My season is now over, in a good way, all events finished, goals achieved and time to rest and think about next year..
The world championships in Szeged were a great experience, if a bit nervewracking! Hungary are the bigest proponents of flatwater kayaking and put on a show to prove this. The event managament was almost of olympic proportions with everything running super smoothly. The spectators also turned out in force, i dont know how many were there but this picture gives you an idea, i have never not been able to hear my paddle enter the water but during the 200m it was just a wall of noise!
The race was huge for us as we had to finish in the top 6 in order to qualify a boat for next years Olympics. In an event as tight as ours there was no room for being over confident. Our training leading into the champs had been great and we were feeling as comfortable and well drilled in the boat as we ever have, however we still had to convert this. The heats and semis went really well, only 2 boats qualify from the semi to the final which means this is always a nervous time. However we raced really soildly to beat a quality Latvian crew and qualify as the fastest through to the final.
Now the final was something else! The crowed had filled up and the noise was awesome, it really was the situation that every top athlete relishes. We could barely hear the start orders but reacted really well and had the best start of our year, we needed it though! The French crew stayed with us and when they start well they are hard to beat. We managed to push ahead of the rest of
the field but the French pipped us to the line. Not that i knew this crossing the line, typically in the back of a K2 you cant see the other crews and for some reason i was convinced that we had missed out on the medal, my relief when we saw the score board was huge! Its a nice feeling to better last years result and being beaten by such a quality crew has no shame in it. We can now train in the knowledge that there is an Olympic space available for GB and we are determined to fill it.
Following the world championships i again had the opportunity to compete in the nelo summer challenge, an ocean surfski race. It was a huge amount of fun and in think i learnt a lot! The surfski professionals are a friendly bunch and it was a great break from the racing which i’m so used to. Everyone raced hard and partied hard, I’m sure ill be back for more after the Olympics.
The final event of our season was the pre-olympic test event at Dorney lake. For us this was not a major goal, more an opportunity to test logistics for the olympics and for the organizers to test the race course setup. This is the first international canoeing regatta which has been held at Dorney so it was really strange for us to see it dressed up as a fully functioning race venue. I have to say the organizers did a great job and the lake looked superb. It was well received by the visiting foreign athletes, who particularly enjoyed how fast the course can be once a tailwind picks up..!
The racing went well despite not having much time training together before. We had a poor start in the final but the rest of the race was really good, pulling us back into a medal position, eventually finishing 3rd. This is however a result that we will be looking to upgrade when we race at Dorney again next august..:)
Now we have a few weeks to recover and slowly get back into training before hitting the winter hard. Its also time to reflect on the help I have received this year. I am again indebted to my coach Alex Nikonorov who has expertly guided me through the year, getting the most out of me in training and keeping me injury free. Our physio Katherine Ready has been key on keeping me in one piece and Ginny Coyles our performance analyst deserves a medal for all the hard work she has put in. The support of UKsport and the lottery funding has been invaluable in enabling me to train full time with out the need for another job. Lifeplan nutritional products have also been extremely kind in supporting me with various nutritional products which have undoubtedly helped me develop and stay healthy. I hope i can do everyone proud again next year and look forward to working with you!