Ida Andersson, vegan rower
Ida Andersson, vegan rower
Rowing for Sweden
Ida is a Swedish national level rower who has competed in teams at national and international level.
Ida started rowing in 2002 in Normandy, France, when she spent some time there at university. She was taken by the teamwork aspects as well as the extremely hard exercise it presented. She also found it very absorbing mentally and it started to take priority over other team sorts she’d played such as ice hockey and volleyball.
Luckily there was an established local club to join on her return to Sweden and by 2005 she was part of the 8 person team as they entered the National Championships. Ida had not competed much and felt the pressure although she rowed well and the team went on to secure Gold for the first time in the club’s history.
She also rowed in the eight in 2007 in the Swedish Championship and won Gold.
In 2009 she also formed part of the club’s team for fours in the Nordic Open, which is a 2000 metre event. Some crews went into the race unbeaten and have not been beaten since, and at the 200 metre point Ida and her team were last. As the race progressed them improved and overtook team after team to eventually finish first and claim Gold.
2009 continued to be a good year for Ida as she was also selected for the Head of Charles rowing regatta. Featuring 10,000 rowers, this event on Boston’s Charles River is the largest event on the rowing world outside the Olympics and World Championships.
In 2017 she competed at the World Masters and came third in the individual 1000 metres and took an amazing Gold in the pairs, despite the combined age of the team being higher than their rivals (read more here).
Adapting and excelling
Just before receiving the news about selection she was involved in a road accident which injured her leg, leaving her with five weeks until the team left to rehabilitate herself. She also was required to change sides in the boat and row on the stroke side which she had never done before. This is a big challenge for any rower and Ida described it as “like starting to write with my left hand instead of my usual right”.
The race itself was an amazing experience for Ida. “Despite all these difficulties coming up to the Head of the Charles, the race itself was amazing. Out of the 54 crews starting in our division we finished on fourth place. This was probably the race of my life (yet), even though I was seated on the wrong side of the boat.” Ida continues to remember this race in the club 4s with cox as a highlight of her career, and is aware of the irony that during the regatta she rowed on the wrong side of the boat.
In 2013 Ida continued to row and competed in the World Masters Regatta in the women’s 4s. Her team finished third in the quad (sculling) and eighth in the double. She was pleased with these performances as they were on a World stage against the best internationally. In 2016 she went to Copenhagen for the Masters Rowing Regatta and came back with two medals (read more here).
Ida has been vegetarian since age 11 and turned vegan in 2005. Her motivation was mainly to stop harming animals. For many years she had trained with a lot of different people and vegetarianism was not prevalent or well received. In 2005 she attended a week organised by members of www.veganfitness.net and this made her think about the progression to veganism which she previously had discounted. “I met with lots of really active, sporty and strong people who were all vegan and didn't think twice about combining physical activities and veganism.”