Congratulations to James Foad, winning Gold in the pair with Matt Langridge (Leander) at the European Championships last weekend. The duo added to their World Championship Silver in Amsterdam in 2014 and will be looking to continue their success and gain Olympic qualification at the World Championships in August.
MBC Captain Moe Sbihi also teamed up with George Nash in the eight to take a well-earned silver medal. Moe has provided us with his take on the weekend, please read on!
Going into our first international regatta of the season, there is always a sense of optimism and confidence. You are never truly aware of your boat speed in relation to the rest of the world and this is your first test. It is always nice to be back racing and doing the fun part of the sport after working incredibly hard through the winter to put yourself in a position hopefully to win.
Regardless of your build up to the regatta, you turn up on the start line ready to go and excited to take that first stroke. However, for us in the men's 8+, we had a nightmare start. We simply did not turn up to the races (excuse the pun) and were dropped by the rest of the field very quickly. In our event, it is a sprint and once the other crews are a length up, the race is almost over. It is very hard in an eight to recover from a bad start and instead of racing to win the heat, we raced hard not to come last. Back to the drawing board.
The beauty of international racing, you get another opportunity on a new day to right your wrong. We were all disappointed but we used this emotional response to come out harder in the repechage. There was no way the same was going to happen to us 2 days on the row. In comparison to the day before, this start was more aggressive and punchy. This allowed us to control the race in the manner that we hoped to do in the heat. On to the final.
On finals day, the goal was clear...to win. We were not racing for second place and that meant we could not start badly. We went out with the strong German crew and were level with them for the first part of the race. This is the type of start that we needed and we gave ourselves a great chance to win. Through, the first half of the race, it is a blur. You are pushing as hard as you can, trying to ignore all that is going on around you. Unfortunately, we were not efficient enough in getting our boat speed to challenge the German crew for gold in the second half of the race. We simply used up too much energy in a very ineffective way of rowing. This meant we came away with a silver medal.
Overall, this is a funny one to describe. We are happy that we managed to turn it around in the manner that we did. This showed guts and a ruggedness that is going to be needed for the rest of the season. However, we are also disappointed not to win. The boat is full of top rowers and we are all competitive. Winning isn't the only option, but it is what drives us as a crew. So back to training it is and hopefully we can make the improvements necessary to make up the gap between them and us.
You can watch vidoes of James, Moe and Georges races here: http://www.worldrowing.com/photos-videos/racevideos/