World Cup II was my first event as a member of the senior national team. What this means is that I am now competing against the best lightweight fours in the world. Its something that definitely took some time for me to wrap my head around. My first time I walked around the site in France I was initially pretty star stuck by all of the various athletes and rowing icons, but after some time I realized it is actually really exciting that I am now competing at that highest level in rowing.
One of the reasons that Rowing Canada decided to go to World Cup II is because France is playing host to the 2015 World Championships next summer and that regatta will serve as the Olympic Qualifier. This year was as a chance for us to get acquainted with the venue in hopes of returning next summer to snag a Top 11 finish and spot at the 2016 Olympic Games.
The venue itself is pretty spectacular, as you can see in some of my pics. The water really is a bright blue and there are some great views of the surrounding mountains. We actually drive though a 3km tunnel in the middle of a mountain to get to the course from our hotel
Racing started off with the heats on Friday morning. Being our first international start together as a four I think we were all a bit tense in the start gate and it showed as soon as buzzer went. We were a bit scrambly and never really found our rhythm, but we raced hard and had a strong last 500m which was a good take away for us.
Over the weekend through our reps and semis we were able to continually build upon our mistakes with each race getting a bit better than the last. In the B-Final on Sunday we had what I thought was our strongest race of the weekend finishing 2nd (8th overall) to a strong polish crew.
Overall I felt like our racing in France was a success. We learned some pretty invaluable lessons that could only be found in racing and I think we all now have a very clear picture of where the worlds best stand and we we have to go if we want to beat them.