The day started with the usual team huddle, Coach’s pep talk and reading of the roster for race one. Coach Cheryl started the reading of the roster by telling us that she was really shaking things up today! There are things that work, there are things that don’t and things they wanted to try out so today they took the opportunity to move people around in the boat. Most notable of the shake up….our trusted steersperson, Shirley, would be sitting on the drum….and Newton (me) steering for the first time in National competition!
Side note…What a rush! Holy cow! I’m incredibly appreciative to have the opportunity to steer today, to be challenged! Thank You Shirley for drumming that race and helping me when I needed your guidance. I’m so fortunate to have the experience of Sarah & Shirley to draw from, ask questions of and be guided by! Thank You! I look forward to honing my skills as a steers person and taking on more challenges like this in the future.
Alright…our first 500m race of the day at 10:10am, with people moved around in different positions, felt good and strong. All the more evidence of Rowbust’s ability to adapt to change and to roll with those changes like pros! We finished our first race of the day with a time of 2:38:07.
At 11:50am we were marshalled, loaded in the boat and back on the start line with Shirley and Laura on the stern and the drum with Newton paddling. We nailed the start and kept our strokes long and strong for all 500m of that race coming in with a time of 02:37:35!
Two races down…one to go. The 2000m, our absolute favourite race! In practice, our coaches put us through our paces in all race distances and we have improved immensely in the 200m and the 500m but the 2000m has been the favourite for many years. Again…challenge us with any race distance and we’ll be there!
The 2000m challenges our endurance, our technique and our power. We’re a BCS crew. We have nothing to prove to anyone. We are survivors. We do this for us. We do this for our health. We do this for our sisters. We do this for the shear challenge of doing it! We do this because we CAN…and because it’s F-U-N! What’s more fun than to be challenged?! For us – there is nothing more fun than the challenge of racing! The challenge of how synced we can be and how “in tune” we can be within our crew.
We’re on the start line of the 2000m, we’re ready, we’re like a cat ready to pounce… but what? What’s happening? it’s hard for all of us to not notice that boat 3 missed their horn and have started just a few short seconds in front of boat 4. We’re boat 5 so we had to quickly shake it off and bring our focus back in to our boat. We’re there…we’re focused. We hear the horn and we take that first stroke in unison. We’re up and moving. We cross the start line in a power series and we’re headed down the course for the first 500m leg of the race. Laura and Shirley are calling us in to power series through the first stretch. Paddlers are calling encouraging words to teammates to “go long”, “rotate”, “cross check” and an attempt to emulate our teammate Pattie’s “Give me an inch ladies” as we race around the course. Soon we are rounding turn one, Shirley is so tight in those turns we, as paddlers, just have to concentrate on paddling and keeping us moving forward because we know that Shirley will point us in the right direction. Down the second 500m stretch we are in the zone. We’re tuned up and feeling great. We take the second turn around the bouys…a paddle slips out of a hand and the quick reaction of the paddler to grab her paddle and jump back in stroke is a done so quickly it is hardly noticeable. Anything can happen at any time in any race but it’s how we react and recover that is important. When a paddler catches a “crab”, her hand slips on her paddle or even slips off her seat we are trained to right ourselves and jump back in as quickly as possible…then forget it and carry on! So down the third 500m stretch we paddled. Long powerful strokes took us in to our third and final turn. As we straightened out and we were called in to a “restart” there was a surge of power as we headed for the finish line. A few power series were called in the home stretch before we started our “finish” as we brought up the rate…Up, up and up one more time to cross the finish line of the 2000m feeling exalted! Laura calls “let it run” and we coast through the water behind the white bouys of the finish line. We did it. We emptied the tank and left everything we had out on the water. There’s no feeling like it! The butterflies we felt on the start line are gone and a feeling a pride and accomplishment takes over as we paddle back to the dock.
And just like that Nationals are done for Rowbust! We collected our GOLD medal amidst applause from the spectators and our loyal fans.
The excitement of this Nationals weekend will carry our crews in to Italy and Hungary in the coming weeks. The feeling of togetherness and synchronicity are not easily forgotten as we head overseas.
Thank you for following us through this weekend of National competition!
(more pics to follow...it's late, this blogger is tired after a long day!...) :)