished sportspeople. She has been competing for Ireland since she was 16 years old.
Last year, she won two International Canoe Federation (ICF) Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup medals on back-to-back weekends. To date, she is the only athlete female or male to win ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup medals, an ICF Senior Canoe Sprint World Championship medal and a European Championship medal. Last year, she finished the competition season ranked Number 1 in the World in the ICF Senior Canoe Sprint Women’s K1 5000m World Rankings.
In recognition of her outstanding performance, she won the Irish Times and Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Month Award for May 2019. In addition to her athletic commitment and dedication, she is also passionate about increasing visibility of women in sport.
How did you maintain your training regime during lockdown? During lockdown I was off the water for almost two months, however, I used the time to work on my overall strength and conditioning. I had a canoeing ergometer, which is specific to my sport and did training sessions on this as well as running, and gym sessions at home.
How is the pandemic impacting your sport? It’s had a major impact. The majority of national and international competitions have been either cancelled or postponed for 2020. There is a possibility that there might be a Senior Canoe Sprint World Cup at the end of September in Szeged, Hungary and a Senior Canoe Marathon European Championships in October in Budapest, Hungary. The Senior Canoe Sprint European Championships are also scheduled to take place in October in Bascov, Romania.
How do you help your body recover from intense training? I complete 14-16 sessions per week under the guidance of my coaches, my brother Peter and my fiance Jonathan Simmons. My training includes on the water sessions, strength and conditioning in the gym and running.
It places high demands on my body, so it’s important for me to consume optimal nutrition, supplementing my diet with One Nutrition products, getting adequate sleep of 8-9 hours per night and napping for an hour during the day between training sessions, in order to support my energy levels and allow my body to adapt and recover from training as well as recover adequately during competition periods.
What supplements do you take? I supplement diet with One Nutrition products; Power Greens, Joint Factor, Ocean Magnesium, Revive and Go Immunity, B12-Max and Q10-MAX. Since taking One Nutrition supplements I found that my energy levels improved and I’m less fatigued. This has allowed me to increase the intensity of my training sessions, which in turn has helped me to compete at the highest-level.
Is sleep compromised by the adrenalin of competing? It can be difficult to unwind after a day competing and when I have more races the next day. I take Ocean Mag every night before going to bed. It is made from Atlantic sea sourced magnesium, which helps support muscle function, so helps my body to relax, allowing me to have a better night’s sleep. Also, since taking Ocean Mag I have found a decrease in my recovery time after intense training sessions as a result of a decrease in inflammation and muscle soreness. So I can increase the intensity of my training sessions, which in turn increases my performance at competitions.
What are your 2020 goals? All my plans changed rapidly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to continuing to win major international medals, I want to continue to increase visibility of women in sport. I am very proud to be the only athlete representative on the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee. In addition to this, I have been selected as only one of 20 female athletes to represent the 20x20 campaign for 2020.
What prompted you to join the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Committee? I am passionate about increasing visibility of women in sport. I think it’s our responsibility as athletes to prioritise being visible, to allow young girls and boys to see what we have achieved and, hopefully, it will inspire them to achieve to the best of their ability both nationally and internationally. Within the past year and a half there has been a major shift in increasing visibility of women in sport with both the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Policy and the 20 X20 campaign.
You’ve met a lot of incredible people over the years through your sport, who stands out the most for you and why? Sonia O’Sullivan is a big role model. She proved that it is possible for Irish female athletes to win major international medals. It made me realise if she can do it, I can do it, hence why it’s so important to increase visibility of women in sport.