Read interview with the Australian world champion canoe slalom canoeist!
What do you feel after victory almost in all big competitions this season?
It’s been an amazing season for me so far each time when I’m on start line I’m excited to race. I’m happy to be there and I just want to do my best run. I don’t necessarily go on winners. I think I want to paddle well and I want to be proud at the finish so each time the season I finished my race I’ve been happy with my paddling and with my run. And then I see it’s a winning time it’s great feeling to cross the finish line.
Do you have any secret?
I think it’s about preparing well, training hard and then doing the little things right the day before: analyzing well, eating well, sleeping enough. And then in the day of race keep it simple and do what you have to do.
What do you think athletes need to do to enjoy our sport because sometimes you win and sometimes you lose?
I think it’s important to know it will be good days and will be bad days. It’s important to learn from both. If it’s a bad day then learn what happened, what can you do better. If it’s a good day then learn what can you improve.
And I think enjoying yourself on the water is important because then you have a choice how to train hard and you have fun doing it. Sometimes you see people getting angry, hitting gates, screaming and so on… Don’t be so hard on yourself, take a moment get your frustration out and moving on.
Could you tell us about your psychology preparation before start?
I think everyone is different and there’s probably no one receipt. Some people like to talk a lot before the start, some people are very focused and quiet. I’m on both. Some days I’m happy to chat and some days I just want to be by myself seat alone, close my eyes and think through my race. Probably I warm up and my warm up I’m getting for myself ready psychologically I know that about the race what I need to do I need practice the race in my head and visualize myself doing it. On the start I just let it go and enjoy the run.
How much do you paddle on white water during the year?
In Australia we are lucky that we have good conditions, good whether and it’s not very cold. So, from October to December we have white water trainings four times a week, and then from December until March we have maybe everyday opportunity to paddle on white water.
I don’t paddle every day on white water, some weeks it’s twice a day, other weeks it’s once every two days and then it’s a flat water and some GYM work and closer to races I keep it shorter and less physical to be fresher.
What are traditional methods of training in Australia?
It’s different for us because our winter we are in Europe for the summer of racing, so our preparation I mean winter preparation is done November until January and it is in summer. That’s why we did a lot more outside, a lot more on the water.
I think we different than other countries like in Germany and maybe Russia where you spend a lot of time in a GYM in the winter. We do two-three times a week in a GYM and flat water and white water technique.
Which training do you use except paddling?
I do some running and then I like to do other GYM-classes like at the local GYM there I go kind a like aerobic classes then cardio other like a CrossFit style training or swimming or Pilates is well I like to do.
What can you say to young athletes to motivate them?
I think you have got to do it, it can’t be someone else telling you to do it because it’s hard to be motivated, so you have to think about what it is to do, do you want to be paddling, do you want to try to make senior team, do you want to go to the Olympics? And that’s enough to get up, to train, to work hard and keep it in funny training is important.
Have you got any hobbies? how do you spend your free time?
In Australia we are lucky to live in a beautiful place. We have some rivers and also some mountains and a beach. I love to hike not far from my house, because I spent so much time away from home, I love catch up with friends at Coffeeshops and reading books. I’m doing different things and I’m studying at the University as well, but I have not a lot of time for everything.
Have you ever been to Russia? Would you like to travel to this country and try rivers and slalom course? Maybe you can try to compete on the Russian competitions?
I have never been to Russia, but one day we will see. It will be nice to have World Cup in Russia!
Dmitriy Timakov for CanoeSport.