Emma’s GB Trials Experience

Emma Mcdonald, a first year student at Glasgow University, recently had her first senior trial for Team GB, and as a result was invited to the next set of trials in a few weeks time.

From all at GUBC xo

Having rowed at a junior level for many years, I decided to go to my first senior trial for team GB in November. Why not?! Although I have previously attended junior GB trials, I felt completely unprepared and frightened at the thought of going. As well as it being my first ever senior trial, I decided to row lightweight, which did not come naturally to me. To come down to weight required a lot of self-discipline, I had never really thought about how much it would affect me. A few days before travelling down to Boston where there trials were being held, my coach sent me the start list for the weekend. Seeing my name alongside Olympians and world championships did not do anything for my nerves, and a lot of convincing was required to make me believe I wasn’t completely mad in going.

The trial was to consist of a 5kilometre water trial in a single scull following a 2kilometre test on the ergo the previous day. Due to the crazy weather conditions the water trial was unfortunately cancelled leaving only the 2k test. Although my race was not till 2pm, I went to the centre at 9am as the other girls I was with were racing earlier than me. As the racing started my nerves only increased more. I was not only nervous but starving too as I was unable to weigh in until 2 hours before my race. The atmosphere was so tense and full of emotion as everyone knew how important it was that their 2k went well as there was no longer the water trial. After finally weighing in, the excitement of getting to eat proved too much for me. I stuffed my face big time. Going through my usual warm up routine calmed my nerves as it gave me a specific focus and a distraction to everything else going on. When the race finally came around, it was indeed the most horrific and painful 7 and a half minutes. Although I did not get a personal best time, I was pleased to make it through my first trial without any embarrassment and performed reasonably well. Once the results were published I found out I had come 3rd fastest under 20 lightweight and 9th fastest under 23. I was surprised as I had not really thought about the outcome having been so focussed on making weight for the first time and doing a reasonable time for myself.

I am attending the next set of trials in a few weeks’ time, and hopefully this time will get to race on the water. Although over Christmas, when many were having a rest from the early morning rises, I did question why I was still doing several sessions a day, I wouldn’t change it, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead in the coming weeks and months.