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Veronica Wall (in sunglasses) in the stroke seat in a Yale eight boat, and, below, third right, with her rowing team mates.

By Mick Jensen

Ashburton-raised rowing ace Veronica Wall has been forced home from university in the USA because of the coronavirus, but is close to finishing a rewarding first year at Yale University.

Wall, who dominated single sculls rowing at secondary school level nationally while at Ashburton College, was just about to start the competitive college rowing season in the eights when she was told the season was over before it had really begun.

“We were getting on the water in Tennessee when our coach got the call to stop everything, and told to get everyone back to Yale.

“It was disappointing for our rowing squad of 40 because we did not really have the opportunity to test ourselves against any opposition and to see what we’re capable of achieving.”

The squad had been training 12 times a week and were all ready to go, but circumstances intervened.

“We just have to live with it”.

Wall, 20, said three crazy days followed, and it was obvious things were only going to get worse.

She contacted her parents and got on a flight home.

She flew back with her boyfriend, also a student in the USA, and self-isolated with him for two weeks in a separate sleepout at her parents’ house.

“I did manage to get a couple of rows in at Lake Hood after my self-isolation and before the lockdown started, but I do miss not be able to get on the water.”

Wall said she was staying fit by rowing indoors and by going on runs.

She was “loving life at Yale” and had been living on campus prior to her forced return home.

Life was full on, really busy, but fun and challenging.

She was now studying online and hoped to complete her first year papers at the end of April.

In that first year she had studied a broad range of subjects and was eyeing up a pre-medical degree.

Her second year was due to start again in September and it would feature a number of science subjects, although she was still undecided which area of science or medicine she wanted to specifically focus on.

Wall said she continued to enjoy her rowing.

Eights was the big focus for Ivy League universities and a big change for her.

“I’m sweeping and not sculling these days, and it’s not just me in the boat anymore, but I’ve adapted well.”

Wall said there were nine international students in her boat squad of 12, including a rower from Wellington.

The men’s team also featured a number of internationals, including four Australians.