Irish National Rowing Champion again! WI 2X with Monika Dukarska

What a weekend – the experiment was a success! Fellow Killorglin RC rower Monika Dukarska and I took the national title in the women’s inter double sculls on Saturday in 7:17 – a quick time. It was our 3rd outing together and the boat literally just flew!

There is no senior 2x championship race at the Irish National Championships. Which is a pity but also meant that the depth of competition in the Intermediate event was deeper, and the times reflected that reality.

Commercial RC (with my old rowing partner, Sinead Jenning’s sister Catriona – London Olympics ’14 marathon runner – in the boat) came 2nd, and a Skibereen RC boat with Orla Hayes came 3rd.

Monika is amazing, she is preparing for a big day on Wednesday where she will trial for selection for the World Championships. It was an honor to come back and row with her. I learned a lot in just 3 spins with her – she is a technician, like me…and her quiet determination will make her one of the very best there is with a bit of luck!

A Quick Changeover

As soon as we had pulled into the dock after the win, I had to weigh in for the lightweight single. I had to make some weight already before the doubles race as I woke up a little heavier than I had done all week. It was not the best set-up for lightweights at the rowing centre. There was no test scales and no area where we could go on ergs to shed a few hundred grams before weigh-in. Anyway, I had no problem and got the weigh in out of the way. The presentation out of the way I had about 1 hour to prepare for the lightweight singles heat – which went well and I qualified for the final.

Worth a Mention
Now- there were a few things going on that I should mention. The doubles race was my first rowing race in 10, yes, 10 years. The lightweight singles heat, my first single sculls race in 10 years. I discovered, well, Mike Flemming from Killorglin RC noticed, that the measurements of the boat I had been using in Switzerland were better suited to a junior. The span was WAY to great. So we made some adjustments and brought the span down to 157. This would allow me to get around the pin better and thus, increase the leverage of the oars. Of course, the downside of that would be it would feel like much harder work and my fun, light, ‘rowing but going nowhere’ feeling would be a thing of the past. But Mike assured me I was strong enough to handle it.

After the heat of the lwt 1x I really felt that was too big a leap from what I’d had it at so we pushed it back out to 157.5cm span for the final and although that was a lot better – I felt like I didn’t have that punch in my legs and the whole thing was just a bit sluggish and heavy.

All pointing to the probability that having done NO races at all this year was probably not the best prep. for the National Rowing Champs!

Anyhow! I knew that, and given how busy my work weeks have been, I felt it was a higher priority to recover from work over at the weekend and focus on some quality training. But, if I do this again, I’d stick some Swiss races in there.

In the end I came 5th in the 2014 Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls Championship of Ireland. How bad.

Sunday Racing
On the Sunday I was probably a hot favorite going into the final of the Inter 1x but, in the end, 3rd place was all I could muster in the final. The eventual winner from Belfast RC (English) pulled away from me and 2nd place Desmond from Cork BC already at 750m. It was Desmond’s 4th race of the day too – that’s some going!

To be fair I can be so proud of what I achieved, I was up against stiff competition in each event and I totally underestimated the depth of talent now existing in Ireland.

The Times have Changed
The times being produced at the Championships were impressive. I remember winning championship races in times over 8:15, and all of my times this time round were under 8:10. The winning time of the lightweight single produced by Claire Lambe was a lightning fast, world class 7:41, in Ireland, in Iniscarra!

What next? Who knows! First I have to get back to BMC and answer some urgent emails and see some important people waiting for me back in CH!

Results:
Women’s Intermediate 2x: 1st place with Monika Dukarska
Women’s Intermediate 1x: 3rd
Women’s Lightweight 1x: 5th
Thank you Ireland – it has been great.

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