James Chapman’s Olympic Diary: Winning in Munich not Oarsome yet
James Chapman, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, Will Lockwood, Drew Ginn head to the 2012 Olympics with a win (Image: James Chapman)
We wouldn’t be in this sport, or wouldn’t be racing at this level, if you didn’t think you could win a few races.
We are now in a position where we can take confidence from the Semi-final and Final in Munich, that we are on the right track, and that we can win races.
Our win in Munich was my first ever Final win in my international career. We are heading in the right direction come the Olympics.
However, we are not Oarsome. Winning the Munich World Cup won’t count for Oarsomeness come the big dance in London.
Oarsome are the Australian crews that won two Olympic Gold Medals in two consecutive Olympic Games, with our crew mate, Drew Ginn, in the boat in 1996. Drew was in the crew 16 years ago! Ha! I was trying to make my school crew back then!
You’d never guess it given his immaturi-I mean, experience.
We also have two young bucks in the crew, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, 22 years old (seriously youthful for an Olympic level rower) and Will Lockwood, somewhere in his mid-twenties, but still spritely.
We knew the Final in Munich was going to be hot. I don’t say this cause I saw the 32 degree weather forecast; or the carefully straight rowing-suit/singlet tan lines on my shoulders; or the Bavarian man-bladers cutting laps of the rowing course or the athletes congregating in the 16 degree water to recover post racing.
I say this cause we expected crews to throw down in the first 500m after our race in Lucerne. We expected they would not want to be left behind again. That there would be a whole bunch of crews separated by small margins – but starting fast doesn’t come for free.
The way the Men’s Four event is shaping up this year, starting has to be very fast, but crews also need to carry that into fast mid-race pace.
The semi-final was the first test of speed and composure for us since Lucerne.
We executed this well and went into the final, aware that we still had strong speed compared to the rest of the field, but expecting most crews to try to put pressure on us early.
To be able to race relaxed, rather than tensing up with more crews around you, allows you to row technically efficiently as well as continue to race according to plan.
Satisfyingly, our crew did this in the Final, despite Romania, Great Britain and Belarus all within striking distance, especially over the first 1000m. We were able to create some margin between us, and the field, in the 3rd 500m of the race, as the fast starting had physically cost the other crews more than us.
To reverse the result from Lucerne, by holding our speed over the last 500m of the course, was the most noticeable reversal of execution.
We can now head to our five week training camp in Varese confident in our training.
Firstly, Will, Josh and I are going to Rome for two days downtime and will be staying with Vincenzo Capelli’s (has previously raced against Will and I in the Coxed Pair last year and Will and Josh in under 23’s in 2009) family.
He has been recently selected in the Italian Four after their races in Munich, so after goodbyes in Rome, we will see him in London.
Then it will be back to hours of training, and in between, Will undoubtedly working his way through Modern Family episodes, Josh slaying dragons (either in his imagination or on his cornerstone-sized laptop) and Drew living the dream with his family in an nearby, self-contained apartment that wouldn’t look out of place on a Tuscan Vineyard. Farewell, from the land of Ritter Sport.