Nicky Coles writes about pre-Olympic training


Nicky Coles wites on the New Zealand Olympic team website about her relationship with Juliette her pairs partner and their progress through the regatta.

Juliette and I were fairly satisfied with our performance in the heat on Saturday.

It was good to finish well and beat the Chinese to second place – especially as they have been setting the pace throughout 2008.

We were especially pleased with our third 500m and catching the hometown pair just before the line.

Obviously though the Belarus crew fired a warning shot and were very impressive. We have seen them race before but never as smooth as that.

We feel there is improvement left in us too and now just have to focus for our next race on Monday.

It is a repechage and I think we are racing at 4.50pm (8:50pm NZT). We will be up against Australia, Great Britain and France.

This is racing for the A final and will be pretty cutthroat so we have to be on our game and ready for anything. The first two go through to the A final and there are 2 repechages on Tuesday. The rest of the crews will go to the B final.

At the Olympics – or any major event for that matter – there is always a fear of racing and facing your demons – and so the excitement of the moment tends to get tempered by that. There is a lot of personal pressure as you want to perform to the best of your ability.

So it is a good thing that keeps your feet on the ground when you are going into a situation that is incredibly hyped.

Our pre-Olympics build up back in New Zealand went well. Conditions were tough – the training was hard, the weather was cold but it was easy to motivate ourselves given the short time out from the big event.

Our toughest day of training was a day where we had to do one minute at race pace and then one minute off – forty times! It is incredibly hard and absolutely exhausting but it is a really good way of getting yourself used to the pain. It replicates what you are going to be feeling in the last part of the race where your body is starting to disintegrate and your brain has to be running on instinct to be doing the right thing without even thinking about it.

During these sessions you have to be on your game for a minute – then you have a minute off to think and change things. Although over the 40 sessions the resting minutes really start to fly. Plus we all have to stay in line so if you are behind some of the other crews you spend a bit of your rest minutes catching up – so some people get more of a break than others.

Juliette and I don't spend a lot of time together off the water – in the early days we did but then we realised we were spending way too much time together and we needed some space.

There is a bit of an age difference – but it is definitely a very strong professional relationship. We have been through so much together and have an incredible bond. I have got through some tough situations because of her and due to our relationship.

Our coach Richard Tonks was pretty quiet over the last few weeks in New Zealand but I think that means we are on track.

We do really notice the praise though. I remember the last time he said something good to us was in Poznan at the last world cup regatta. He told us before we got on the water Make sure you don't change anything because you guys are going fast.

Let's see what he has to say later this week.


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