Sam’s first Update

The Road to Racice (8th – 12th August 2018),   – Blog update

Hi everyone

There is only one week to go before we leave for Racice, Czech Republic. The past two months have gone so fast and have been fantastic. Since my last blog the whole Junior team moved from the Lodge at Lake Karapiro, to the Podium Lodge, which is very close to the Velodrome and St Peters. We love the Podium Lodge, as it has been purpose built for tall athletes. The beds are extra long, and I can actually stand up straight in the shower! There are two rowers per unit, and each room has its own kitchen, TV, and heat pump. The heat pump good these freezing Cambridge mornings. It’s been -3 one morning, with most mornings around zero.

We have two extra members of our squad – two goldfish named Rocket and Comet. They live in “the hub”, which is our shared dining room / kitchen. We have settled into a good routine, training both morning and afternoon. We go to school at St Peters every day between 10am and 2pm. Even though everyone else in on holiday at the moment, the Year 13s in the squad have still had to go to school each day, as we will have three weeks off when we go overseas.

The rowing is going really well. We raced at the winter series a few weeks ago, against the U23s and the NZ University teams. It was a fun three days of racing, and we came away with the fastest overall time of any crew. Here is a photo of us leading the U23 four and quad down the course. Our crew has had a few niggley injuries but generally we are really well and healthy. Duncan, our coach, is super cool, and is strict with hygiene. I now wash my hands like a doctor. He took us for an afternoon snack recently, and we managed to eat 75 chicken wings between five of us (the quad plus James Hall who is in the single).

We have Sunday’s off, so last Sunday the whole squad went to Raglan. That was fun. And yesterday we went to Mt Maunganui for a walk around and a swim in the hot pools. That’s me back left. It’s cool for some of the South Island rowers who haven’t been to these before.

We are now starting to prepare for the long plane trip. Rowing NZ is very organised and we have a detailed schedule to stick to while we fly, to help us adjust quickly to Czech time. I’ve got a lot of dehydrated tramping meals, biscuits and shepherds pies to supplement my plane food.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped make this dream possible, both financially and through messages of support and help. I am very grateful and humbled to the Legion of Rowers who awarded me one of four awards last weekend. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the Pohutukawa Coast Helping Hands Trust, who gave me a grant to get me over the line. A special thank you also to Howes and Brown Optometrist’s, who urgently replaced my one-off specially handmade prescription glasses after a mishap in the boat resulted in my only pair ending up on the bottom of Lake Karapiro. Supporting my vision to row, literally!

We receive our uniform this week, and fly out on Sunday night. I will do my very best to make you all proud as we wear the silver fern!

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Easy speed,