Saturday, October 19, 2013

James Cracknell inspires me

ok, here I go, this all feels a little alien to me, yes it has been a while but don't worry, I'm back.
Well, where to start? Quite a bit has happened since I last posted anything. I married the love of my life, olympian, Elana Hill, she continues to be an inspiration to me, and as any athlete knows, if you have someone in your corner then the road seems less rocky. What a wonderful woman to have in my life.
Since I raced the single at The South African Senior Championships in May 2013, I had plans to race in Italy, WCIII in Lucerne and World Champs, Chungju, South Korea. Allas, my brother and I missed out on a trampoline scholarship and therefore could not afford the expense. This has only ignited our flame, the desire burns deep within. We put our heads down and have been crushing the mileage, trying to achieve between 100-150km a week. James Cracknell is someone who I draw lots of inspiration from, after watching the Gold Fever series he became one of my heroes. His mental strength and sheer tenacity is definitely something to be admired. His philosophy was to have one rest day a month, everyone has something different, but that is something to think about.
It is nearing the end of the year and it is time to finalise the year plan for 2014, what to attend and how to afford it. Let me know any info regarding a great warm up regatta or training camp close to a World Rowing event, I would love some more exposure. Hit me up on my FB olympic page for discussion, also let me know your training philosophy, Is James right?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Zim M2- Report – World Cup 1 2013, Sydney

Zim M2- Report – World Cup 1 2013, Sydney

We are extremely appreciative to have been given this opportunity. Thanks Miles Trustham and Rachel Davis especially, for all their correspondence and efforts to get us there. We must also mention Matt Draper, the Australian Organising Committee and Singapore Airlines for playing a major role.

Preparation – We had a week after SA Junior Champs before our flight to Sydney. We camped at Roodeplaat Dam and made good use of the time and location. Jamie Croly from St Stithians lent us a boat for the week, which we used to row 35-40km a day.
Once we arrived in Australia, we were based at The Penrith Valley Inn Motel which was opposite the Nepean Rowing Club on the Nepean River. Neil Holmes, the Club Captain, and the Madden family were extremely generous in helping us out with transport, equipment, towing and all aspects of our stay down under. The river was a great place to train, a 16km stretch of water, which allowed for longer sessions. We teamed up with the Korean National Team for morning sessions, where we fitted in sprint work to prepare for racing.

Racing – we raced in two regattas, the first of which was the Australian Open Championships followed by the first World Cup, 2013. Definitely a step up from any other form of regatta we have raced at in the past, an open age category proved extremely daunting. In both regattas as we lined up against Olympic medallists. It was rumoured that many crews pulled out of the Australian Open due to the star studded line up. You can imagine how that may have played on our minds, we blocked everything out and went out to race our best. After never having raced the pair together before, we didn’t know what to expect. Our first race did not go well, but we had the opportunity to take lots away from it and rectify parts of our race plan. Our next two races only got better, taking 40+ seconds off our time. We were placed 12th of 12 entries.
The World Cup started on Friday the 22nd of March and we had our first race at 18:00. By that stage of the day, the weather had worsened as a storm was predicted for the evening. This would prove to be yet another test and first experience in this boat class. We struggled and did not post a very good time, but were given confidence by the fact that other boats also struggled with the poor conditions. The final followed on Sunday morning, again with a star studded line up of London 2012 medallists, we set our goals to race well and produce a personal best, which we accomplished, we were placed 4th of 4 entries.
To conclude, we are happy with the knowledge that over 5 races together at a single venue, we were able to improve our racing time by 9.1% and that we were racing a prognostic of 90.6% of Olympic medallists.  We feel that with more time, funding and opportunity in the boat, and perhaps a chance of some coaching, we are confident that we could move the boat much faster and be more competitive in the future.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sydney, here we come.

Well, i know it's been a while and quite frankly, I am surprised i still know what to do.
Andy and I have finally made a life long dream come true, in a few weeks time we will be racing at the 1st World Cup in the pair. It has been an awesome couple of weeks of training together at Roodeplaat dam in Pretoria. It has not been easy as we were coaching our schools for the first week as they were competing in SA schools junior champs, this meant finding whatever time possible to train, and in cases finishing sessions at 21:30. It all chalks up to the greater experience of being an athlete. We have been extremely fortunate to have friends like Colin Mcmaster and Don-Don Watt, they have arranged us caravans, camping equipment and vehicles for this weeks training, they have been invaluable and all their help is greatly appreciated.
Now on to the pair, well where to start?  Well it started off with me hitting up a few rowing contacts from my uni days to lend us a boat, luckily Jamie Crowly from St Stithians came through for us. Every session seems to be better and better and we are finding each other more and more. Little by little that platform is being perfected and the sweet spot in the connection is becoming more prominent. Of course it's not a fairy tale and it isn't always easy, but we are putting a lot of time and hard work in to make it work for us. I am confident that with every session, we will get closer to our goals.
As we leave for Sydney tomorrow, it gives me butterflies to think of all the experiences still to come but also gives me a chance to look back over the hundreds and hundreds of kilometers of hard work and dedication it has taken to get here.