WORLDS, THE FINAL
The 2013 World Rowing Championships were held in Chungju, South Korea. The venue was in my opinion one of the best that I have been to. The weather was great, the locals were friendly and the course was fair. When first arriving in Korea the first thing you notice is the heat and humidity, the second is the beauty of the landscapes dotted with large apartment blocks marked with bold numbers and the third is how clean everything is! I was astonished not to see an ounce of litter blowing around the streets, every piece of public space was maintained to the highest degree both inside and outside it really was something I wish we could have brought back to the UK.
Our first race of the Championships was a mix of past uncertain feelings and a new found confidence following a good pre-worlds camp, where as a crew we managed to make some big gains, not just within the boat but outside it, creating stronger bonds as a unit through discussing our emotions and feelings after leaving Lucerne and concentrating on what needed to be corrected in order to make the future a success.
On the start line of the World Championship heats I remember feeling odd. I don’t remember feeling nervous but I don't think I felt confident either. Up until that point I had been training with the desire to prove myself once again and this one race could set in motion the rest of my Championships.
If I finished in the top two I get a place in the A/B semi, if I finish 3rd I'm into the reps and having to do an extra race unlike your opposition, which could prove detrimental come the Finals or even the Semi finals. With all that in mind once the starter's orders are given and the green light shown, you make the switch from analyst to animal and your only focus is to get your boat in front of the rest and keep moving until your bow ball crosses the line in what ever position you have managed to achieve. The way I remember the race unfolding was that the Canadian four shot out to an early lead only to get overhauled by the rest of the field between 1,000m and 500m to go. The crew from USA showed good pace throughout and the German four were very similar to ourselves. At each marker we seemed to be side by side with the Germans slowly getting the better of us. With the Americans out in front and only one place left up for grabs the race was on. We started our push for the line at 500m and the Germans were quick to respond, coming through the grandstands and into the last 250m I could feel my entire body going through hell, my legs had nothing more to give, my arms felt like lumps of lead but my head just kept repeating “one more stroke”. It was this one thought that kept me going when my body was shutting down on me. I took a look to my right and saw the Germans in as much pain as myself. I thought “this better be worth it!” and sure enough it was and on crossing the line we managed to sneak enough of a margin to secure our position in the A/B semi. The Germans went through to the rep the following day and had another tough race, but managed to also gain a place in the A/B semi which was the next day where after two hard races they ju st didn't have the energy to keep with the pace and ended their years' campaign in the B final, finally finishing in 6th place, 12th overall. The reason I speak about the Germans is because they went through the very process that I was thinking through my head before the start of the race.
The semi final was the highlight of the Championships. I couldn't ask for a better race. The crew were pumped, we knew what had to be done and we knew that we were more than capable of achieving the result we wanted. Our warm up was spot on, our paddle to the start was spot on, even sat on the start line waiting for the crew call out to begin, everything seemed to have fitted into place with effortless precision and the race itself was the same. Green light was shown and we left our starting block with the best start we had produced to date. We led the field to 500m and settled into a high rating rhythm that would carry us the rest of the way. We finished in 3rd place which is all we had to do to make the A final. Crossing the line I felt relieved I remember thinking “job done”....
The final was a different story sadly! The conditions were against us with a mild holding head wind and a slight bounce on the water. We had a good first 500m but from the first stroke the rhythm did not seem as bullet proof as the previous day. Through the 3rd 500m we lost a lot of pace, which the other 5 crews managed to maintain, creating to great a gap to close in the final stages. We finished the Championships in 5th place, which at the time filled me with a mixture of emotions. I was angry and upset because I knew that as a crew we were capable of producing a better result than we did, but at the same time, I felt relieved as it was a huge step on from Lucerne.
In : Rowing