Soaring temperatures greet return to “Winter Training”
It felt like the South of France at Caversham today when the rowers returned to “Winter Training”.
The thermometer probably soared over the 30 degree mark in the sunshine on the water as the rowers shook off the dust of their three-week training break.
Here’s a digest of what some of them said about the season to come and how much it hurt (or not) to be back and working hard.
Three-times Olympic silver medallist and 2011 World Champion Katherine Grainger is back for her fourth Olympic season. She said: “It’s nice to come back to weather like this. This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. It is a home Games. Because I have had the previous experience I think I know what the build up will be like but there’s so much more interest and coverage than ever before.”
Stephen Rowbotham who won bronze in the men’s double scull with Matt Wells at the Beijing Olympics and was in the men’s quadruple scull for the 2011 season revealed the harsh truth of the return to “winter” training though.
“It’s been a bit of a shock to the system,” he said. “We push ourselves beyond the point that your body wants to be pushed, until your vision goes and you start tasting blood. There’s a little part of your brain that enjoys it and the rest that says it’s a bad idea.”
Tom Solesbury, from Petts Wood in Kent, was on the brink of looking for a job this time last year after struggling to recover from a shoulder injury. He said: “It’s good to be back. And it’s nice being out in the single (scull). The fact it is the start of the 2012 season is very significant. I’m normally excited about going back to training but now I’m even more excited and just want to get as fast as possible.
“The introduction by the coaches ‘Welcome back to Olympic training’ was enough for me. Everything we’ve done in this Olympiad is important but it has all been building up to this year.”
“And I almost wasn’t here this time last year, I was thinking I was going to have to look for a job. It was 50/50 but I decided to switch to the single, luckily it went well and I got back in the team.” Solesbury was part of the men’s quadruple scull with Bill Lucas, Sam Townsend and Stephen Rowbotham last season which won an impressive silver medal at the final world cup in Lucerne before finishing seventh at the World Championships – a result which he says they are keen to erase in 2012.
Tom Ransley, from Cambridge and a member of York City Rowing Club, was in the men’s eight for the 2011 season, winning silver in Bled and all too aware that he has to prove himself all over again.
“It is something I’m used to through doing the Boat Race and my time with the GB Rowing Team,” he said. “Every year you have to fight for your seat. It keeps you honest and training as hard as you can to stay in your seat. I’m really excited though 2012 is a massive goal and ever present in your mind.”
After winning gold in the mixed coxed four at the World Championships in Bled David Smith and James Roe from the adaptive squad spent their break fishing in Mexico before returning to Caversham yesterday for the start of the 2012 Paralympic season.
Roe, from Stratford –upon-Avon, said: “I was excited until yesterday when we had our initial team meeting which brought us down to earth quickly.
“I’m just thinking about the winter ahead,” said Smith, who has previously represented Great Britain at karate and bobsleigh. “I’ll just be focussing from day to day.”