The following report was provided by CANI Slalom Squad member Jake Cochrane on his experiences during his first Senior European Championships in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia.
The 2016 international season for many was kicking off at the Senior European Championships in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia, on the 13th-15th May. This was also the last chance for European competitors to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The weekend before the race was starting we headed out to Slovakia to get some training on the course ahead of the race. Hannah, Han, Arlo and myself headed out on the Saturday morning, and I was able to spend the night with them (thanks!). I was then joined by Matt and Elliott on the Sunday and started the training with Matt on the Sunday afternoon. The right channel in Liptovsky is a tricky white water course as it is very shallow and fast moving, with some moves that don’t seem very hard turning out to be a lot tougher than you thought. It took a few sessions for us to get the hang of the water but once we had we were able to start dialling in the harder moves on the course and really refining the main section which was the middle drop.
Hannah had been out for a week and a bit before and had raced the Tatra Cup so she was looking very good on the water. The drop is a very technical piece of white water that you wouldn’t find on many other places so it was some we hadn’t experienced before. It would have been nice to get a bit more training on the course prior to the race but unfortunately that was not possible due to university commitments for myself.
Soon enough race day came with all qualifications being held on the Friday. I was up first in the morning. My first run had a really nice run to it, especially the top section which was really nice. However the bottom section was a bit sloppy and picked up a couple of touches. I also looked at the results after and saw that I had been given a 50 for a half head at the top of the course. This meant I needed to put down a better second run. The second run was decent but got given 5 touches meaning my time wasn’t very good. I feel my paddling is getting quicker, I just need to start cleaning the runs up and being more composed in races.
Elliott was up after me. His first run had its mistakes just like mine with him also picking up a 50 and a couple of touches. However he turned it around in his second run and put down a solid run, picking up one touch while doing so. For both of us this was just another race to put under the belt and I feel I can speak for the both of us in saying that we learnt a lot.
Hannah was on in the afternoon, and the last CANI athlete to race. The mind set for Hannah was a bit different however as she was pushing hard to fight for that last K1W Olympic boat. She put down a decent first run but picked up two touches adding four seconds to her run. It was time to refocus and put down a better run in her second qualification run. Things started well but unfortunately it didn’t go as Hannah planned and this unfortunately ended Hannah’s hope of qualifying for Rio 2016.
The Europeans for me had plenty of positives to look at and some good race experience to go away with. I am now back in Nottingham training in preparation for the upcoming World Cup series and I can’t wait to get back on the start line.