The journey begins

Posted on December 13, 2011 by

November 7 2011. The date the Olympic squad was to be announced. This date for many of us would determine what we would do, where we would live and what life held for us in the next six to eight months. For me, this was case. I’m a fringe player. I wouldn’t have put my bets on it going either way. I could only hope. And that is what I did. The previous month had been jam packed with games. Our final chance to impress. As I mentioned in my last blog I had been selected to play in two test series throughout October. The first being a four test series vs India held in Mandurah and Rockingham, just south of Perth. The second being a six test series vs China of which a squad of about 40 played between two and four games. Both series I found a bit of form. Against India I got my first opportunity to dragflick on a PC and to my delight I scored. One from one, can’t complain. Although my 100% record didn’t last long I did manage to score one or two others over the the next few games. We ended up winning the four test series. Between this series and the China series was the Lanco International Super Series that I mentioned last blog. I wasn’t involved in these games but it was exciting all the same. The style of game suited the men much more than the women. As much as I hate to say it, it was much more exciting watching the men rather than the women. But I suppose this can’t really be helped when naturally they are fitter, faster and more skilful, so with a combination of these it was bound to be more exciting. My Dad actually came to Perth to visit me during this series. I hadn’t seen him since April/May so it was really nice to actually spend some time with him rather than the usual Skype conversations. Sadly he had to return to Sydney for work just as I left for Busselton to play in my last two games for 2011. These were my last two games to prove I was worthy of a spot in the 2012 Olympic Squad. Actually my last game was probably the best I had had in a while so I felt satisfied that I was going out on a good note and whatever was to be, would be. So come November 7 I was in Yallingup, south west of Perth, beach side with one of my best friends when the email came through. And this time my name was on the list. The 2012 Olympic squad list. Relief. Excitement. All of the above emotions. But really more than anything I was just glad that I knew what I would be doing in a few weeks time. I, of course, had thought about a plan B if I hadn’t made it, but not in any detail, so to have a plan in place was a very good feeling. We are now all back in training. We have been given a few weeks away from the hockey scene to come home and do our physical training ourselves before we all return to Perth at the end of the month to really get our London 2012 campaign underway. The next six to eight months will be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging as ever before. But bring it on I say. Can’t wait. I look forward to blogging now that I am actually on the road to London. ’There’s no time like the present’ Hurtzx

Read more

The road to London with Rosalyn Lawrence

Posted on December 13, 2011 by

Hi! My name is Rosalyn Lawrence, but people call me Roz. I compete in canoe slalom (you know that sport where people paddle little carbon kayaks down whitewater rapids?) and I want to compete at the Olympic games in London, 2012. Big deal, so does every other athlete! I’m searching for that something extra, that different approach that will take me from being a dreamer to a doer. This year I spent four months in Europe as part of the Australian senior canoe slalom team. I guess that makes me a lucky person, it’s a long way from the farm in Old Bonalbo where I grew up. While I was away I had a few successes, including becoming world cup champion in the women’s C1, world champion in the women’s C1 down river (wild water) sprint and world champion in women’s C1 team event with Leanne Guinea and Jessica Fox. But what was most important was the race experience I gained, and the things I learned in training that will help me fifteen weeks from now, when it comes to Olympic selection in February 2012. Unfortunately my sport is one of the most gender inequitable in the whole games, and while there is the possibility for four Australian men to go to the Olympics, there is only one place for women. Amongst other talented kayakers, I will have to fight my sister Kate for this coveted position. At the moment I am back in Penrith where I live in order to train at the whitewater stadium built for the 2000 Olympics. Penrith is like a mecca for international slalom paddlers, as we have one of the most ideal training environments in the world. Soon competitors will be arriving en masse to take advantage of our sun and water for the summer, and to compete in the upcoming Australian Open and Oceania Championships. Luckily for me I enjoy training, which usually involves a mixture of white water, flat water, gym and running. Every day I try to think of new ways to make myself faster and mentally stronger. I am working closely with my coach Mike Druce to tune up my technique and fitness. After paddling my previous boat for two seasons I have just converted to a new type, which I like more and more every time I paddle it. 2012, bring it on! Roz

Read more

The road to London with Kate Lawrence

Posted on December 13, 2011 by

My name is Kate Lawrence, my sport is canoe slalom. Strangely, it is often confused with rowing by friendly and well-meaning acquaintances as they kindly enquire, ‘how is your rowing going?’ Let me explain, rowers go backwards in a straight line on flat water; slalom canoeists and kayakers go forwards down whitewater rapids while also negotiating their way through a series of ‘gates’, each comprising two poles a minimum of 1.2m apart hanging above the water. It’s a very exciting, dynamic and challenging sport, which I have been involved in since I was a kid growing up on a farm in the tiny community of Old Bonalbo in northern NSW. When I finished high school I moved to Emu Plains so I could train at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium and pursue elite level success. That was back in 2002, and I have been here ever since – training, studying and working in various combinations. I could probably write all day about how I got into the sport, the places it has taken me, the experiences it has given me, the ups and downs, successes and failures, and the things that I have learnt over the last ten years or so. But this is supposed to be an approximately 300 word blog – and the point of it is that the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games is on.  It is my goal to be representing Australia at the London Olympics next year, and to win a medal (preferably gold!). Women’s kayak (K1W) is the only canoe slalom class for women at the Olympics, and each country can only possibly qualify one representative to go to the Games in each of the four classes. That’s right – three classes for men, only one for women. Don’t get me started on that – there’s at least a whole essay in it. Let’s just say that’s the way it has been for a long time. We’re hoping it will change for 2016, but for now that’s the way it is… So there is only one spot up for grabs for an Australian woman on the 2012 Olympic canoe slalom team. Olympic selection for us is in February, and there are multiple contenders for that one spot, including myself and my younger sister Ros. Four years ago I narrowly missed out on earning the spot for Beijing to my older sister Jacqui, who went on to win a silver medal. You could say that this sport is a bit of a family affair! The sibling rivalry is fierce but friendly – although Jacqui has now retired from the sport so she is officially on cheer squad duty. Selection in February will be tight, I have no doubt about that – but these are exciting times, and I am looking forward to those races. I’m training hard and I’m enjoying continually improving and working towards my goal. So to summarise: one spot up for grabs for a female Australian canoe slalom athlete to go to the Olympics next year. I want it. Bring it on I say!  Kate

Read more

Playing the waiting game

Posted on December 13, 2011 by

Following on from my last blog, I was awaiting selection into one of the two teams heading to Melbourne to play in a series of selection games, before heading to Hobart for the Oceania Cup the following week. I was successful in being selected in the ‘green’ team to play in Melbourne. It isn’t often we get to tour domestically, let alone to Melbourne. Just quietly l was pretty excited. Although I’m a Sydney girl I have a heap of friends and family in Melbourne so I was also looking forward to catching up with them when and if we got the chance. Not to mention it was AFL grand final week in Melbourne. There’s nothing like finals fever, the place was bound to be buzzing. On a serious note, the selection trials in Melbourne involved two intrasquad trial games and a third game against some Victorian Institute of Sport boys. Following the third game the Oceania Cup team was to be announced. This was to be done at 10:30pm via text. By text? Yes. By text! There is no nice way to find out about teams but this has got to be one of the tougher ways to find out. Not only the fact that, to me, a text shows no concern or feedback but more so the fact that being roomed with two other girls that will also receive the text and the possibility of one making it and the other not makes it a very difficult situation, for everyone, in or not in. But I suppose… that is sport, and a situation you just have to deal with when and if it comes around. Unfortunately, I was one of those not selected to go to Hobart. Disappointing yes, but truthfully I didn’t play my best and as a result I couldn’t have expected to make it. Each and everyone of us are in the same situation vying for our spot in the team and a poor game can cost you your spot. A good system will reward those who play well and those that don’t, like myself, need to take it on the chin, move on and make the most of our next opportunity. And in saying that, my next opportunity comes sooner than expected. As I said I wasn’t selected to play against New Zealand in Hobart last week but I was selected to play in a home series against India and as part of a broader squad to play against China in another home series in Perth at the end of the month. These selections and non selections just further concretes the importance of consistency for me, something I do at times struggle with. I believe consistency is a combination of experience and confidence. Experience comes with time and exposure and confidence comes with experience. Both of which require patience and persistence, these being two of my best qualities means my time will come. Putting aside all the selection talk, I would like to introduce to you to a new innovative and exciting brand of hockey that is making an international debut in Perth this month. It is called the Lanco International Super series or Hockey 9s and is being held in conjunction with the timing of CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) from the 20th-23rd October. This brand of hockey has been developed to attract more viewers to the sport. As we have seen with cricket and the introduction of the 20/20 game, people are attracted to short, fast and high scoring, games. So having less players on the standard size field, larger goals and position specific rules will hopefully see an exciting, high scoring game be played. This along with increased media coverage and live free to air coverage on ABC will bring more viewers and interest to the sport. Both the Hockeyroos and the Kookaburras will play against India, Malaysia, Pakistan and NZ over the 4 days. So if you get the chance tune into ABC from the 20th-23rd October and check how this new style of hockey unfolds. Well that concludes another update from me. With plenty of games to be played throughout October and Olympic squad selections in November, my next blog will be jammed with news. Exciting yet nerve racking stuff! ’Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.’ Napoleon Hill. Hurtzx

Read more