2015 World Rowing Championships

Kat Copeland World Rowing Championships

After the Olympic Games the Worlds are the most coveted championships we have. This year, we were warned racing would be especially ferocious as it also served as our Olympic Qualification Regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Basically it was crunch time, if we didn’t make the top 11, there would be no lightweight double in Team GB, and we’d have no chance of going.

Before racing, we went away on two training camps to Germany and Italy. Varese, Italy, is one of my favourite places in the whole world – the lake is absolutely beautiful and on a clear day you can see the Alps covered in snow in the distance. Having a gelateria a five minute walk away helps as well when you’re doing three long training sessions a day! As nice as it was, there was a definite air of focus and intent throughout the whole team whenever we were out on the water, as we knew how close racing would be in France and needed to grab every tenth of a second we could in those months beforehand.

Me and Charlotte Taylor, my doubles partner, arrived in France feeling strong and enjoying our time in the boat. We were coming into the regatta having won the European Championships earlier in the season, and also winning the 2nd World Cup regatta where we set a new world record time in our semi-final. We were confident that what we were doing felt right, but you can just never be sure how you’ll fare against other nations until that start buzzer rings.

This was the first qualification regatta I’ve been a part of, and so when we raced in the quarter and semi-finals, it was a different dynamic and feel to any race I’ve done before. Normally, I’d go out and race and feel like I had nothing to lose and take risks to try and win. Here, however, there was a lot at stake, Olympic spots were up for grabs. Our job this year was to qualify a quota place for a GB lw2x – the specific athletes going to Rio in the boat will be decided next spring. One of the things I was most pleased with this summer was how me and Charlie dealt with this pressure, and I actually think it bought out some of the best tactical and psychological racing we’ve done so far.

Having made the final, we had guaranteed a spot for the boat in Rio, and in more of a position of freedom, had a really great time racing our last race of the season, finishing up with a silver medal.

I’ve absolutely loved racing this summer, and it feels strange the season has finished. I think 2nd is a really promising result considering we have only been together 5 months. I’m feeling inspired and ready to start up training again in a few weeks to try and re-earn my seat in the boat and start cracking up making up those few extra seconds.

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