So it has arrived

Friday, January 29th, 2016

So it has arrived, 2016 is upon us and we’ve wasted no time in getting our teeth stuck into it. The team and I have recently returned from a great training camp out in Portugal.

It was a chance to get back into the big boats, and to get some big miles under our belts to kick-start the Olympic year. We stay in a brilliant place out there, in a specialist rowing centre. The beds are made longer, for the taller members of the team, the food is abundant and we can row for hours on end.

We got to row in a number of different crews, each time our chief coach would be getting the opportunity to see who was rowing well with who and which combinations were the fastest. It is certainly a tough environment, as each day your performances are being judged, but after a long spell in the team I have come to find this rather normal!

We are heading back to Portugal in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime we have a few big hurdles to tackle. First off we have a test on the rowing machines, which are fairly unforgiving beasts. It’s you against the machine, no rhythm, crewmates or technique to help you along, just a screen full of numbers and a screaming pain in your lungs. After this we’ll be doing some more testing out on the water to figure out how fast everyone is going.

The big test comes in March. These are our final trials, and they are run as a regatta, each member of the group will be given a pairs partner and we race the pair over 2,000m. Given that our top pair are World and Olympic Champions, we have a fairly good yardstick to assess ourselves against.

These are going to be some of the hardest months of the Olympic cycle, racing for our seats, our aspirations, our dreams. It’s all in my hands, and I’ve got to make sure I come out on top.