Blog: The New Olympic Season of 2021
By Tinka Offereins
It’s January 2021 and in less than a month the women of the Dutch National rowing-team will leave for a training-camp in Seville, Spain. We do this every year for an optimal preparation for the summer season. This year is even more special because of the COVID-19 situation, which made it not a certainty we could leave for our training-camp. Therefore, we are really thankful we get this opportunity and we are aware not everyone has this chance nowadays. My name is Tinka Offereins. In this blog I will tell you more about the upcoming months and how we will work towards the postponed Olympic Games.
My teammate Hermijntje wrote in her rowing blog about the European Championship in October and kicking off the new Olympic Year. After the national trials on the water and physical tests on the rowing machine in November and December, our team has been strengthened with three new rowing talents! Similar to other sports, it’s very important to have a larger group of athletes, because if someone is injured we can switch the seats in the boat. It’s also important for talent development: everyone can learn from each other and their different backgrounds.
Road to Tokyo
The disappointment about the cancelled Olympic Games of 2020 is gone for a while now. We are all focusing on the new season of 2021 and assume that the Games will go on, with the needed alterations. Regardless of the outcome, it is nice to have a goal to look forward to. New training schedules are created, dates for training-camps and competitions are scheduled. Our motivation to perform is high. For us as a relatively ‘young’ team it feels as an opportunity to practice more and obtain more experience to be ready for the Olympic Qualification Regatta. This regatta takes place in Luzern (Switzerland) and starts at the 14th of May. This event is the last opportunity to obtain a ticket for the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo. To earn this ticket, our boat has to finish in first or second place. There is still a lot of work to do, but we are working hard, are very eager and believe this is feasible.
Endurance and strength
To make sure we are more than ready in May, the focus of the training schedule this winter is to increase our endurance and strength. We spend a lot of hours on the Wattbike (extensive spinning bike), row hundreds of miles in different kinds of boats (eight/four/pair) and have three strength sessions per week. At the end of the week our bodies feel very exhausted. Eventually, this will contribute to a broader and basic fitness . This makes us more resilient for the shorter, high intensity trainings later in the season.
Our first international encounter will be in April during the European Championships (EC) in Varese (Italy). It is an important moment to measure our speed in comparison to the other teams, because they will also compete at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in May. At this European Championships we determine which details need to be improved in the last weeks towards the Qualification Regatta. Besides that, the EC will be the only international regatta before the Olympic Qualification. For that reason it can be seen as the final rehearsal.
When I compare this team with last year, I can say we really grew. Looking back, most of us were fresh at the Dutch national team and more distracted because everything was new. In the past months, everyone has made great improvements, both physically as mentally. As a team, we are really honest with each other, train hard and also have time to have fun with one other. I am looking forward to the upcoming months and I hope the world gets back to normal soon, so everyone is able to do what they love best!