Blog: Looking back at the European Championships

Ymkje Clevering

In our latest blog, Dieuwertje looked ahead to this year's first international tournament: the European Championships. Kiwa’s fleet did very well and gained a gold and silver medal! Time to look back upon this successful event with European Champion Ymkje Clevering from the womens coxless-four.

In sport you sometimes forget to think about everything you experience and what has happened. For me it is therefore also good to take a moment to reflect on what we have all experienced, so the pleasure is all mine! Hopefully you will get a little insight into what this period was like for me and my team.

Full focus

In preparation for the first international measurement moment this year, the European Championships, we leave for Italy two weeks before the start of the tournament. Our beloved Pusiano is located near the famous Lake Como, a peaceful lake surrounded by typical Italian villages. We have been staying in the same hotel for years now, so everyone finds their place and a nice rhythm quickly develops. A camp prior to a tournament always works very well. Little distraction, nicer weather and coaches can come along on the water on motor boats. Everything is arranged for us, so we can fully focus on what we need to do: row fast.

Final training sessions

The training sessions are also becoming a bit more exciting in Italy. The long endurance trainings sessions we did in the Netherlands make way for pieces at competition speed. We do this with three boats next to each other: the eight, the quadruple and my boat, the coxless-four. We only have four oars, while the other two boats have eight, so it is our job to stay ahead of the others as long as possible. A fun game of cat and mouse on the calm Italian lake. These exhibition races get us in the right state of mind: raceface ON!


Subsequently, our competition season started at Lago di Varese. That was  something that of course did not work out last year because of the COVID-19 circumstances. So I think everyone was a bit relieved this year was different, at least I was. The sunny spring days gave way to some clouds and a fresh breeze in Varese, but that certainly did not spoil the fun. The preliminary match in the heats went according to plan. Although we soon saw that the Irish crew had also found some extra speed compared to last year: they were 1.5 seconds faster than us in the other heat. In rowing it is difficult to compare races with one another, even heats, because of variables like wind and such, but we were on edge.


With the necessary dose of nerves we appeared at the start of the finals on Sunday, to prepare ourselves for hopefully our third subsequent European Championship title. As expected, we had quite a bit of trouble with the Irish boat, but still managed to push our boat over the finish first. Quite a relief I must admit, but not a complete ecstasy. This had probably something to do with the pressure of the favourite role we carried during this tournament. But when I look back now a few weeks later, I am very happy and proud of our achievements in Italy!