This Summer I went to Augsburg, Germany to compete in the Teen World Cup. This was my 2nd ever Teen Cup as the last one I competed in was in 2009 at Tacen, Slovenia where I came 7th.
It was my first time paddling at Augsburg built for the Munich Olympics and took a bit of getting used to, made more difficult as the training sessions contained 60 people and we were restricted to 1 hour slots. So before the race I’d only had 3 days of training on this brand new course.
The first day of racing was the heats in which I had 2 runs down the course to do my quickest time to get in the top 20 to get through to the Semi Final. I was racing against 53 other competitors, 20 of which were Germans, in the J18 category which is 17 and 18 year olds. The course was not to my style of paddling and missed out many of the feature moves (whitewater bits) and resulted in me finishing 15th. Not a bad place but I knew I had a lot more to give and I also had the dilemma that on my 2nd run I had broken the tail of my boat whilst going through a stopper (whitewater which sucks you in) so the first day hadn’t gone well.
When I saw the course on the 2nd day I was filled with much more confidence as I realised this course was really suited to my abilities. I only had one run to get to the final and racing would be very tight so I knew one slip up and I’d be out. I had a good solid run but had a penalty from hitting a gate which adds 2 seconds to my time so was a major set back especially in Slalom where victory is won in 100s of a second. My time had been quick enough and I went through in 8th place.
Out of the 30+ paddlers from England who went to the Teen Cup less than 10 made it to the semi final and I was one of only two to make it to the final out of all the age groups and classes. So the pressure was on and I was eager to race as I knew I could cut off at least two seconds after talks with the England Coaches. The J18 men were the last to go down so all eyes were on us. I was nervous but felt confident as it wasn’t the first time I’d been in a final at the Teen Cup racing against people from across the globe. So the racing began and I didn’t have the cleanest of starts as I got a bit stuck in a move where you had to cut between a rock and a gate so Id already added costly time to my run but I pushed hard and kept it together until the 3rd from last gate which was an up on a stopper which cost me another precious second so when I crossed the line I knew it wasn’t great. My raw time was a second slower than my first run but I didn’t have a penalty so I was a second faster than my Semi-Final run. I was disappointed at the finish as I knew I could have been at least 2 seconds faster easily but I’d finished 6th overall against a tough final which contained 3 Germans where Augsburg was their home water so they had a bit of a upper hand on the field. Also the paddler who’d won had recently won the Junior Worlds in America and to only be a few seconds off his time was a bonus and I also got the furthest out of all the England paddlers who were competing so although I didn’t medal I had a lot of positives to take from the race.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to use the motivation from the race into training as I suffered a bad wrist the week after the race, which meant I missed out on training in Augsburg. I’ve only just paddled today over 2 weeks after the race which isn’t great. But that’s sport and you go from a high to low at the click of a finger!