Australian Rowing Championships: Update 2

We have return to our hotel after the fours race. What can I say about a race that was ferocious and intense, it was fantastic to be in the battle between the Melbourne University Boat Club crew of Karsten Forstling, Christian Ryan, Cam McKenzie-McHarg and James Marburg and us. To be involved in a fours race that was like a couple of heavy weight boxers slugging it out toward the end of a fight was glorious. It came to the point where both crews hit the final 500m at 38/40 + strokes per minute and every time we surged they surged and when we crossed the finish line a huge sense of respect for all involve was fantastic.

The conditions improve today with a light cross tail wind and we had a feeling that the conditions would close the field up and make it very close. Prior to the start I was excited about having a hit out in the four and each comment made by Duncan, James and Sam reflected their enthusiasm. We knew that the other crew would have a crack early and the MUBC crew really put it together. It makes it very exciting for our National team.

I will take more time next week to capture many of my thoughts and feeling on racing in various boats like the pair, four and eight. In the meantime I want to take this opportunity to put down some thought on an athlete who I think is performing extremely well at present and he deserves to get the best opportunities going forward. His name is David Crawshay and being that he rows for the same club I do I have enjoyed watching his progress for school rower to the dominant men’s sculler over the last three years in Australia. The other element to this is that during that time I have competed with and against David and I want to say he is a tough competitor and great to have in your boat. The fact that he can scull and sweep at the highest level is remarkable and well this week at the Nationals it has been great seeing his results.

The other reason why I mention David or GOAT as he affectionately known is that he stand on the verge of one of the great feats in Australian rowing. There are few athletes who have won the Kings Cup Interstate race and the Presidents Cup single scull. Last year David gave up what would have been a spot in the Presidents Cup to row the Kings Cup and after the victory he would have felt a deep satisfaction at the choice he made. This year he has put his hand up again for the Presidents Cup and is in great form. There only seems to be a very limited few who have been good enough to succeed in both events. Many of us a very proud of the Goat and he is one of the great characters of our sport.

This week has reminded me that racing is what matters and performances on the water are the greatest statements athletes can make. It’s inspiring to see the range of athletes from school kids to the best of the elite all being tested. The weather here has certainly tested our patience, but I think that in the main if we are given a fair chance we are happy to go out and race to our best with no excuses.

It’s been great to join with James again and when we had lunch I enjoyed sharing time together. I don’t know what the future holds and all I personally can do is perform to my best. The increase in confidence for the week is nice, but the next five weeks will be critical to be in the best position to make the most of this opportunity as an athlete. That’s not to say I am getting a head of myself because tomorrow we have our State race and I now feel very ready to do what it takes to work with the Victorian team to deliver a perfect race.

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