Sunday, 22 July 2012

U23 World Champs, Trakai

 I originally promised a much sooner update, but then I went to Bremen, Germany to visit my grandpa and the blog update was history. I am now back in Canada, and have had a little time here and there to think about U23's. To be perfectly honest, the fact that we are world champions still hasn't really hit me. When I think about the race, three things really stand out, they are: 1)  I remember thinking, in the back of my head, how dried out my mouth felt. I'll admit, kinda weird, but the memory really stands out. 2) I also remember that moment right after Susanne caught a mini crab. I could literally feel everyone behind me pulling with every ounce of their strength to make sure we cross that finish line first. The boat picked up speed like never before! 3) Finally, about 100-200m before the finish, I remember Christine yelling out that we were going to win. That was unreal!
All in all, I wish I could share more details and strategies, but it is hard to remember a race when you are so in the zone. One thing that I like to believe was key for us is that we didn't let the wind and bad weather get to us. We knew that if we saw the wind as an advantage and rowed cleaner than our opponents, that we would be one step ahead of the competition. In reality, I have no idea whether or not we managed to row cleaner than our opponents, but we believed. Just like we believed that we could win, and this made all the difference. Don't get me wrong! I was unbelievably nervous.... and of course there was that little bit of self doubt and worry, but deep down inside there was a part of me that believed we could cross that line first. I was once told, by a very wise person, that in order to win you have to truly believe you can, you have to be able to see it. That is what we did.
And now it's photo time!

1. training day before the heats (Photo courtesy of Volker Nolte)
2. (sorry... cant fix the indent) here we are racing in the heat against Australia. They made us work for it, but we managed to pull ahead in the last 250.
3. Here we just crossed the finish line after winning our final

4. Standing on the podium. Hearing the Canadian National anthem play as they raised the Canadian flag was the most amazing feeling!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

We did it! Despite catching a crab at the 500m to go, we managed to come across the finish line first. The other boats put up a pretty darn good fight! The fact that we are U23 world champions hasn't quite sunk in yet.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Tomorrow is the big day! The day that has been in the back of my mind all year.... helping me push through some of the more grueling winter erg training. I am very excited that we made it this far, and plan on racing my heart out. I promise you a "more in depth" post sometime after our race. Thanks to everyone for the good luck wishes and support!!!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

We won our heat and are going straight through to the final! for more information check out

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Race day #1

Today we race at 4:07pm Lithuania time (3:07pm  in Germany and 6:07am in BC).  One of the boats in our heat scratched so now we are racing in a four boat heat with Australia, New Zealand and Denmark.
Here we go! Time to have some fun!

July 10

My apologies for the lack of updates! The internet connection is more often off than it is on. Tomorrow we race our heat around 4pm. We should get the lane draws later today, and I will try to update you given that I can connect to the internet. I am finally starting to feel the taper, which involves a bit of a short temper on my part. It is interesting how taper and racing affects different athletes. Some get very internal, others grumpy, and finally you have the ones that get giggly and start bouncing off the walls. This is why it is important to surround yourself with people who are affected in a similar way, or even avoid people if this is what you feel you have to do to reach your ideal mental state. I know that if I am surrounded by really silly, hyper, energized people it will not affect me positively so I simply avoid spending too much time with them prior to racing. Everyone is affected differently, and I guess the point I am trying to make is that it is important to make choices that will have a positive effect on your energy levels and mental state prior to racing. This way you can be confident in your ability to go out on race day and commit to every single stroke.

Friday, 6 July 2012


Our four from left to right (bow to stern) Christine Roper, Susanne Grainger, Cheryl Copson, me (Antje). It is crazy hot here!  I am so thankful for the heat and humidity that we had in Ontario because it made the transition to Lithuania pretty easy. Volker Nolte (our assistant coach) took some "action" shots today so I will try to post them on here if he allows it.
 Second practice today will be some sprint work, which I love! It gets everybody all pumped up for race day. The HW 4- race will be next Wednesday (heats), Friday (Reps), and Saturday (Finals). If we come first or second in our heat we will go straight through to the final as there are only ten entries. Generally there are less entries in the larger crew boats (8+ , 4-, 4+) and many entries in the singles and doubles.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Day 2

Taper has officially begun. We got to the course around 9am and started the epic process of rigging. Rather than shipping out boats to Lithuania, we use the boats from Hudson that are already in Europe. This means that we have to re-rig these boats to fit us, which involves more than just slapping on some riggers and adjusting the slides. For example, we had to switch Christine's and my shoes, which meant we had to undo the steering and taking the shoes off the foot plates etc. Michelle takes the time to measure all the angles and measurements on the boat before we leave so we can set up our boat in Lithuania exactly like the one we were rowing in London (Ontario). All in all, the process took two hours.....which unfortunately left us time for a 27 minute row before our bus pulled into the parking lot to bring us back to our hotel.
Second row was a simple cat6 12k row to flush out the legs and get used to the course. We shared the course with both the Australian and New Zealand team, as well as some locals. I am excited to see where we stand once the racing begins, but for now we are focusing on each row like it was a practice back at home. Sometimes I have to remind myself that we are halfway across the globe.
The rest of the week, and half of next week will involve more tapering and possibly some sight seeing. I may skip a day or two of blogging unless something really exciting happens. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Day 1

Well, to say we arrived in Lithuania with a bang would be an understatement! The thundershowers are even more intense than the ones I experienced in southern Ontario this summer. The trip here was great! No delays, and six of us (myself included) got upgraded to business class for the Toronto to Frankfurt flight, meaning we could lie down and actually get a decent hour or two of shut eye. Earlier in the day I was joking that I would probably lose my camera....... lo and behold, I have lost my camera.  I hope it surfaces somewhere in the vicinity of the hotel. I swear I would lose my head if it wasn't attached.
We checked out the course earlier this evening and we will be going out for our first row tomorrow morning. I can't wait to get out there and flush out the legs etc.

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Tomorrow we depart for Lithaunia. I can hardly believe how the time has flown by! It is a bit of a struggle making the contents of this room disappear into my suitcase and two carry on pieces, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A quick flashback to last week...
The majority of out training has been done together with a lightweight double and two singles. As expected, the 4- is a faster boat and we end up having to stagger all the workouts in an effort to make them somewhat competitive. Last Friday was a real treat because the Olympic women's eight split up into two 4-'s and invited us to join their workout! It was probably the hardest "C6" I have done in my life, but it was fun being the slower boat and having to keep up. It really forced us to row well together.