We are very appreciative of the opportunity to race and are looking forward to race day.
It has been quite a transition to make from lockdown to forming our Blue Boat. Getting back on the water was a welcome change and a big step forward. The first few sessions back were shaky, but they picked up well. The crew share a strong bond and have positive momentum. Transitioning from the ergo to the water was important but so too was instigating a shift in mentality. The rowers now believe it is time to race and that they are here to win.
Picking twelve rowers to return to the water was tricky. You are denying some rowers the opportunity to come and fight for those places. Competitive selection plays a part in building the team dynamic and replacing it with ‘what the coaches think’ places pressure on everybody; on the coaches to make the right decision and on the rowers who will always back themselves if given the chance.
Avoiding the old fashion injuries like tenosynovitis was another consideration. In previous seasons the rowers might pick up little niggles three or four days into the January training camp after only two weeks off, let alone the three-month break we had this year. We were really careful in our return and final run-in.
We knew there was a likelihood of this scenario happening although we did not think it would be quite as limited in terms of final prep time.
Fortunately, we collected good data before Christmas and used it to help us with the selection process; this allowed more time to bed in our final crew.
I do not have any big concerns in terms of fitness, the team applied themselves well during the land training. I have sought to form the most efficient crew possible. It is a crew that has come together very quickly, and I believe will acquit themselves very well down the racetrack in Ely.