Quentin Antognelli Rows at His First Olympics for Monaco

Quentin Antognelli Rows at His First Olympics for Monaco

Quentin starts his Olympic rowing campaign tomorrow morning, representing Monaco, in the Men's Single Sculls.

Quentin, a Business Management Masters student here at Oxford Brookes, is hoping to make an impact on the waters out in Tokyo this week. We recently caught up with him to find out more about what it takes to row on the greatest sporting stage.

You can catch him in action tomorrow morning at 00:40 - so set your alarms!

Congratulations on your selection for the Tokyo Olympics - what were your emotions when you knew you were officially going?

I learned I had qualified a month and a half after the end of the Olympics qualification regatta where I failed to qualify. I was shopping for after training/ pre library snacks in the JHB and my National Olympic Committee (Monaco) called me announcing the good news. I was astonished at first and didn’t really know what to say or how happy I should be, and I started to realize how big this was when I went back home telling what just happened to my roommate and he was more happy than I was at the moment. I’m now living little Quentin’s dream and I can’t wait to be on the start line to represent my country in the biggest sporting event there is.

How did you get started in rowing and when did you start thinking about the Olympics being a realistic aim?

I started rowing at age 14 with some friends on the sea in Monaco. I tried to qualify for the Olympics for the first time in 2016, knowing I probably wasn’t fast enough yet. And just after that, in 2017, the goal to go to the Olympics in 2020 was set.

What is training with Oxford Brookes Boat Club like?

Coming and training with Brookes is the best thing I’ve done in my sporting career. There’s a lot of high level rowers to train with. We’re always challenged to give our best at training and in the races to move up the team ranking and earn a spot in the best boat.

Quentin with his silver medal from the 2021 BUCS Rowing Regatta
Quentin with his silver medal from the 2021 BUCS Rowing Regatta

How did the pandemic impact on your training?

During the first lockdown I stayed at home with some of my housemates and kept erging together in the back garden as we were not allowed to go out on the water. I was lucky enough to have a derogation and be able to go out and row during this season as an elite athlete.

Has the extra year of training made you more confident heading into the Games?

Having more time to focus on my technique and the physical improvement I’ve been able to make has helped me to get more things running before the Olympics qualification regatta. But the multiple lockdowns and all the training without a partner was tough.

Quentin working hard in the gym
Quentin working hard in the gym

What is your daily schedule looking like at the moment?

At the moment I spend my time training on a lake near Monaco, we’re going out for a first session lasting 90 minutes at around 7am and after a break we’re hopping back on the water with my coach for a second session usually shorter and harder than the first. Then a weight/ core session in the afternoon. I’m also trying to fit in my university work!

Quentin out on the water
Quentin out on the water

What is your goal for the games and in the future?

The goal for the games is to finish in the top 18. I’m aiming to do some good racing and leave everything I can out there to be sure that I couldn’t have been faster than that at the time.

The next goal is the Henley Royal Regatta with Brookes where I hope to win a third red box with the lads.

What would you tell someone with aspirations of rowing at the Olympics?

You have to dedicate yourself to training and keep your head up even through hard times, it won’t come easily and fast. But don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the process!

We’re so proud of Quentin for becoming an Olympian and representing his country on the greatest sporting stage! You can follow along with his Olympic journey on his Instagram and we will also be posting updates on the Brookes Sports’ Instagram.