It has been a while since you’ve heard from me. This is because we have had a pleasantly uneventful winter of getting the work done.
Our winter training season officially ended a few weeks ago, with our final selection trial and this kicks off the start of the racing season.
We have endured two particularly gruelling altitude land training camps in Spain and South Africa, and one water camp to Portugal. The winter trials have been a bit more competitive as two of the stronger members of the team (who were out of action for much of last season having had hip surgery) are now back in action. To add to this one of the lower ranked members of last years team has stepped up remarkably in the boat class we trial in. This means that competition for seats in the top boat was going to be far more fierce.
Physically we had both done some really good work which resulted in me getting a personal best on our most important fitness test. We also had some crew boat testing which was very intense and extremely tight. This is obviously quite stressful but at the same time very promising for the summer as it means there are a whole load of combinations that could potentially work quite well! Our last hurdle before boats for the start of the summer were formed was the illustrious April Trial.
For me preparation had been going very well. I had adjusted how I train a little bit. I had been trying to make the easier session a bit easier to then make the harder sessions really hard. This had been really helping my physiology. A few technical changes in the boat had helped me with my efficiency as well which really helped my mid race cruising pace. I was feeling very confident that I was going to do a performance that did my hard work justice. It was going to be very tough to defend my title from last year but I knew I was going to put up a fight if it was going to be taken from me.
First race of the trial was a time trial to determine what semi final we would qualify for. Mine was very solid and I finished second qualifying me for the A/B semi which was very pleasing. The semi final draw came out and I was up against Jonny in the semi. My plan was to go out hard with Jonny and we would secure our final place early in the race and make our lives easy in the second half of the race. In the race I chugged away and myself and Jonny were in first and second at halfway but a guy called Harry Leask from outside of the team was still with us and we couldn’t let him beat us. So rather than cruise home I kept my foot to the floor to make sure. Jonny was a bit more confident than me and calmed his tempo down a bit to conserve energy and managed to keep his nose in front. We’d qualified into the A final.
I was very excited for the final I knew what I was capable of and I was excited to go and get the result I deserved. This ended up being my downfall.
We blasted off in the final and I found myself hanging on to the back of the race. This was not where I had planned to be. I should have had faith in my ability to come through in the second half but I decided to try and come back through the race too early. I slowly got myself back on terms with Jonny who was a bit in front of me. By the time I had got to a point where I was level with Jonny and the others they had taken the tempo up again and I had used a bit too much gas and was left behind once more. I tried my best to hang on and ended up coming 5th with Jonny in front of me in 4th. This was quite disappointing for me. What was most disappointing was that I knew what I had done wrong as soon as I finished.
There is no shame in being beaten by the athletes in our group. They are some of the best scullers in the world but it is in our nature to to be disappointed with anything less than a win. I know I have done a good job in ticking boxes for my selection but it would have been good to put the cherry on top.
We are now back to training and enter a phase called ‘Crew Formation’ where different combinations are raced and different crews are looked at. Things are looking promising and the crew announcement for the first World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia will be made on the 22nd May. Whatever happens it is sure to be good!

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