This winter, I have been concentrating my efforts in training on one goal: getting on the U23 national team. The rest of my summer depended on three races, deciding my fate on racing at the domestic or international level.
In every training, my mind was set on how to make my boat go fast enough to earn my place on the national team for the U23 World Championships in Bulgaria.
Even thought I had a good winter of training, I knew my chances of making the team were small. Being my first time competing as a U23, I knew I needed to take the time to gain speed to compete at the highest level against Canada’s most recognized rowers.
After three days of hard racing, I placed 12th overall and 4th under 23. At that point, I was excited and proud of myself. I slowly started to believe that maybe I had a chance to make the team. However, I was confident in making the next step of the selection where I would get to race in crew boats with the best athletes. I knew that whatever happens next will be an incredible experience and I would learn so much by racing in doubles. The thing is, I didn’t even get that chance.
My heart was pumping out of my chest, as I sat, listening to the national coaches calling the extremely short list of athletes who made the cuts. Unsure if I had understood right, I looked around and saw the same look of incomprehension on the face of the hundred athletes who had pushed themselves to the limit and more in the last few days. Only two U-23 girls had made it along with four boys.
I was stuck between incomprehension, frustration and deception. I felt like I deserved to make the selection process after flying out here, giving 110% in racing and placing, what I consider pretty good. The thing is, we don’t have control on this kind of stuff. As athletes, the only thing you can do, is to push yourself to the breaking point and then, push a little bit more to prove that you are fast enough for the team. And I don’t mean just in racing, but also in the day to day training, on the erg like on the water. So that’s what I’m going to do. I will go back to Quebec and make sure every actions I take is to make that boat, my boat, go faster. I will remember that feeling when I didn’t hear my name, to make sure I never feel like that again. I will use that to inspire me as I go back to training, ready to get stronger and faster.
It turned out, no U-23 women scullers got selected this year. When I talked to the national coaches and asked how fast I should go to make the team next year, they simply replied: “Fast is never fast enough”.
Rowing is a sport of patience and perseverance and even though I tend to look at it as a sprint, deep down I know that I’m actually running a marathon.
**Special thanks to my coach, Gavin Mckay, my mentor, Douglas Vandor and my teammates and friends Kieanna Stephens and Ethan McAlpine.