NEWS

European Championships Preview

Just a few days to go before the European Championships kick-off here in Krakow, Poland. This will be our first meeting with the other international crews since the Olympics. For the record, it has been just over 10 months since we became Olympic Champions, you might agree with me how time flies when you think about that!

So, the course in Krakow isn't replete with happy memories after our last race here ended our hopes of racing in the Beijing Games. Saying that, it's a long time ago, we're different athletes and it's a different river (well, not strictly, but it has been extensively modified). This will be an opportunity for us to race against the best and to test ourselves. The river is extremely tricky in character, with very swirly currents, surgy eddies - you have to watch it like a hawk! We have been practicing as much as possible, but now we're solidly into our pre-race taper, where we reduce training volume and increase intensity, so that it's a case of 'quality, not quantity'. It's an exciting time, as your body starts to recover from the hard work that it has endured, and you begin to feel like an athlete, as opposed to a tired bag of bones and muscle!

One interesting aspect to this particular race is that in contrast to 'normal' international races, the course we race on will stay the same for the heats, semis and finals. This is a peculiarity which will probably affect the racing in interesting ways. Generally, there is a marked improvement in the standard between the first and second runs on a race course, so this time, with effectively four attempts at the same course (if your progress through all the stages), the racing could be of an extremely high quality by the final. People will have probably figured out a few 'little tricks' on the river and will have their eye in to the maximum. Should be exciting!

It will be great to be back in an exuberant race atmosphere, as I am sure the Polish will be hoping for a strong home-grown performance. I have a sense of anticipation and curiosity to see how people's 'Road to Rio' gets moving. No doubt there will be some exciting racing from athletes looking to start in style. The British team has been here for a while too, so hopefully they have a bit of a better understanding of the course compared to other nations who have only just got started.

But, we will have to wait and see. Racing starts on Friday 7th June, keep an eye out on the internet for live results and more information. We'll try and keep you posted, but it will be a busy few days! Bye for now

Etienne

(Posted on the 2nd Jun 2013)
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