Captain Heather Stanning, of 32 Regiment Royal Artillery, has been named as part of the GB Rowing Team for the 2012 World Cup, which starts next month in Belgrade with the first of three world cup regattas.
Although not confirmed, the naming of this world cup rowing team is seen as the best indication yet for the British Olympic Squad to be announced in June.
Heather has spent the last two years training for the squad, racing in the Women’s Pairs event with team mate and ex-PE teacher, Helen Glover.
“People always ask us, because I’m the one in the military, if I'm the one in charge of the boat and if I do all the calls, but actually it's the other way round. You are never going to mess with your PE teacher are you?” says Heather.
“I’m the ‘stroke person’ so I set up the rhythm, while Helen makes the decisions and does all the calls. It works really well for us. Buts it’s all about team work. We have one common goal and we work towards that together.”
'Closing the gap'
That goal is to win the gold medal in the London Olympics – effectively the third regatta in the world cup challenge - with their closest competition at the moment being from the New Zealand team who beat them in last year’s world cup by 0.08 of a second.
The year before however, the New Zealanders won by three seconds, “so we are closing the gap,” says Heather.
“I think I’m in the right place at the moment for the Olympic team. Training has been going really well but I try not to think about it, as you can never be too sure. Injury and illness can pop up at really the worst time.
“But if I do make the Olympic team it will be really special. It is the pinnacle for our sport, and it only comes round once every four years. So for it to be here at home it is very exciting. At the moment though, it is all about staying fit and healthy.”
'Punctual and determined'
Co-racer Helen agrees: “Our common goal is to win the gold medal in London,” she says. “But I think we are both really aware that it is what we do now that is going to create that performance, so we are both pretty good at bringing it back to that goal. If we want it to happen we have to think about today and tomorrow.
“And from what I can see, what you are looking for in a good rower is also what you are looking for in the Army – to be massively organised, punctual and determined. If we set out to do something then nothing stops us till we get there.
“When there are two of us in the boat you are always looking to the other to keep you going and that’s just what happens.”
The World Cup Regatta starts on May 4th in Belgrade.